Building a winning sales playbook is no easy endeavour, but we have you covered.

Matt Sunshine is a Managing Partner at the Center for Sales Strategy, a sales performance consulting company that helps sales organizations attract, retain, and develop the highest performing sales people. Matt's extensive background in the broadcaster space brings a fresh feel to the Conquer Local Podcast. Matt walks us through how to build a winning sales playbook with a three step process. He shares with us his tried and tested three key elements for hiring a sales team, as well as what is happening in the broadcasting space (and why they are getting into the digital marketing stack now).

Listen to the podcast here.

The Goods on Matt Sunshine

Sunshine’s areas of expertise include growing sales organizations, finding and developing sales superstars, the sales process, lead generation, inbound marketing, and digital marketing. He is a featured writer for one of the top sales blogs in America and a regular contributor to leading business blogs and magazines such as Inc., Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Hacker, and Entrepreneur. In 2012, Sunshine developed and launched LeadG2, an Inbound Marketing company that helps businesses establish thought leadership and lower lead costs. LeadG2 has earned the premier Hubspot recognition as a platinum Certified Partner and is the largest inbound marketing company serving the media industry in the world today. He is also the author of Getting Prospects to Raise Their Hand and Forbes magazine lists Matt as one of the “20 Speakers You Shouldn't Miss The Opportunity To See”.


Sunshine has been in the broadcast industry for a long time, and we have noticed a shift where broadcasters are adopting digital sales to offer to local customers.

“I mean, the reason why most of us got into this business, at least on the sales side, is not necessarily to sell our product, but really to help businesses grow, right? That's the motivation. We all got into it because, fundamentally, we want to work with businesses, figure out what their desired business results are, and then bring them back a solution that'll help them to get the results that they need. And so the more resources that we can bring, the more we can help. “
      - Matt Sunshine, Managing Partner, Center of Sales Strategy

Gordon Borrell has recently released his latest report on how people are buying more and more digital products. They're not just buying TV, radio, or newspaper, but they're understanding the customer journey. “We've got to reach people in lots of places, and we have to reach them with the right message,'' says Borrell. “And if one person can deliver that, well, that's just fantastic."

Winning Sales Playbook

Sunshine describes his winning sales playbook in three parts.

1. Having the best people

Having a system in place for identifying:

  • what jobs are needed;
  • what are the talents applicants must have;
  • what are the must have experiences; and
  • will they be a good culture fit.

2. Organized correctly to have success

Salespeople could be going on one new business call a week, maybe two, and that isn’t because they're not working hard, it's because they have a ton of other things they have to do. In turn, we see that organizations may need to fix the way they are organized.

“Wouldn't it be great if salespeople could go on three new business appointments a week? If you have 15 salespeople, they're all going on one new business appointment a week, that's 15 new business appointments. What if you had 10 salespeople, but you reorganized yourself and you built the apparatus so everyone could go on three appointments per week? Now, you've gone from 15 appointments to 30 appointments all because you reorganized. If someone is doing three appointments a week, they are probably better at it.”
-  Matt Sunshine, Managing Partner, Center of Sales Strategy

      3. Install a repeatable, predictable sales process that everyone adheres to

Talent of New Hires

As a hiring manager we need to get better at defining what we're looking for in a new salesperson. Most of the time, this is how the hiring conversation starts.

"Hey, insert your name here, I'm looking for a salesperson. Do you know anyone?"
I will say, "Okay, well, tell me what you're looking for."
They'll say, "You know, someone like a good salesperson."

What does that mean? “A good salesperson”. Let's try and define it depending on the situation.

1. Is this person going to have to be calling on a lot of retail accounts?
2. Are they going to be working with ad agencies?
3. Are they going to be the type of person that's going to be doing more customer service work?
4. What type of operation do you have?
5. Do you have someone who does lead generation, or do they need to do their own lead generation?

As hiring managers we have to take a step back and identify what we’re looking for. What are the required talents, skills, and experiences that someone will have to have in order to have success?

There are sales organizations that love taking on people that have no experience because they have a good onboarding system and they have the time to train them. There are other organizations that don't have enough time to do that, they need to hire someone with experience. Develop a really good job analysis. Meaning, what does the person have to be able to do around here to be successful in plain English. Then identify the talents, skills, and experiences that you need for the particular position. There is a risk you sacrifice your culture to put a warm body in the chair if it's not a good fit, especially if you're trying to up the game in the talent you do have in the organization.

Culture of Practicing

When talking about building a culture that after salesperson X gets off the phone with a prospect, salesperson Y leans over and says, "If you just said this a little bit differently, the customer would understand what you were saying. You kind of got bogged down in the ..." Being able to offer advice as teammates is important. Establish a culture that takes the intimidation out of practicing inside a room of your peers.

Salespeople and their experience with role playing out a situation has been the stigma of you're not doing your job correctly. It's been seen almost as a punishment, having to role play. To get rid of that way of thinking, as a sales team, we need to make practice a part of our culture. Just like your favorite football team, baseball team, or soccer team, they practice every day. When giving feedback, make it a 5:1. What specifically was good and what needs improvement.

“Generic feedback is the worst type of feedback. Telling someone they did a great job with X, means nothing. Tell them what they did a great job with, give them specifics. Give them five really good things they did, and then give something they could do a little bit better. If all you do is tell people all the things they could do better, then they feel awful and don't ever want to do it again. The last thing about role play, it should never be a sneak attack. Asking someone to come into your office to sell me this pen, we're not doing that. We have to be more professional. We need to set the precedent by saying every Tuesday in the sales meeting, we're going to role play. Telling everyone a day in advance the type of business they are going to be calling on and what part of the sales process they are going to practice. It has to be more professional and less personal.”

Advice from Matt

“What did Mike Tyson say? 'You can have the greatest plan in the world until you get punched in the face.' And I think that's what happens. When business is good, people don't feel like, 'Oh, I don't need to add this so quickly. Business is good.' But then all of a sudden, when business gets a little wobbly or you're not seeing the growth that you expected, you're seeing dollars starting to go to competitors that are doing some of this, I think you jump on the bandwagon. You say, 'We'd better get in this space'. So, yeah, there are some early adopters of digital that have a little bit of a first mover advantage, but different verticals are catching up.”
- Matt Sunshine, Managing Partner, Center of Sales Strategy

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