3 Building Blocks for Your Sales Playbook

Have you ever tried to build a sales playbook? Maybe you were recently hired or promoted to sales management and wanted to develop a common approach. Or you heard someone talk about a sales playbook and thought it would be a great tool for your team.

How did you start? Most people I’ve spoken to sat down in front of a blank document and started to write. Everyone has a different process – some like to outline, while others just write whatever comes to mind.

The problem I’ve heard from just about everyone, though, is simple – they didn’t know what to write. What exactly should be included in a sales playbook, and how should it be organized? Here are the 3 building blocks for an effective sales playbook.


The first category of content to develop in your playbook is pretty self-explanatory: your processes. This is why it’s called a playbook, after all – your processes are your “plays” for specific situations. Here are some processes you might consider documenting:

  • Lead distribution/assignment
  • Lead follow-up
  • Lead nurturing
  • Opportunity management
  • Sales presentations
  • Demos
  • New client onboarding
  • Event (conference, trade show, etc.) preparation
  • Event follow-up
  • Client reviews

Those are some of the most common processes we’ve seen in sales playbooks, but yours may be different.


Once you’ve defined your processes, a second key component to your sales playbook is your policies. What rules have you defined, and what are your expectations? Here are a few examples:

  • Activity expectations (like a number of calls or meetings per week)
  • Call reports
  • Forecasting
  • Expenses
  • Travel policies
  • Meeting participation policies
  • Territories
  • Deal criteria
  • Resource utilization policies
  • Guidelines for working with other departments

It’s important that your policies are clear and easily understood. Avoid legalese, and give examples wherever possible.


After you’ve documented your processes and policies, it’s time for the fun part – what are your best practices? Here are some examples of what to include:

This is a great opportunity to get your team involved! Everyone will have something to contribute, and they’ll all learn from each other.

If you count, you’ll see a total of 30 topics above. There are probably 5 or so that don’t apply to you, so if you removed those you’d be left with 25. That would be a great start to your sales playbook!

One thing we’ve discovered is that many people start too big. Identify a realistic list of topics and get to work, and you’ll soon have a sales playbook that’s a powerful resource for your team.

What would you include in your sales playbook? Share your ideas in the comments below.


By | 2016-10-17T16:33:31+00:00 February 17th, 2015|Sales Leaders|0 Comments

About the Author:

Elizabeth is CFS's Operations Officer and Senior Advisor and is the Product Manager for the Criteria for Success Sales PlayBook. She writes about sales leadership, management, teamwork, motivation, and process based on her work with CFS's clients.

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