February 17

by Richard McMullan

American Football is the US’s most popular sport, with nearly half the population ranking it as their top choice. And the NFL sits atop the game, making more than £10bn annually. 

It's an intensively competitive sport. One where the smallest margins determine games and creates heroes and losers. It’s a very tactical game, and a team’s success depends on how well it implements the Coach’s instructions.

Those instructions are written down in the PlayBook.

The Playbook describes the total collection of ‘plays’ that a team might use in a game. It covers offense, defence, and special teams. It is the distilled, collective wisdom of the Head Coach and the coaching staff.

It’s what gives each team its competitive edge.

When a new player arrives, it is the first thing they’re given. When they leave, it’s the first thing taken back.  The PlayBook is so cherished and protected that losing it is a cardinal sin and can carry fines ranging from $300 to $8000 a page!

The team practice the moves time and time again so that in matches they can react instantly to the call from the coach or the quarterback.  Every player must memorise and know the plays.

Every match and training session is recorded from multiple angles. They have AI analysing plays and players as well as the coaches. Both trying to identify what worked, what didn’t.

Depending on the outcomes, the PlayBook is updated, the team retrained and off they go again.

Successful businesses use a similar approach to an NFL team to drive consistent, profitable sales growth.

Your Sales Playbook

A business’s equivalent to the NFL approach is your Sales Playbook.

It has three elements:

  1. Approach – how you’re going to play the game to win
  2. TEaCHing – the steps you go through time and time again to win new business
  3. Learning – how you test and improve your Approach and TEaCHing process

The foundational element of your Sales Playbook is being clear on how you attract customers, what you do for them, and why they buy from you.  Your Customer Value Proposition, if you will.


The first part is your Trigger Statement. The sentence that stops them dead in their tracks, going "that's me, that's me they're talking about". And which has them reaching out to find out more.


The second part is defining your Buyer's See-Saw. Every decision is a balance between the pain of the staying the same versus the pain of changing. Once you know what those are for your target customers, you can tilt the see-saw in your favour and get the customer to buy.


The third part is Monopoly Control. You need to define why you're unique, and the customer needs to understand how you deliver that, and why they can trust you to deliver. 


Your Value Proposition determines your Approach to both marketing and sales. When clear and tightly focused, it drives better returns on advertising spend, higher sales conversion rates, and better margins. 


Don't leave it to chance - invest time to define your value proposition today. It's not easy to do. It requires you to make hard choices. But you will get a marvellous return from your investment.

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