Sep 07, 2021 Paul Sullivan

How to build your SaaS Sales Playbook

saas sales playbook


We’ve written many articles on sales covering a range of topics from software to strategy on this blog, but none look at the process a SaaS company would need to follow in-depth.


Therefore this article will run through a series of steps and tactics to create a framework that your organisation can use to build a successful sales program within the business. In short, let’s walk through how you build your sales playbook to support your product marketing initiatives.


What is a sales playbook?

A sales playbook is a record of objectives, product details, and the specific procedure you want reps to follow during the sales process. It’s the questions you want them to ask and answer, the content they need to share, and the information they need to reference.


It must be structured in a clear and consistent way, that is easy to understand, access, and fit into a standardised workflow or sales process. Your playbook can be as broad or as specific as you want it to be. They should regard it as a useful resource they can reference any time they are interacting with a prospect.


The playbook matrix, what you need to know

To build an effective Saas sales strategy resource for your sales reps you need to follow this twelve-step process. Each step has been carefully curated, but not every step will be relevant to your sales team's playbook, and so you can customise this for your own purposes.


Read through the sections below and carefully carve out the structure that you need to define your sales process. Feel free to build this around any known sales cycles or redefine your buying process.


The company overview

As your sales process will be designed to combat your customer’s pain points, as well as to help train new BDRs, having a company overview is a key element for all sales playbooks. The overview should be concise but provide enough detail to make your sales plays easy to adopt. Things to consider include:


    • Key facts and milestones; vision (where the company wants to be in the long-term); growth strategies and tactics; company structure.
    • Summary of roles and responsibilities of sales reps; objectives; incentives; career path outline.
    • Who to go to for support?

Your product portfolio

As you have now established who the company is and what it stands for, next up are your SaaS products or services. Creating a product portfolio will help further define your sales strategy as you can create other supporting files like battle cards and sales scripts. Things you need to build are:


    • Details of every product or service your salespeople are responsible for selling: benefits; core value offerings for buyers and end-users.
    • Consider creating a playbook per product if your offerings are significantly varied and require separate sales processes.

Market Insights

Market insights are key to the success of Saas business. The Saas industry is littered with players who simply put products to market without due diligence and those founders often crashed and burned. But market insights are more than just understanding the buyer’s journey, it’s about competitive intelligence and market positioning too. Focus on the items below and read the articles hyperlinked in this section.


    • Industry analysis, including related industries or verticals.
    • Competitor research and key differentiators.

Buyer personas

Buyer personas are actually one of the most important pieces of data in the sales process. But you don’t have to stick with buyers also add in your user personas so that your sales reps can pivot between buyers easily.


    • Needs and challenges; qualified lead definition (eg, has a sufficient budget; has decision-making authority).
    • Discovery methods for lead identification.

Your sales methodology

The sales methodology that your b2b saas company adopts will be key to the success of your sales strategy. I wrote an article covering ten different sales frameworks which you can read to further enhance your choice. But a great saas organisation combines free trials and trial periods with in-person sales for maximum results.


    • For example, ABM or Challenger Sale. Who is involved (the rep, their manager, the prospect, the buying authority); key deliverables?


Develop your sales cadence

The sales cadence is the sequence of actions to take towards a sale, from the first connection to close: every contact attempt a salesperson makes with a prospect, including emails, phone calls, voicemails, and social media interactions (ie, multi-touch).


For example:


Day 1: Email in the morning

Day 3: Call in the afternoon

Day 5: Call in the morning, call with a voicemail in the afternoon

Day 7: Second email in the morning, call in the afternoon with a voicemail

Day 10:  Third email and call in the morning

Also, when to pursue opportunities and when to let go and move on.


Build the best tech stack, reduce as much friction as possible

This is where I come into my own. Personally, I get really excited about building that seamless tech stack, devoid of friction that enables my customers to attain easy adoption and overlay their sales and marketing playbooks. Obviously, HubSpot CRM is at the heart of that, but we have many connected technologies for sales enablement to add.


    • Which tools do they need to use (eg, CRM, project management apps) at specific touchpoints?
    • Key features for managing and tracking leads, and how/when to move opportunities through each stage.
    • Which fields are optional and mandatory?
    • How programs are integrated with others in the business, for example, whether data for marketing campaigns or customer service feeds through to your CRM. What does this mean for them?

How will you comp your sales reps?

Sales comp is key to retaining the best talent and whilst you won’t publish base salaries here, you can list your comp structure based on sales targets and exceeding them.


    • SPIF (sales performance incentive formula); for example salary only, commission only, base plus bonus.
    • Examples of calculations for context.

Design your sales messaging

Designing your sales messaging should have been completed when you structured your go-to-market strategy, something we covered in another article recently. Storytelling and messaging are intrinsic to the tactics a well-prepared sales team can adopt.


    • Including email templates, positioning statements, calling and voicemail scripts, common objections and how to handle them, meeting agendas, and presentation decks.

Supporting content and resources

Sales enablement is the content, resources and technology that your team uses to deliver on the sales playbook.


    • Where to find, and how/when to use, case studies, testimonials, content marketing material like guides, demonstration videos and infographics.
    • Tip: if you have lots of resources, you might want to split this by internal and external-facing resources.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs will help you measure the impact of your sales playbook and the strategies adopted within it. A great resource is KPI Checklists by Bernie Smith.


    • Baseline deliverables: quotas to be hit; metrics that are tracked by sales managers.

Examples of good performance

Provide your team with examples of good performance of your product in the market and if you have examples of where your product played better than your competitors even better.


    • Aspirational examples of excellence; examples of poor performance.

Defining your sass sales strategy

So that brings this latest article to an end. I’m super confident that by applying this set of to-do’s to your playbook development process, you can start to build and measure the forward performance of your sales team.


You will be able to see inside your CRM how the team performs, individuals perform and when to step in and provide further support. It will be easy to build reporting functionality and hopefully de-clutter the culture of individual success for a team-based approach that delivers better results.


If your sales team are in need of a well-developed tech stack that plays nicely with a well-structured sales playbook, talk to the team here at Digital BIAS, we would be happy to help.

Published by Paul Sullivan September 7, 2021
Paul Sullivan