Wondering how to create a sales playbook that reps are a fan of? One that helps close more deals and increases team productivity?
Creating one is no rocket science.
In fact, with thorough planning, collaboration with subject matter experts and designing visually engaging content, you can create a sales playbook in no time.
So let’s look at all steps you should take to create a winning sales playbook. We’ve also got 10 templates that you can use today to create your guidebook.
Table of Contents
What is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is a guidebook for salespeople sharing proven sales strategies, tactics and best practices.
Its aim is to improve productivity by giving sales reps the winning strategies that can help them succeed at each stage of the selling process.
Ultimately, this improves your reps’ efficiency, helping you win more business.
What is a Sales Play?
Technically, a play is a blueprint plan explaining how to achieve a specific objective.
By putting it into the sales context, you’ll see that a sales play is a chapter within the sales playbook that lays down the proven steps or guidelines related to a particular topic.
For example, you could have multiple plays within your sales playbook such as:
- A play compiling all the important discovery questions
- A checklist-based play laying pointers to qualify leads
- An infographic-based guide that explains who the target buyer is
Sales Plays to Include in Your Playbook
It’s your choice to decide exactly which plays to include in your sales playbook.
The decision also depends on how mature your business is — a sales playbook for a 15-year-old business will always differ from a startup’s, for example.
However, it helps to keep these useful plays in mind when choosing which ones to add:
Sales outreach play.
A tutorial on the best practices, strategies, and proven tactics to reach out to prospects, make a positive impression and introduce your product/service.
Lead qualification play.
A checklist sales play that guides reps for qualifying leads, helping ensure they’re talking to the right leads.
Use case or case study play.
A guide on how to convert prospects using social proof. This could include everything on delivering use cases — from how to casually mention the use case to the prospect to identifying case studies relevant to different prospects.
A tutorial on the etiquettes and best practices of delivering a demo that converts the prospect into a paying customer.
Keep in mind: you don’t need to stick to creating one demo play. Instead, create at least two — one on how to give an audience-engaging full product demo and one on giving specific features demo. In fact, if you can create a customizable template for the latter to make it easy for reps to give feature-specific demos.
A play on the expert tactics to get prospects to agree to a deal and sign the dotted line. This can also include separate or related plays on onboarding new customers and asking them for feedback on the rep’s performance.
You can always have several sub-section plays here.
For example, a follow-up blueprint for checking in with paying customers or customers who bought from you. A follow-up with warm leads that went cold. And a similar follow-up tutorial for catching up with leads who said they weren’t open to buying then.
Referrals significantly help land new customers — 47% of the top sales performers say they ask for referrals consistently. The problem? Only 40.4% of salespeople share they rarely ask for referrals, setting the need for a guidebook that teaches reps when and how to ask for referrals regularly.
How to Build a Winning Sales Playbook
Creating a sales playbook doesn’t need to be complicated. Follow the 8 steps below to create a sales playbook that helps your sales team perform well.
Step 1: Review your sales process.
A sales playbook is only effective if the strategies, scripts and best practices that it shares can fit your sales process.
It’s why it’s crucial you start off by reviewing your sales process. Chances are it’s changed over time as the product team has added more features or you’re targeting a different persona.
And, if your sales process is not already documented, take the time to capture the process on paper. This will help you create helpful sales plays for each stage of the sales process. It’ll also help you revise your sales playbooks easily down the line.
Step 2: Collect up-to-date buyer persona information.
This is another preparation step that’s essential for helping you create a relevant and helpful-for-everyone sales playbook. It’s also worth noting here that buyer or user personas regularly change as you learn more about your customers.
It’s also likely that you start targeting a new persona. What’s more, buyer personas don’t guide your sales playbook production only. Instead, you’ll want to share them with reps too.
To this end, it’s essential that you create a presentable buyer persona sketch — not just a mental note on who your target buyer(s) is.
A Visme template like this one can help you not only make the information presentable but also make it easy for you to quickly put together an easy-to-digest sales collateral.
Here are 20 more user persona templates to help you design your own within minutes.
Step 3: Determine your sales playbook’s goal including plays to include.
Now kick off planning the sales playbook by deciding its goal.
Some questions to ask yourself include:
- What are the reps struggling with that this playbook can help them with?
- What are some lesser-known winning tactics that the team needs to learn about and implement?
- Which specific parts of the sales process are the most challenging for reps and need to be covered in the playbook in depth?
You can also source ideas for what to include in your sales playbook by asking reps themselves.
For example, poll them on Slack or whichever communication platform you use.
Ask them to share their struggles and areas where they’d like more help. This will give you a strong understanding of what to include in the playbook.
Once you know what to work on and you’ve put it all into a list, start deciding plays to create to help solve each of the struggles.
Step 4: Audit available sales collateral and resources.
Before you go all into creating new plays, it’s critical that you review all the content you already have available.
Audit how useful your available sales enablement content is, and identify if it’s still useful or needs updating.
The idea here is simple: there’s no need to create sales resources from scratch if you already have a diverse library of sales enablement content.
Instead, update it to make it relevant to your current sales process and buyer persona needs. This includes both omitting what’s no longer helpful and adding new tips and tricks that have been delivering results.
Alternatively, you can also reuse the available material to create new tutorials.
Step 5: Identify collaborators and create an outline.
Another useful step before you get to work is to determine collaborators.
- Sales VPs, managers and directors from the sales team
- Marketing team members to work on creating sales content
- Product team members to educate reps and playbook creators on product and features
It’s also a good idea to get a handful of reps on board so they can share early feedback on how helpful the tutorials you create are.
Pro tip: Using a content creation platform like Visme makes it easy to collaborate with others on producing sales plays. It works by allowing various team members to leave comments on the content under production — making it simple to offer feedback in real-time.
Collaborate and create with your team
- Simple annotation and commenting features
- Set edit, comment and view permissions for your team
- Respond to and resolve comments easily
Step 6: Determine ways you can make the sales playbook helpful.
It’s also important that you create a list of ways you can make your sales playbook super helpful and easy to implement.
Here are some thought starters:
Add real-life examples and success stories of other reps.
These help show how the tactic or strategy that you’re covering has worked for another salesperson.
For instance, Spela — who drove X in commissions last year — uses this strategy and it has helped her in Y specific ways.
Add an actionable checklist to each play or a list-style summary.
Both make it easy to implement what you teach. Plus, reps can revisit them now and then to quickly revise what’s covered in each play.
Bonus pointers for making the checklists interactive like this one:
Why? Because interactive content makes it easy for its readers to engage with it, making it way more useful than static content.
No wonder, interactive content gets 2x the engagement that static content gets.
Write simply and format for readability.
Instead of using jargon or technical words, use simple language.
And format all the content to make it easy to read.
For example, use subheadings to organize the content and make reading easy. Similarly, use bullet points where applicable. And, write short paragraphs with mix-length sentences (best to keep away from long, wordy sentences) for enjoyable reading.
Remember: the easier you make it for reps to read, the better they’ll understand and apply the strategies and best practices you’ve shared.
Amplify your message with good visual design.
And finally, pay attention to the playbook’s design as it also plays a key role in promoting readability.
For example, the font size and type and colors used either make reading easy or challenging.
Similarly, the design also makes navigation easy. For example, including an interactive table of content makes it effortless for reps to jump from section to section.
The best part? A DIY design tool such as Visme can make visual design a child’s play for even those who don’t have the design chops.
Wondering how? By offering ready-to-use templates — from sales presentation templates to sales checklists and infographic templates, Visme’s got you covered.
Here’s one from our vault of table of contents templates for example:
Step 7: Start creating.
Now start planning, writing and designing each play.
As mentioned above, you don’t have to start from scratch — you can refresh existing content or repurpose it to create new plays.
As you dive into each play though, make sure you outline it first. This will help the writer understand what you want to cover — helping create focused content.
Apart from the specific plays you’ve chosen to add to your sales playbook, know that you need the following additional material to train reps:
- Company overview. A brief dive into the company, its mission and vision so everyone is aligned on what the company stands for and what it values.
- Product information including demo. Content on what the product is and how the product works including how each feature works. Best to show it all in action with product and feature demos so reps have a solid grip on what they’re selling.
- Product pricing options. The way your product/service is priced including various tiers and custom pricing.
- Sales process including engagement rules. An overview of all the sales process stages. It’s also important you share engagement rules explaining how to interact with prospects including the voice and approach to use.
- Sales templates. You could have everything from email outreach templates to follow-up scripts and SMS templates here. Don’t forget: objection handling guidelines and templates are important too — as are messaging templates such as a list of discovery questions, elevator pitch guides and positioning guides.
- Team processes. A guide on how the team works, communication tools used and similar. To make this easy to understand at a glance, create a team workflow chart.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and goals. Highlight the metrics and goals (think: increase average deal size, reduce time to close) that reps should focus on.
- Tools guide. A reference guide for how to use all the tools in your sales kit such as the CRM, messaging tools and so on.
- Sales resources. Additional resources for learning. Organize these in a way that the resources are easy to find and use.
Step 8: Track how useful your sales playbook is.
Your sales playbook’s effectiveness is going to be incomplete without this. It’s why we’ve included it as a must-follow step here.
The plan? After launching your playbook, host a survey that asks reps how useful the playbook is for them.
Some questions to add to the survey:
- On a scale of 1-10, how useful is the sales playbook?
- How many times in a day do you refer to the content (example: email scripts) in the playbook?
- If you could change one thing in the playbook, what would it be?
- Which is the most useful play in the playbook? What about it is helpful to you?
- Which is the least useful play in the playbook? What makes it unimportant for you?
10 Sales Playbook Templates You Can Customize
Before we wrap this up, here are Visme’s customizable sales playbook templates to help you speed up creating your playbook.
1. E-Commerce Sales Playbook Template
This template features a minimal design and emphasizes delivering all essential information to reps in an easy-to-digest manner.
For instance, it uses a flowchart to quickly explain the sales process.
2. B2B Sales Playbook Template
This is another customizable playbook template to try.
It shares all key information using charts and bullet points, which makes it uber-easy for reps to understand — even quickly refer to — important information.
3. Consumer Electronics Sales Playbook Template
This is another minimal, easy-to-follow sales playbook template. It’s best for consumer brands that sell a handful of products as it breaks down the pricing for each using icons to guide understanding.
If needed, you can easily add more product icons and respective pricing from your Visme design dashboard.
4. Real Estate Sales Playbook Template
This template is best for service-based businesses such as real estate businesses. The template briefly but accurately captures the mission using a simple timeline flowchart.
The rest of the plays and required information are shared in a visually engaging manner too.
5. Web Development Agency Sales Playbook Template
This is another useful template to try. Mainly, it’s commendable for using images, numbered lists and tables to make information digestible.
6. IT Sales Playbook Template
Like other templates on this list, this one is also reader-focused as it presents information in an easy-to-read and understandable manner.
It prompts you to share key details using minimal copy and in bullet points so revising and referencing the information becomes a piece of cake for reps.
7. Media Agency Sales Playbook Template
Another clutter-free, at-a-glance template for your sales playbook. Use it to easily walk reps through the target buyers, pricing information, their training schedule and more.
8. Finance Agency Sales Playbook Template
This is another template fit for service businesses.
Where the entire template is designed for ease of understanding, its pricing page is particularly useful as it highlights the pricing range based on the service your agency offers.
9. SaaS Company Sales Playbook Template
This is another unique template from Visme’s collection as it uses graphics to share sales best practices. Most of all, it’s a numbers-focused playbook template. For example, it uses numbers prominently to share social proof with reps.
10. Printing Services Sales Playbook Template
And finally, this is another minimal, ready-to-use template to try.
Create a Professional Sales Playbook for Your Team
To recap, a sales playbook is a guide packed with various tutorials (technically, plays) that helps reps make the best, sales-driving moves throughout the sales process.
You’ll need to put some upfront planning to create a useful sales playbook though.
As for the DIY creation tool to use to design your plays, we recommend using Visme to create your sales playbooks and other content for sales teams.
It’s easy to use and our sales playbook templates can help you create the plays in under an hour. Create a free account and take it for a test drive, or schedule a demo to see how Visme can become the go-to digital content creation tool for your entire team.