Your company sales manual is your sales department's "how-to" guide for achieving success. It tells your sales reps not only what you sell, but also where, why, how and to whom. So if you don't already have one, it's time to write one. Your sales force — and your bottom line — will surely thank you, because a sales manual will:
- Put new and seasoned sales staff on the same page
- Help your sales team align itself properly with the rest of your company
- Educate your sales reps on your marketing goals and initiatives
- Motivate and energize your salespeople with the tools they need to seal deals
Detail what you sellYour sales force can't sell a product it doesn't understand, or about which it can't answer questions. Be sure to cover in detail, among other things: product features and benefits, sales volume, production cost, wholesale and retail price, manufacturing specifications, potential defects and return policies.
Explain to whom you sellTo be effective, your sales reps must know who to target. Help them develop actionable leads with information on: customer demographics (gender, age, income, etc.) and psychographics (lifestyle and personality), current and potential clients, consumer expectations and market potential.
Outline how you sellBy detailing your sales methodology, values and procedures, you'll enable your sales team to maximize conversion rates of prospects to customers. Find out what works with your customers - including your preferred method of contact and how you collect sales leads - and continually update your manual as needed.
Describe where you sellEquip your team with the knowledge it needs about your place of business. Are you a brick-and-mortar business? Or do you sell online? If you're the former, explain your location strategy, real estate profile and stocking procedures. If you're the latter, provide a site map of your Web site, as well as detailed instructions for finding products online, using your e-commerce tools, etc.
Communicate why you sellYour salespeople aren't just selling your products - they're selling your company, too. Provide a company history in your sales manual, complete with your mission statement and values.
Manage who sellsA complete sales manual includes information especially for your sales team on human resources procedures, including sales-specific policies on hours, travel, expense reporting and compensation, particularly if your team works on commission.
- Write your sales manual as if it were an instruction book or recipe so that anyone can pick it up and easily make a successful sale for your company.
- Keep your sales manual updated; when your team learns new lessons about your sales methods and targets, log them for future versions of your manual.
- Keep your manual confidential; make sure employees sign a confidentiality agreement, just in case.
- Use your manual as a complement to, not a replacement for, hands-on training.