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SWS #07: What should go into a Sales team manual?

In this post, I'm going to take a deep dive into what should go into a Sales team manual.

I’ve picked Sales as it’s a common place to start, but the steps I’m sharing will work for any team.

If you’d like to see some specific examples for other teams then let me know, and I’ll be happy to visit these in a future SWS post!

So what goes into a Sales team manual?

Well, an image says a thousand words, so here's how a Sales team manual might look: 

 As you can see, the answer is a combination of:
  • Task checklists (or “SOPs”)
  • Training checklists
  • Onboarding checklists

You can include other documents and links to external sites, but most of the guidance should be embedded in checklists.


What task checklists will you need?

Think about all the tasks your Sales team does.

For example:

  • Make sales calls
  • Run a discovery call
  • Handle an objection
  • Share a quote
  • Run the weekly Sales meeting
Each of these tasks can be documented as a task checklist (also called an SOP).

While Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have a bad reputation as being a bit "enterprise-y" and smelling a bit like "micro-management", they don't need to be.

Here's an example of a Make sales calls checklist, created in AirManual: 


Task checklists make it easy to train team members, get consistent results, and prevent costly mistakes.

Without them, you'll struggle to delegate or scale a team.


What training checklists will you need?

For some tasks, a clear checklist will provide all the training that your team needs (e.g. Share a quote).

But, you won't want new team members to start running discovery calls on day one!

This is where a training checklist will help.

The key steps for learning how to run discovery calls might be:

  1. Watch a video
  2. Review the task checklist
  3. Practice with a colleague
  4. Get approval to start doing real calls
  5. Start running calls (and getting feedback)
  6. Confirm mentor is happy

Having a training checklist is a big time saver for your team!

For the person being trained, they don't have to waste time waiting for a training workshop. And if they forget something later, it's easy to refer back to the training checklist.

For the manager, they can save hours that would have been spent giving the training. Instead, it might take just 10 minutes to give approval. 

A training checklist: Get started with discovery calls

What goes into an onboarding checklist?

When someone joins your team, there's a lot of things that need to happen.

They need to:

  • Meet the team
  • Set up tools
  • Review the team goals
  • Learn the essentials (e.g. by learning how to run discovery calls and handle objections)
  • Become productive (e.g. by starting to run discovery calls)
  • Start growing further in the role

As a starting point, you can simply copy our template into your workspace.

If you have multiple roles that you hire into (e.g. Sales Rep, Account Manager, etc.), then create a separate checklist for each role.

Using checklists to make your onboarding self-service is a huge time saver.

For the new joiner, they can move at their own pace and become productive quickly — often within in the first week.

As a manager, it's possible to reduce the time you need to spend supporting a new joiner to just an hour or two a week. Over the first few months, it can save the team hundreds of hours.

Onboarding checklist: Get started as a Sales Rep

Where should you start?

I recommend that you start by creating the outline of what your ideal manual would look like (given the current size of your team).

This is quick and easy to do in AirManual — check out this short video to see how:

Once you've created the outline, the next step is not to try and document it all.

Instead, you should prioritize the 1–3 pages that your team needs most urgently. Create the checklists and test that they work. Then come back to your outline, and prioritize the next content to create.


Over time, you'll create an incredible resource for your team.

You'll free up hundreds of hours for senior team members, and stop mistakes that are costing your organization £10,000s.

And you'll be able to scale up your Sales team, without a ton of stress.

If you have any questions, then reach out to our team — we'll be happy to help! 😎