Sales Strategy

Create a Perfect Sales Playbook: Your Ultimate How-To

Liucija Adomaite
LAST UPDATED
April 8, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

HubSpot's 2023 Report shows that sales reps spend only 21% of their day actually selling.

That’s less than 2 hours a day.

Imagine how much more sales your reps could do if they utilize the rest 79% of their workday.

Sales Playbook is an excellent solution to speed the sales process, enhance productivity, optimize workflow, sync the team, and ultimately, close deals.

In this article, you will learn what is sales playbook, how to create an effective sales playbook, including some practical tips.

What Is A Sales Playbook?

A sales playbook is a strategic document that outlines the best practices, processes, and knowledge to make sales.

It acts as a manual for selling your products or services, guiding sales team through stages of sales cycle.

By following a well-crafted sales playbook, sales reps will see numerous benefits, from increased productivity to boosted revenue growth.

Essentially, a sales playbook offers a consistent and effective approach that increases win rates and shortens sales cycles.

Sales Playbook typically includes:

  • Step-by-Step Guidance
  • Best Practices and Techniques
  • Sales Enablement Materials
  • KPIs and Company Goals
  • Buyer Pesonas
  • Stages of the sales cycle

Why Do You Need A Sales Playbook?

There are numerous benefits of using a sales playbook, including:

  • Boosted Sales Performance
  • Reduced Onboarding Time
  • Better Sales Consistency
  • Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration
  • Improved Sales Coaching
  • Increased conversions
  • Systematized approach

What's Inside A Sales Playbook?

Every sales playbook reflects the company and is unique to it.

However, you see some main elements in a well-crafted sales playbook. They include:

1. Company Information

Most sales playbooks begin with an overview of your company and business needs.

They provide sales reps with a clear picture of what the company does, what it hopes to achieve, the company culture, and how the sales team fits into the bigger picture.

Sales playbooks typically begin with a comprehensive introduction to your company and its business objectives.

They offer sales representatives a detailed understanding of the company's operations, goals, and culture.

It also defines the sales team's role within the broader organizational framework.

2. Products and Services

This section is a no-brainer, yet it's still essential.

Have a clear, informative, and detailed list of all the products and services you sell.

Review their main benefits and UVP to ensure your sales team is on the same page.

3. Sales Methodology

Outline your team's core sales methodology (for example, SPIN Selling, MEDDIC).

Then, craft an outline that defines the specific stages of your sales cycle. They may include Prospecting, Qualifying, Pitching, and Closing.

4. Identify Target Personas

Clearly present the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Describe your ideal customer persona, including demographics, needs, and pain points.

5. Sales Team Roles

Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member within the sales organization.

6. The Plays

In a sales playbook, plays are instructions for salespeople to follow.

It can be a step-by-step guide for a specific situation or scenario.

Examples of plays may include:

  • Techniques for Lead Qualification
  • Strategies for sales forecasting
  • Establishing an effective sales cadence
  • Sales pitch guidelines
  • Sales closing techniques and proven strategies
  • Objection handling guidance
  • Sales enablement materials, including templates, scripts, and presentations
  • Competitive battle cards to position your product against competitors
  • Demo Play

7. KPIs and Metrics

Specify the key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure sales success and track rep performance.

8. Sales Automation and Tools

Boost your productivity and sales performance by optimizing the team workflow and automating the process.

9. Customer Success Stories

Inspire your sales team and demonstrate the successful sales process in action.

How to Create A Sales Playbook?

When crafting a sales playbook for your team, your goal is to make it effective. Here's how you do it:

  1. Define Your Goals and Your Audience:
  • Start by identifying your overall sales objectives, like revenue targets and market share growth.
  • Then, determine who will use the playbook (for example, new hires, experienced reps, and specific teams).
  1. Gather Info and Resources:
  • Document your current sales process and the sales methodology your team follows.
  • Customer Insights: Gather customer data, buyer personas, and Feedback to understand customer needs and pain points.
  • Sales Enablement Materials: Collect existing sales collateral like presentations, templates, and scripts.
  • Competitive Landscape: Analyze your competitors and gather information on their strengths and weaknesses.
  1. Develop your Playbook Content:
  • Structure: Organize the playbook logically, following the sales process with dedicated sections for each stage.
  • Content Creation: Develop clear and concise content using bullet points, visuals, and easy-to-understand language.
  • Best Practices & Techniques: Incorporate proven sales practices, communication methods, and objection-handling strategies.
  • Sales Resources: Include links or access points to relevant sales enablement materials like templates and scripts.
  1. Add Visuals and Branding:
  • Use infographics, charts, and diagrams to enhance readability and information retention.
  • Make sure it's consistent with your brand.
  1. Review and Improve:
  • Collect Feedback from reps and management on the playbook's usability, clarity, and value.
  • Refine and Update the playbook based on Feedback, performance metrics, and market changes.

Sales Playbook Templates

Here are several sales playbook templates to cover various stages in the sales process.

1. Sales Plan Template by HubSpot

This free template from HubSpot provides a basic framework for creating a sales playbook.

It includes sections on your sales goals, buyer personas, sales process, and sales enablement resources.

It's great to use it as a foundational template you can customize before diving into more advanced playbook features.

Benefits include:

  • Free
  • Flexibility allows modifications alongside your playbook's progression

2. Visme Sales Playbook Templates

Visme offers a variety of sales playbook templates that you can customize to fit your specific industry and business needs.

Benefits include:

  • Visually appealing
  • Includes sections about your company information, product overview, competitors

3. Lemlist Sales Targeting Playbook

While it's not a template, Lemlist offers an in-depth guide with 15 sales targeting tactics to boost conversions.

You can use this playbook to create the section to identify the lead persona in your sales playbook.

It will allow you to ensure that you target the prospects who are most likely to buy your products and services.

Sales Playbook VS. Business Playbook

Sales Playbooks and Business playbooks are distantly related, but their goals and uses are different.

Sales Playbook: focuses on the sales process, specifically guiding salespeople on how to convert leads into customers.

It details best practices for interacting with potential buyers, handling objections, and closing deals.

Sales Playbook is primarily for the sales team, including new hires and experienced salespeople.

The content of the Sales Playbook typically includes:

  • Buyer personas and ideal customer profiles
  • Stages of the sales cycle (prospecting, qualifying, presenting, closing)
  • Sales methodologies (e.g., Challenger Sale, MEDDIC)
  • Sales scripts and objection-handling techniques
  • Sales tools and resources (e.g., CRM software, sales presentations)
  • Competitive Analysis and Differentiation Strategies

Business Playbook: takes a broader view, outlining the various functions and processes across the entire organization.

It is a comprehensive employee guide, ensuring everyone understands and contributes to the company's goals.

Business Playbook is designed for all department employees to ensure everyone is aligned with the company's structure and goals.

While the content of Business Playbook typically includes:

  • Company mission, vision, and values
  • Organizational structure and departmental responsibilities
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for key tasks
  • Customer service protocols
  • Marketing strategies and brand messaging
  • Financial management practices
  • Project management frameworks
  • Compliance and legal guidelines

Here's an example of a business playbook:

Thoughtbot Business Playbook

Thoughtbot released the business playbook that outlines all the key information about it.

It includes a company overview and an outline of the primary goals.

Moreover, it features a helpful breakdown of how the business tacks and measures success.

It's an excellent example for you to use as an outline when creating your own sales playbook.

Benefits include:

  • Simple and easy-to-follow structure
  • Added hyperlinks to other pages for more information.

Key Takeaways

A Sales Playbook boosts the sales process, productivity, team alignment, and deal success. It includes best practices, sales strategies, KPIs, customer insights, and stages of the sales cycle.

The advantages of a Sales Playbook are increased sales performance, shorter onboarding, and higher conversion rates.

Essential elements of a Sales Playbook include company overview, product/service information, sales methods, target personas, specific sales plays, and success metrics.

To create a perfect Sales Playbook, you must set goals, compile relevant information, structure the content logically, and regularly update it.

FAQs

How do I write a good Sales Playbook?

Gather input from sales reps, marketing, and customers to understand needs and best practices.

Define and systemize your sales methodology and proven practices your sales team would follow.

Organize content on your sales process, personas, products, and competitor tactics.

Don’t forget to include feedback from your reps, update, and constantly improve your playbook.

Make it user-friendly with clear language and visuals for readability and information retention.

Mix it all to create your winning sales strategy to close more deals.

How do I organize a sales playbook?

Separate your playbook into sections that logically describe every sales process step.

Each section can contain things like a company overview, products and services, buyer personas, resources, KPIs, and more.

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Standout feature
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4.9
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$75/mo
$2,999/mo
Large, distributed sales teams
AI evaluation precision, gamified KPIs
Lack of tracking system
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Powerful configurability
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Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
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Connected planning
Complexity and steep learning curve
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Companies with complex sales structures
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Complexity for smaller teams and potentially high costs
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Companies who want to automate commission calculations and payouts
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Companies with modern sales culture and businesses who want real-time insights
A built-in dispute management and real-time visibility
Users say it works slowly, customer support is slow
4.9
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$30/user/mo
$50/user/mo
Smaller sales teams
Powerful automation
Lesser user base and average user interface
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Not publicly available
Companies with scalable needs
Automated Commission Calculations
Lack of filtering by date, no mobile app
ERP vs. CRM
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CRM
Summary
Backbone of a business's internal operations.
Backbone of customer-centric interactions and operations.
Goal
To centralize and streamline core business processes in a company.
To increase customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty, and boost sales.
Focus
Internal operations and processes across departments (finance, accounting, inventory, supply chain, HR, and sales).
All interactions with leads and customers.
Manages
Internal business data like financial data, inventory levels, production details, supply chain, HR info.
All customer data like contact info, purchase history, communication history, customer preferences and more.
Users
Finance, accounting, operations, supply chain, and HR departments.
Customer-facing teams like sales, marketing, and customer service.
Benefits
Streamlines operations, improves data accuracy, enhances decision-making, boosts collaboration, increases productivity.
Improves customer relationships, increases sales, strengthens customer service, personalizes marketing campaigns, provides insights.
Price
$150 per user per year on average.
$10 to $30 per user per month on average.
PRM Tool
Rating
Feature
Pro
Con
Mobile App
Integrations
Free Plan
Pricing
4.65
star
star
star
star
star-half
Org-wide alignment
User-friendly layout and database
Suboptimal as a personal CRM
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-check
Team: $20/month
Business: $45/month
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Social Media Integration
Easy contact data collection
No marketing/sales features
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Lack of tracking system
square-xmark
7-day trial
$12/month
4.75
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star
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Block Functions
High customization capability
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Limited
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Plus: €7.50/month
Business: €14/month
N/A
Open-source
Open-source flexibility
Requires extensive manual input
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Limited
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Self-hosted
$9/month or
$90/year
3.1
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star
star
Simple iOS app
Ideal for non-tech-savvy users
iPhone only
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iOS only
Limited
square-xmark
1-month trial
$1.49/month or
$14.99/month
3.6
star
star
star
star-half
Smart Contact Management
Feature-rich and flexible
Reported bugs
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
7-day trial
Premium: $13.99/month
Teams: $17.99/month
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Customizable Interface
Customizable for teamwork
Pricey for personal use
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
Standard: $24/member
Premium: $39/member
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Integrated Calling
Integrated Calling
Too sales-oriented & pricey
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
Startup: $59/user/month
Professional: $329/user/month
4.8
star
star
star
star
star
Business Card Scanning
Business Card Scanning
Mobile only
square-check
Limited
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$9.99/month
4.45
star
star
star
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star-half
160+ app integrations
Comprehensive integrations
No free app version
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
$29.90/month or
$24.90/month (billed annually)
Capterra Rating
Free Trial
Free Plan
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4.5
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14-day
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€15/month/seat billed annually
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Versatility and free plan
4.2
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star
star
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square-check
30-day
square-xmark
But it offers reduced price to authorised nonprofit organisations
€25/user/month
€500/user/month billed annually (includes Einstein AI)
Best overall operational CRM
4.3
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star
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square-xmark
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Limited to 3 users
Comprehensive incentive management
€52/user/month billed annually
Small-medium businesses and automation
4.5
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star
star
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14-day
square-xmark
€14/seat/month billed annually
€99/seat/month billed annually
Sales teams and ease of use
4.1
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star
star
star
square-xmark
square-check
Limited 10 users
$9.99/user/month billed annually
$64.99/user/month billed annually
Free plan for very small teams up to 10
CRM goal
Increase the sales conversion rate for qualified leads from marketing automation campaigns by 10% in the next 6 months.
SMART Breakdown
1. Specific: It targets a specific area (conversion rate) for a defined segment (qualified leads from marketing automation).
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Actions
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Outcomes
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