057 – How (and When) to Create a Sales Playbook | Paul Dean

057 – How (and When) to Create a Sales Playbook | Paul Dean

What do you get when you cross a shipping warehouse manager with a high school teacher and a Masters in Fine Arts creative writer? Evidently it’s Paul Dean, Outbound BDR Manager at ZLien.

His fascination with storytelling at an early age helped craft the narrative that eventually landed him in sales. Paul is always telling stories. Whether he’s describing a better world that could exist with his product, positioning himself against a competitor, or even getting his reps to tackle their next big challenge, his words are carefully considered for maximum impact.

One story he’s very proud of is his creation of a sales playbook at ZLien. After starting from scratch and finding himself constantly running into similar challenges, he scoured the web looking for resources only to find the best version was going to be created internally. Today, he reviews the playbook with his team a least once per month to see what is still working and what needs to be reconsidered.


  1. Playbooks are Living Documents: Cold call scripts, prospect email templates, ideal customer profiles, objection handling, competitive differentiation — whatever you choose to include in your sales playbook should never be written in pen. Either quarterly or, at worst, monthly you need to revisit the elements to see what remains true and what needs to be changed. Anyone participating in the sales process should get a voice in the matter as they may have perspective you’re not privy to.
  2. Let Your Prospect Discover the Solution: Whether you’re selling into greenfield, replacing a competitor, or providing an alternative to an existing manual process, you’ll always be better suited to let a prospect discover the solution to their problem than by forcing a presentation down there throat. I’ve often said the best presentation you’ll ever give is the one your prospect never sees. Think about that as you put together your questioning strategy.
  3. No One is Above Coaching: MJ, Kobe, LeBron… what do those names have in common? For one, they’re three of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. Second, they all have coaches and often times they even personally hire additional coaches to work on specific things in their game or with their body. I don’t care how successful you’ve been, seeking out coaching can be huge for your career.

Book Recommendation


  • CostelloWhat if every sales rep inherited the habits of your best rep? With Costello, they do.
  • The pipeline-centric system is strategically built on a proven selling methodology that keeps teams focused on the only thing they can control in sales – actions that push deals to close.

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