Sales Documentation: What is it? and How to Get Started
Discover what sales documentation is and the benefits of it, such as better decision-making, improved productivity, and more effective async teamwork.
*This is a collaboration blog between Almanac and Quickmail CEO, Jeremy Chatelaine*
Your sales team is talking to potential customers daily and bringing in new revenue. It’s critical that their work environment enables them to stay organized, productive, and have access to everything they need throughout the day.
Sales documentation can help you get there.
It will be your team’s source of truth for every process they need, from onboarding a new hire to preparing a cold email campaign.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of sales documentation to your business and show you examples of documentation you can consider implementing.
Let’s jump in.
What is Sales Documentation?
Sales documentation is your sales team’s source of truth – in most cases, it’s a collection of standard operating procedures (SOPs), checklists, templates, and processes that relate to your core sales tasks around reaching out to and closing new customers. Sales documentation can also be referred to as a sales knowledge base.
5 Benefits of Sales Documentation for Your Team
1. Onboard new team members faster
Robust sales documentation will outline everything new sales representatives at your company need to know to do their job.
Even if someone has never done a task before, they can look at your documentation and follow the steps to complete their work successfully.
If your company is growing fast, this documentation will play a critical role – your existing team members can spend fewer hours of their day helping new hires, as the documentation can help them get onboarded faster and asynchronously.
2. Outsource to external parties with ease
If your company needs to outsource standardized tasks – such as creating prospect lists, enriching your CRM records with data, or preparing email outreach campaigns in your cold email software – your documentation can act as instructions for the freelancers you work with.
If your documentation is in a platform like Almanac, you can easily create a shareable page and add external collaborators.
Having a SOP or similar process document in place means the external freelancers don’t need to spend time learning your processes – they can simply follow the exact steps you’ve laid out to complete the task successfully and to a high standard every time.
3. Improve overall team productivity
McKinsey found that employees spend 20% of their week looking for internal resources needed to complete their job.
Sales documentation can help you avoid this problem, as it gives your team a single place to search for information they need.
If your documentation has been created in a way that’s simple to understand, every task your reps need to work on will be easy to complete.
Whether your team needs to build a cold email campaign, prepare for a sales discovery call, or find your latest sales decks, everything will be available in your documentation. As a result, no one will ever need to waste their time looking for important information needed to do their job, and everyone will be more productive.
4. Help teams work asynchronously
Sales documentation can help teams work asynchronously as each process doc will be available 24/7 for whoever needs it.
Even if your sales reps are in a different timezone, they will never need to ping you in Slack or end up without access to key sales assets, as everything is stored in one centralized place.
If there’s a problem with the documentation, someone can leave feedback or bring it up in a weekly meeting to ensure it gets updated.
5. Improve your team’s decision-making
Sales documentation can improve your decision-making, too.
Every team will adapt and update their processes over time.
Whenever this happens, you can add a new document in your Almanac documentation that outlines and explains the reason for your change in processes, the pros and cons of different potential solutions, and shows the final decision.
Your whole team can review the document and understand exactly why the decision was made. If something changes in the system you’re following in a couple of months, the document can be continually updated to reflect those changes.
Having a source of truth for your team’s decision-making is powerful – it keeps everyone on the same page, and no one will ever be left wondering why a process changed.
When Should You Implement Sales Documentation?
Having sales documentation in place is always a good thing. But, it can be put on the back burner if you’re growing fast and don’t have time to spend creating your documentation and processes.
If you’re a remote organization, then as soon as you figure out the basics of how you approach different tasks, you should start implementing them.
The sooner you do this, the sooner your team can work asynchronously knowing the steps involved in key tasks.
If you’re a fully on-site organization, you can probably get away with implementing it later on. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Rather than referring to documentation, your team will be asking each other questions throughout the day about best practices and processes to follow.
If there was documentation in place, they could spend more time deep working and less time trying to find the latest information on how to complete a task.
Sales Documentation Examples You Need to Implement
1. New Hire Onboarding Process
When new team members join, having documentation in place is key.
For example, you could have a 30-60-90 for a new Head of Sales.
The document can be as granular as outlining their first day, down to the hour.
As soon as your new Head of Sales joins, everyone on the team, including them, will know how your company approaches your sales process.
2. Prospecting Process
Your company will have a standardized prospecting process.
In your documentation, you can outline key steps involved, such as:
- Identify prospects at companies with $10 million revenue and job title matching “Head of Marketing” or “Head of Growth”.
- Verify their email address with a tool like Bouncer or NeverBounce.
- Add their name and contact information to a specific Google Sheet stored in the team’s shared Google Drive.
- Write a unique cold email opening line to personalize your emails.
When a sales reps opens your prospecting documentation, they’ll know exactly how to build their prospect list.
3. Cold Outreach Process
Sending cold emails is a powerful way to engage with your sales prospects.
In your documentation, you can include steps such as:
- Import prospect list into your team’s cold email software.
- Open ‘Q1 Outreach Campaign’ and add prospects to the campaign.
- Review email templates to ensure it fits the goal for this campaign.
- Add 3-5 follow-up emails to the campaign.
- Schedule campaign to start on Monday afternoon.
Sales process docs like these should be actionable and easy to follow. If you need to, make sure to include details on how people can log into tools you’re using in the process, even if it’s as simple as “Login details stored in shared Sales password manager”. The fewer roadblocks inside each process document, the better.
4. Sales Discovery Call Process
Your sales discovery call is another common sales process that can be standardized through documentation.
Inside your documentation, you can include steps like:
- Confirm the date and time your sales prospect is available.
- Send an email following a company standard meeting invite template.
- Follow-up after two days if prospect doesn’t accept meeting invite.
- On the day of the meeting, send a reminder email two hours before the meeting with links to Zoom room.
- After the meeting, send a follow up email with key discussion points.
Your team will show up to every call prepared, and your prospects will always feel like you’re helping them through your sales cycle.
5. Proposal Sending Process
Before you close a new customer, you need to send them a proposal outlining your costs, and what they’ll receive in return.
This document can include steps like:
- Find the ‘Q4 Sales Proposal Template’.
- Add your prospect’s personal details to the template.
- Send the proposal to client.
- Send a follow up email to client to confirm that they received the proposal.
- Move the prospect record in CRM to ‘Proposal Sent’ column.
- If the proposal has not been signed, follow up after three days.
Every sales rep at your company will know the steps they need to follow in every interaction to create the perfect proposal, and you’ll maximize the chances of your potential clients turning into customers.
For even more sales templates, you can check out a list here.
Improving Your Sales Documentation Over Time
It’s a best practice to schedule regular meetings to improve your documentation.
For most companies, once per month or once per quarter may be enough for this, as most teams will be updating the process documents organically over time.
In your planned meetings, you can go into detail on:
- What problems people are having with the current documentation.
- Come up with ideas to improve them.
- Discuss new documentation that needs to be added.
Over time, your documentation will continue to improve and you’ll ensure the best version of every process is being followed.
Sales documentation outlines the steps involved in every task your team needs to complete on a daily basis. It’s going to improve productivity, and improve decision-making as everyone will know what standard procedures are most effective.
Good documentation that’s accessible 24/7 is key to enabling effective asynchronous work, as your team can use it to complete any task, at any time of day.
You can create documentation for almost any task your sales team is required to do, from prospecting, to sending proposals. Over time, you’ll update them to fit your team’s unique way of working and ensure your documentation always remains relevant.