January 28, 2022

The Inside Sales Playbook for Start-Ups

The Inside Sales Playbook for Start-Ups

The crux of the matter isn’t about creating a great, attractive product. It’s about being able to sell it effectively. You can’t start your business believing that your product will sell itself. This may be possible, but it is rare. 

We get it! As a start-up, you lack the budget for hiring the best sales reps and aggressive marketing campaigns. However, start-up sales need not be expensive. You can do a lot with little by following a simple approach—creating your own Inside Sales Playbook. 

From training new hires to providing an experienced sales rep with a helpful guide, a sales playbook is useful across all scenarios for your team. A Sales Playbook captures best practices and communicates them to your sales team, helping them work smarter and faster, ultimately turning more prospects into customers. 

What a Sales Playbook Should Be

Customizing your sales playbook to your specific company and goals would be best. But there are crucial elements that apply across companies. Your Sales Playbook should: 

Outline basic information about your company

Before you get into call scripts and cases, you'll want to introduce your company to new hires. Essential information such as your company strategy, mission and vision, organization structure, roles, and responsibilities can help your new hires get up to date quickly. You may include information such as the training schedule and other onboarding procedures. 

Cover the nuts and bolts of your products or services

You should provide your sales team with everything they need to know about your products and services. At the minimum, include information on product features, pricing, unique selling points, etc. 

If your company has vast product offerings, you might need to create a separate playbook for each product, mainly if they differ in the sales process, sales plays, and buyer personas. 

Identify your customer profiles

Your sales team must have a clear picture of your target customers' personas to help them focus on the most qualified leads. Details should include company size, industry, pain points, preferences, and other related information about your target buyers. It is also best to outline lead qualification criteria to help them screen out prospects. 

Detail the stages of your sales process

You must explain each stage of your sales process clearly, emphasizing the high point of its essential activities. You must be able to illustrate how your sales process relates to the buying process of your target customers. 

Providing this information helps your sales team understand whom they sell to and what to do and say in every potential scenario. It equips them with the means to succeed at every stage of the sales process and every touchpoint of the buyer’s journey. 

Consolidate best practices

Your Sales Playbook should serve as a roadmap for your sales team to handle different sales scenarios when they deal with a prospect or lead. Putting together every pitch, tactic, email, call script, and strategy that have been successful can help your sales reps tackle their biggest challenges.  

These “sales plays” are best practices proven to close deals and are the recommended steps that your sales reps can effectively apply in different situations. Every play should tell them when to use the play, what persona it should target, and the strategy behind it. You must generally include the following elements: qualifying leads, handling a cold prospect that fits your target buyer profile, forecasting, determining the right pacing, following up after the first appointment, and upselling existing clients, among others. 

Describe how to use the company’s sales tools

A section in your Sales Playbook must detail the appropriate use of your company's technological support, such as the CRM and project management apps. Your sales reps must use the right tools at the right time to move deals forward.  

Aside from a basic introduction of using the features, you must provide clear cases that indicate complete step-by-step workflows and specify tools and features that your sales team must use at every touchpoint. Information provided must include instructions on finding the tools, inputting data into the right field, tracking and managing leads, etc. 

Generally, your information must give your sales reps a sense of how the CRM and other tools are relevant to company-wide data. 

State your sales KPIs and metrics

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) vary based on your business initiatives, objectives, or goals, and your sales metrics must be able to support your KPIs. For example, if a business seeks to boost sales by 15%,sales growth is the KPI, and sales revenue is the metric. Your metrics will be tailored specifically to that goal. Generally, metrics include average deal size, qualified leads generated, win rate, conversion rate, and quota attainment. 

Your sales reps should be clear on the KPIs and sales activity metrics that matter most. Make sure you outline expectations around how their performance is measured and how all the metrics connect with daily selling activities.

It would also help make your sales team aware of how you measure their bosses' performance in training, coaching, and providing support. 

State your value proposition through messaging

Messaging represents the “what to say” part of the equation. These are scripts that explain your brand’s value proposition and positioning and include elevator pitch, discovery questions, objection handling and responses, email and call scripts for prospecting, nurturing, closing, etc. 


This article’s simple tips will help you start creating a Sales Playbook that can yield a more competent and faster sales team and drive more revenue to your company. Creating a Sales Playbook is not an easy task, and there will always be a need for modification.  

It is best to go back to the drawing board and review your unique Who, What, and When. Start small and take it from there. Involve your sales team to create all the important content you need. Keep analyzing and enhancing. Once your first Sales Playbook is complete, it becomes the ultimate guide that provides valuable sales tactics and enables your sales team to win deals.

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