Published by
Mike Bandar
Leadership & Culture
6 mins

7 Common Business Playbook Mistakes [and how to fix them]

The sky’s the limit for companies with a business playbook in place as it increases sales by up to 33%. A business playbook is a secret treasure that holds information about a company’s entire work process. From the hiring process to guidelines for closing the biggest deals, an effective business playbook has everything jotted down. 

When new hires come in, they often find it difficult to follow the work-related guidelines. Some might confuse their inexperience with incompetence. To deal with this issue, a proven blueprint is laid down in the form of a playbook. Using this, the new employee can follow the track of high achievers of the company and try to replicate their results. 

Just as a good playbook upscales the business of the company, a bad one can do the total opposite. A report suggests that 60% of employees fail to read their company’s handbook. 

This article will help you make an effective playbook while avoiding the most common yet deadly mistakes. 

Mistake #1- Not Clearly Defining Your Company’s Rules/Procedures in Employee Handbooks

Sometimes you’re so caught up with the process of generating sales that you miss out on the most basic things when building your business playbook. 

A good playbook must define the motto of the company, what it stands for, the dos and don'ts of business, every single necessary standard operating procedure and the respective subject owner. 

Your playbook will not be of any help if there are no explicit instructions regarding general and sales rules. 

Company processes are not only some mandatory instructions you need to follow. Rather, they’re a manual for your business - a iterative process and set of activities that ensure your team can reach their goals in easy steps. Rules include listing and managing tasks, launching new workflows, and working on various business techniques. 

Thus, make sure to write clear descriptions that are easily understandable for everyone in the organization.  To ensure there are no mistakes,  hire a proofreader and get other external parties to review it. 

💡 Tip: To hire the best business playbook software, just click here. All your training, onboarding, documentation and best practices in one place. A single source of truth for your team.– we’ve got it all covered.

Mistake #2- Not Including an Illustration of the Organization’s Workflow

A bunch of rules and instructions listed together will never influence your new joiner. Rather make a flowchart, illustration, or infographic to better explain the workflow. 

The illustration must summarize the whole process and the respective subject owner. It should include what works for the organization and what doesn’t. 

These visually appealing images convert complicated sets of rules into easy-to-follow baby steps. Break down each step into practical guidelines. 

Business is not like a chemical formula where you know what to add and in what quantity. So, add illustrations providing alternative pathways to solve a single problem when building your business playbook.  

if you have multiple versions of a sales playbook, each employee will be implementing something different

Mistake #3- No Information About the Location Where Data Is Posted and Made Accessible

So, now you’ve written the perfect business playbook, added personal experiences and illustrations. But, no one knows where you’ve posted it or you failed to give access to all the employees. If there's no content to the people, there are no employee handbooks.

How will anyone know if there’s a tested success formula out there? Thus, if by chance you’ve forgotten to give location data or access regarding the playbook, do it today. 

Using cloud-based software is the best way to disseminate a playbook. However, it'll not benefit anyone if it's not accessible to all members. Choose a playbook software or sharing option that gives access to everyone, such as Waybook, so you don’t have to do it individually.  

Mistake #4. Not Documenting Your Learnings

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.” - W Edwards Deming

Whther as a founder and CEO, or as a Subject Matter Expert, you've years of experience with many success stories of closing high-end deals. It's now just routine work for you to convince a prospect to buy your product. However, you never documented the methods and proposals that served as a learning curve for you. 

So, how will the new hires benefit from your years of experience? Well, you document everything in the manual for your business. 

An impactful playbook includes accounts of your personal experience with clients for effective employee training. It includes the different approaches that work for you, especially if you manage a remote team. It must not only include what you should do but also the points you must avoid, in easy steps.

According to Brevet, the best day to prospect is Thursday. Investigate which one works for you and report in the playbook. 

For example, you’re selling a new software and you find a particular pattern that has been increasing sales, document it straight away. New joiners will save time when they know what works for your specific clients. 

Mistake #5. Creating Too Many Versions of the Original Playbook

If you’ve multiple versions of a sales playbook, each employee will be implementing something different. 

Each team will be approaching similar situations differently. The result? Organizational mayhem! 

Prospects will report contrasting experiences and aberrant testimonials. So, you need to take strict steps to ensure the use of a single playbook version. 

If you don’t have a specialized sales team working on the playbook, no one will own the responsibility of standardizing this holy grail. So, organize a board and allocate experienced members to the team. They will be responsible for updating and maintaining one version for everyone to follow. 

Mistake #6. Not Having a Specifically-Tailored Playbook for Different Purposes 

Although there should be a standard, single version of a playbook for everyone to use, one playbook can’t be generalized for all departments.

If you only have one sales playbook to cater to all the company’s needs, you’re bound to fail in the long run and it'll be hard to build your businesses. One playbook may yield excellent results for one population but may not work at all for the other one, just becuse they have to document a completely different standard operating procedure.

Therefore, each department should have its own committee for making a standard playbook. Do you manage a marketing team? So your playbook is filled with employee training to put that specific cluster running smoothly. Experts in the field can make a much more specialized and effective playbook. 

Are you building your playbook to document a hollistic business strategy? Business leaders can start building this iterative process with you.

To make things convenient, distribute a general playbook for general rules and a specifically tailored one for each department too.   

Mistake #7. Not Getting Your Team to Adopt the Playbook 

You’ve kept in mind all the mistakes mentioned above and created a flawless playbook. However, no one in your team is following the guidelines. They’re not taking advantage of and practically implementing the extract of years of practice.  

Employees adhering to the playbook report a 15% increase in sales compared to non-adherents. So, it’s crucial to lay down a protocol to implement the playbook. Hire an expert team to follow the progress or invest in an SOP management software to track the improvement. 


Creating a playbook doesn't need to a be pain. Include your company’s stories ittle by little, draw illustrations, make them accessible, and lastly focus on its implementation. If you have any personal experience you would want everyone to benefit from, share it in the comment section.

You can start delegating and produce quality across your remote team today. The fastest growing companies in the world are already documenting processes with Waybook.

No matter if you're hiring the best subject matter expert, documenting policies and processes yourself, creating training content or designing the best employee onboarding experience - you can organize chaos, and scale your business with Waybook too. Start today for free or just pick the best time to book a coaching call.

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