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By LegalEdge News

The positives of playbooks – 10 reasons your SaaS business needs one…

The scenario

Your star salesperson has just sealed the deal with a customer you have been chasing for months, and it’s one of your highest value contracts – a reason to break open the champagne, right? 

Wrong! It turns out that to get the deal, sales have made a lot of concessions – they’ve agreed to all sorts of terms that you don’t have with any other customers, and which aren’t favourable to you. Far from being a success story, this contract could turn out to be a huge headache for your business to manage.

What can you do to protect your business?

Fast growth SaaS companies face some common challenges when it comes to managing sales teams negotiating terms with potential customers. But there is an effective and fairly simple way to deal with these – put an effective sales manual, also known as a “playbook”, in place.  

Companies are often reluctant to invest the time and money in pulling together a playbook, but there are good reasons why doing so will more than repay the cost. Simon Conyers, our brilliant and experienced SaaS lawyer, gives 10 reasons why you and your sales team could benefit from a playbook…

10 good reasons to invest in a playbook for your sales team:

  1. As a precursor to putting your playbook together you will need to review, and possibly amend and streamline, your standard customer contract(s) to understand what terms are working and which are creating unnecessary friction and slowing down your deals. It’s a very helpful exercise, resulting in a contract that reflects your operational realities, works for your business and properly protects your business interests. 
  2. A playbook will enable you to identify the common areas of customer push back on your standard terms and to agree a company position that reflects your business’ risk appetite, so that sales/your lawyer can respond to these quickly and consistently. A playbook could also usefully contain sections on the circumstances under which you will insist on contracting with your own terms vs when you will accept the customer’s paper as well as your standard response to the content of your customer’s own terms. 
  3. Once you have identified likely areas for negotiation you can set out your approach to those topics, the situations in which exceptions may be made and how these are to be signed off (eg.internal processes and escalations – to whom, etc.).
  4. Having a playbook which sets out a consistent approach will make it easier to train and manage your sales team, so everyone knows what is expected of them. A one-stop shop for all the information sales need to negotiate and close a deal effectively will make things easier for all (and less costly for the business). Sales will spend less time on admin tasks and negotiating deals and more time selling.
  5. It will enable you to standardise and streamline aspects of your sales process, speeding up negotiations, reducing time-to-close and making your business more efficient (reduce costs and increase profitability ). 
  6. A playbook will help your sales team strike better deals and is an insurance against expensive mistakes by a young or inexperienced sales team, who are too eager (or feeling too pressured) to do a deal at any price! 
  7. Once the sales teams have been trained on your playbook, you will also have a useful framework for appraising performance and, if necessary, taking disciplinary action.
  8. It will enable you to justify any non-standard terms which are agreed with your customers. Following an internal process for signing these off will also provide you with a paper trail should this be required in the future (eg. for auditors, insurance purposes etc).  
  9. The consistency of approach enabled by a playbook will also professionalise things (both internally and to the outside world). It is critical to help you to scale effectively. When your deal volume increases, or you add product lines and expand into new countries/territories, having a standardised approach, even for deviating terms, becomes necessary.  
  10. An effective playbook will give any future investors/buyers confidence in how your business is run. A playbook can help reassure potential investors during due diligence that the business has been well managed and there are no nasty surprises lurking.

Don’t forget…

To be effective a playbook needs to be a dynamic rather than static document. It should be kept under review and updated as necessary not just filed away and forgotten about. Be sure to have the most up to date version readily available for sales to access. You’ll also need internal processes for agreeing and implementing these updates and communicating the changes to sales.   

How can we help?

We can review your existing customer terms and help create your playbook as well as deliver training to your sales team on how this works. Get in touch on

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