How to Create a Sales Playbook

Being an important part of sales enablement, sales playbooks can deliver higher revenue, shrink your sales cycle, and ensure consistent branding and messaging. Most organizations already have many parts of a sales playbook; but the key lies in organizing it neatly and making it easily accessible to your sales, inside sales, and partners. Wondering how to create a sales playbook? Here’s what you need to know.

1) Who Is the Owner?

How to Create Sales PlaybooksMarketing should own the sales playbook. They create most, if not all the content, maintain it, and update it.

2) How Do You Go About Making a Sales Playbook?

Needless to say, it has to be a collaborative process between marketing and sales, involving product marketing, content specialists, sales leaders, sales operations, sales reps, and subject matter experts. Product marketing sets the ball rolling; meeting with sales leaders to understand the organization’s adopted selling process and what steps they want their reps to follow. Have an advisory board of sales reps so you understand their requirements and get constant feedback. Get examples from top-performing sales reps on how they progress leads from one stage to the other. Most sales reps would have created some content. Reuse the content once you have poured your company messaging into it. Being in sync with sales reps makes your playbook grounded in reality and hence more likely to be used. Analytics plays an important role in the making of a playbook as well. Evaluate which pieces of content your customers are searching for at each stage in the buying process. This can help you decide which content is worth including in the sales playbook and at which point to include it. Doing so will allow you to mirror the types of content that are most important to moving the sales process along.

3) How Long Does It Take?

There are several key ingredients in a sales playbook ranging from presentations, ROI calculators, and competitive analysis to case studies. See a complete list here. Identify gaps in your content. Depending on the number of gaps you have, the more time you will need. Now suppose, you have all the content pieces you need, you just need a few days to gather everything and organize it in one central location.

4) How Many Sales Playbooks Does an Organization Need?

The simple rule of thumb is have one sales playbook per product. If you are a small company with just one line of business, have one sales playbook and within it have different presentations that cater to different verticals. But suppose your corporation sells networking gear and software services, have two playbooks, one for each line of business, even though there may be some overlap. If your different lines of business are interconnected and a buyer could potentially purchase your hardware as well as software, it also makes sense to have a third playbook, a master playbook which tells your whole story, highlighting bundling possibilities, increased efficiencies, and cost savings.

5) Where Should You Host Your Sales Playbook?

We recommend you host it on your intranet portal and grant role-based access. This way you can customize content, give opportunity for feedback, and make communication and collaboration easy. Some experts might recommend that you host your sales playbook within your CRM system for easy access to sales, but organizing content could be a challenge.

6) How Do You Ensure Your Sales Playbook Gets Adopted?

Apart from creating highly-specific content assets that sales needs, easy discovery and simple organization are instrumental to adoption. Here are a few suggestions:

  • At the time of launch have senior management recommend that sales reps use the sales playbook.
  • Publish a comprehensive list of all the content assets in your sales playbook. It should work like a table of contents.
  • Develop a how to guide so people can get the most of your sales playbook.
  • Organize the assets either by selling stage or by industry.
  • Send email alerts to sales every time new/updated content is posted.
  • Each document should be posted along with: a brief description of the content, ideal use-case scenario, and what it can help achieve.
  • Display how many times each asset has been downloaded.
  • Have room for feedback and ratings.
  • As the sales playbook matures, gather feedback and implement it.
  • Highlight the most popular assets.
  • Remove contents that are unpopular and inadequate. Removing clutter aids discovery.

creating a sales playbook

By Poornima Mohandas | May 7th, 2014 | Enablement

About the Author: Poornima Mohandas

Poornima Mohandas

Poornima has over a decade of experience between business journalism and marketing. In her current role as product marketing manager at CallidusCloud she is responsible for the messaging and positioning of several CallidusCloud products.