In this series, we’ve covered the major steps in building a winning go-to-market strategy, from creating your Ideal Customer Profile to planning your sales setup and channel strategies. Together, these elements serve as the cornerstone for any startup looking to define their sales machine. The next challenge is documenting it all and effectively communicating these developments to your team. 

The primary tool you need to ensure your salespeople are working in alignment is a Sales Enablement Playbook. This is your team’s compass, a document that contains a systematic approach to understanding your value proposition, identifying your target buyers, and orchestrating your play. It also helps onboard new hires and maintain consistency across the organization. For that reason, it has to be documented and accessible.

A comprehensive Sales Enablement Playbook should contain at least three sections: articulating your value proposition, target buyers, and plays. In this article, we’ll help you build your own playbook. There is a downloadable template included at the end to get you started.

Know Your Value

The first section of your playbook should reflect the core essence and strengths of your company. It is essential to clearly articulate what you offer to the market—exploring the problem you are solving and the benefits customers get from acquiring your solution. These messages should be crisp, clear, and compelling, resonating with the needs and aspirations of your target audience.

A compelling Value Proposition section should contain:

  1. Key Messages: Have long and short versions for introducing your company. Reps can use these in different situations like sales calls, presentations, or elevator pitches. These intros should also contain broader market trends for your category, and how your company aligns with them. 
  2. Product Overview: These are comprehensive pitches about product features and their benefits for different customer pain points. 
  3. Differentiators: This is a competitive analysis map of other vendors in your category, (including their offerings and customer base), and explanations for how your company compares. The battle cards introduced in the sales content article are a good resource for this section.
  4. Return Over Investment: Measures the impact of your product on your customer’s daily life. It is essential to include customer testimonials that add credibility to your claim.

Know Your Target Buyer

If you spent time creating your Ideal Customer Profiles and Buying Influences, you are already halfway done with this part of your playbook. 

In the Target Buyers section, you will want to include all customer profiles and personas uncovered in your discovery process, highlighting:

  • Buying Personas: Typical profiles within each segment for Economic Buyers, Users, Technical Buyers, Procurement, and Influencers. 
  • Customer Segments: These use different criteria such as industry, location, size, etc.
  • Decision-Making Process: A roadmap with milestones that a rep should expect in a sales cycle, as well as actions that they should take in each one of them.
  • First Meeting Prep Questions: A set of prep questions that allow a rep to do guided research before interacting with a customer for the first time.
  • Qualification Scorecard: Questions that help a rep qualify or disqualify a sales lead during initial interactions.

Qualification criteria can vary drastically from company to company, but here are some questions that we often see startups use:

  • Is the prospect located in one of your addressed territories? 
  • What is the number of potential users within the company?
  • Is there an allocated budget for this type of product or would this be a new line item?
  • What is the current tech stack for this team? (e.g. CRM = 
  • Is there a compelling event (e.g. security breach) driving an outcome to this conversation?
  • Were the decision makers and influencers for this process identified?

Know Your Play

We conclude the Sales Enablement Playbook by outlining tactical best practices. These should start by recognizing success patterns learned from previous sales engagements, highlighting them as examples for future cycles. 

Here are some examples of what the Plays section could include:

  1. Qualify Early and Often: Be sure deals meet qualification criteria throughout the sales process.
  2. Research and Prepare: Know the prospect’s business and their existing localization or international strategy.
  3. Reference Relevant Customers: Share customer stories that match the prospect’s business or technical models.
  4. Guide Sales Engineers: Give them prospect evaluation requirements so they can customize the demo.
  5. Prepare Executives: Summarize deal requirements and competitive players well in advance of any call with execs.
  6. Tap Executives: Pull in a member of the exec team, but only for a major deal, big name, or important product feature request.
  7. Update Your Deals in the CRM: Document all key data, contacts, emails, meetings, events, and milestones.
  8. Nurture the Deal: Send relevant news, customer wins, product improvements, and competitive intelligence to keep your company top of mind.
  9. Be Technical: Know the product, and how to field core technology questions but also be aware of what you don’t know.
  10. Be Creative: Suggest how to structure deal terms. Find ways to reach influencers. Use your tech savvy to create demos to get the prospect’s attention.

This section of the Playbook should wrap up with a conversational guide that includes the Most Common Objections and Frequently Asked Questions. Suggestions for putting these resources together can be found in our Playbook Template. The template does not have to be followed step-by-step, but your playbook should cover all the sections included.

Start Your Playbook Today

The Sales Enablement Playbook is a living document that requires training and updates. Assign an owner who keeps it updated (usually the Head of Sales Ops or another leader in the sales org). 

Periodic reviews and active feedback channels are essential in making the playbook a dynamic tool, evolving with every customer interaction. The template below serves as a starting point to craft your first version and start iterating as your team deploys tactics for real customers.