Picture1If your day-to-day travels take you anywhere near the worlds of software development or start ups, you will likely have heard about the concept of the “minimum viable product (MVP)”. This idea was conceived by Eric Ries, author of ‘The Lean Startup’.

Ries observed that too often startups strive to perfect a product before showing it to a prospective customer, which in fiercely competitive markets is way too risky. He posits that instead of working on getting the optimal product out in the market, the priority needs to be to get the MVP into users’ hands as quickly as possible.

The sooner you start getting feedback, the sooner you can iterate the product based on actual and measurable customer input. To accomplish this, Ries devised a simple, but powerful continuous feedback loop process: BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN.

We work with technology sales organizations to help them build and implement sales playbooks that capture and codify top performer best practices to enable all their reps and new-hires to sell like their best reps.

In many instances, the client insists that the playbook needs to capture every nuance and permutation of their sales process before putting it out in front of their customer – their salespeople. Sometimes this is warranted, but it shouldn’t be the default launch criteria.

Overall, I’m a big believer in the quality principle “do it right the first time”. The problem with this line of thinking, however, is that it assumes that you only have one shot at getting it right. To be fair, when it comes to building playbooks, it’s perfectly reasonable to take this position because, traditionally, playbooks have been built in PowerPoint or Word and delivered as hard copy playbooks. The hassle factor with having to continually update a playbook based on new learnings is too high, so revision cycles are often measured in years.

Sales playbook authoring applications, like ours and others, now allow you to build a Minimum Viable Playbook (MVPb), deliver it to a subset of users, get feedback, iterate and phase it into the rest of the sales organization, and then continue the process on a larger scale. We call this ‘Agile Playbook Development’.

Sales playbooks are an essential part of Sales Enablement, so get started, if you haven’t already. Just remember that perfect is the enemy of good (enough), at least in the short-term.

What’s your take? When it comes to delivering playbooks, is good enough, good enough?