Every Startup Sales Team Needs An Agile Sales Playbook

When you’re on a hyper-growth startup sales team, hiring happens fast.

As a sales leader, you have a headcount number to hit each quarter, and you’re often hiring faster than you can train new reps. Because of this, your team is mostly rookies, and you can end up with first-time managers managing first-time sellers.

This is a recipe for disaster. You need to be able to share the accumulated knowledge and experience of your top reps with every new rep that starts on the team. However, your top reps don’t have the time to meet with every single new sales rep you hire — they need to be on the phone selling.

Instead of wasting their time, every growing team must build a powerful sales playbook that includes the best talk tracks, sales processes, strategies, and much more. This document should be clear, concise, and enable success. With an in-depth playbook, your newest reps can absorb the wisdom of the top reps, and hit the ground running.

However, you can’t rely on a traditional printed sales playbook for a modern, high-growth sales team. You need to build an agile playbook that grows and pivots as your team does. Here’s how to build a living, breathing, constantly-changing sales playbook for your startup sales team.

Ditch the Paper Playbook

When you think of a sales playbook, you probably imagine a massive, dictionary-sized document that sits unused on a sales rep’s desk for years. They may reference it from time to time, but mainly, it’s a paperweight. Today’s startup sales teams simply can’t use this type of old-school sales playbook.

At InsightSquared, we’ve grown our sales team from 20 to 100 reps in two years, and also pivoted our sales strategy multiple times. As a part of this, we’ve built a sales playbook that has changed more times than our strategy. It’s been through multiple iterations, and is being revised even now. It includes new talk tracks for our newest product offerings, outlines of recently-implemented territories, and more. Because the playbook is digital and flexible, it’s easy to implement these changes. And because it’s never sat static for long, reps know it’s up-to-date and actually use it often.

Curate the Best of the Best

An agile, digital playbook is key, but you also need to include the right content. As a sales leader, you have to ensure that the playbook is an organized collection of the best of everything on your sales team right at this moment. Make sure to bring in a good writer who can clearly convey the ideas you want to share with the entire sales team, and allow them to spend the time and money it takes to do the project well.

You should also bring in sales people from across the organization to contribute their personal expertise. In addition to traditional talk tracks, also add in practical advice from real reps on your sales team. For example, find the AE who is the best at negotiation or the BDR that’s fantastic at list building and have them share their experiences and tactics with the team through the playbook. By curating a list of the best and most successful tactics, you’ll have a powerful document that everyone will want to read.

A Playbook as Fast as Your Sales Team

I’ve really only scratched the surface of the value of an agile sales playbook and how exactly you can build one. There’s still many questions that remain:

  • Who should own the sales playbook?
  • Who is responsible for updating it?
  • What specific chapters should you include?
  • What technology should you use to organize the playbook?

If you want to learn more about agile sales playbooks for high growth sales teams, watch the webinar with Datanyze, InsightSquared and the Bridge Group:

[Webinar] Building an Agile Sales Playbook for 2016