Balancing Scale and Personalization with Segmented B2B Sales Plays

7 minutes
to read
Written by
Bo Borland
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In the ever-evolving landscape of B2B sales, finding the balance between scaling efficiency and maintaining personalized interactions is essential for efficient growth in long, complex sales cycles. On the one hand, scale allows businesses to reach broader markets faster at a lower cost, while on the other, personalization fosters trust, deepens customer relationships, and enables more effective positioning to improve rates with a better overall customer experience across acquisition, retention, and expansion.

As companies grow and expand their sales operations, the challenge lies in striking the right balance between these two seemingly opposing forces. In this article, we delve into the importance of achieving this equilibrium and explore how to harmonize B2B sales motion scale with personalized approaches using sales play segmentation.

Top-down playmaking approach for scale

Most leaders subscribe to the saying, “nail it before you scale it."  Meaning, identify successful GTM and sales motions and codify them into repeatable plays so teams can execute better together at scale. Fast-growing companies systematize repeatable growth plays across multiple motions, such as acquisition, retention, and expansion. But mobilizing teams to execute those plays effectively is extremely difficult.

Sales team mobilization requires managing plays across the lifecycle of building, enabling, running, measuring, and iterating.

  1. Building: revenue owners collaboratively create the play.
  2. Enabling: revenue enablers train and enable the field on the new play.
  3. Running: cross-functional field teams execute the play with customers while revenue owners inspect deal behaviors with input metrics.
  4. Iterating: Revenue operations and enablement suggest improvements to the play based on the qualitative feedback loops and output metrics on play performance.
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The mobilization effort stalls most often in the "running" stage, after sales enablement teams spend months gathering best practices, building a beautiful sales playbook slide deck, and training the field.  When this happens, leaders have difficulty pinpointing why adoption is low, old bad habits remain, and win rates haven't improved. Skip ahead two quarters after the market and product offerings have changed, and the playbook slide deck is now outdated.

A centralized, top-down sales playmaking approach is great for scale with CRM sales forecasting and reporting, but it can lead to a one-size-fits-all sales play that lacks the personalization needed for different customer segments. For example, B2B deal execution for a cloud SMB acquisition play differs greatly from an on-premise enterprise expansion play.

Yet, many companies run the same play for every scenario, only switching out a few product positioning slides.  The reality is that these two play examples differ by roles involved and many distinct actions across the sales cycle, from customer-centric discovery to prescriptive validation techniques and closing.

When a one-size-fits-all play isn't segmented, distributed leaders create their own segmented plays without any guidance or guardrails. The lack of governance inevitably leads to plays with fragmented terminology, disconnected narratives, hacked assets, and manual workflows. The result is low adoption, poor experiences, incomplete metrics, and an incredibly inefficient go-to-market.

A new approach is needed to deliver personalization at scale

Customers build trust with sales teams that understand them. Today’s enterprise buying committees enter the sales cycle highly informed and expect sales teams to add value with personalization and tailored buying experience that uniquely addresses their use cases and business outcomes.

The trick is to find the right balance between repeatability for scale and personalization for relevance, adoption, and effectiveness that leads to increased deal size and win rates.

Sales play segmentation strikes the perfect balance to exceed customer expectations with personalization in a highly repeatable way. Consider segments as customer entry points that cross many dimensions like product, use case, industry, region, and market segment. The best teams personalize and package repeatable plays by their highest-priority segments.

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However, resource-constrained marketing, revops, and sales enablement teams that experience low adoption and lack of accountability from the field are reluctant to invest the time and resources needed to build new assets, plays, and automated workflows tailored to different segments. These teams have many competing priorities and limited bandwidth to do all the work required to deliver turn-key plays by segment.

A new, self-service playmaking approach is needed to deliver segmented plays without overwhelming the resource-constrained teams at corporate. The new approach should make it easy to create segmented plays while adhering to a shared sales methodology for best practices, shared terminology, and quality controls.

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Enable personalization while ensuring consistency and quality.

With proper guardrails, self-service playmaking opens the door to having more resources contributing to the playmaking process so companies move faster, building segmented plays without losing sales asset quality, best practices, or the ability to aggregate play metrics across different teams and motions.

Bottoms-up approach for personalization

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Execution lives and dies with a group we call 'distributed leaders,' which include not only middle managers who run critical businesses and functions, but also technical and domain experts who occupy key spots in the informal networks that get things done”.  

Distributed leaders are thought leaders, team leaders, and function leaders across every GTM function. We call these distributed leaders "GTM Playmakers" when they participate in governed, self-service playmaking. A GTM Playmaker connects the dots for how teaming works, shares lessons learned, aligns everyone on the gold standard, and mobilizes teams to achieve that standard.

The HBR research proves that distributed leaders need agility to seize new opportunities or solve unforeseen problems, but they are hamstrung by poor communication from above, lack of decision-making power, and inability to coordinate across functions.

At Playbuilt, we believe distributed leaders should be empowered to become GTM Playmakers by making it easy to create segmented plays in a governed way. A larger pool of GTM Playmakers gives companies the resources needed to achieve a more agile and effective go-to-market.

Playbook objects as building blocks for segmenting plays

Companies should define a library of reusable playbook objects as building blocks that prescribe a methodology, governance model, and set of approved assets.  Building blocks combine top-down, strategic guidance with bottom-up market expertise and insights from distributed leaders that can be packaged and assembled into plays. This playbook library of assets and best practices serves as guardrails for distributed leaders to adhere to when composing tailored plays within that playbook.

The playbook building blocks unlock top-down playmaking from centralized operations teams and bottom-up playmaking from distributed leaders. With a library of reusable playbook objects, both teams quickly and easily compose new, segmented plays from a library of building blocks that adhere to company standards.

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Playbook objects as building blocks

This form of agile, distributed playmaking reduces the burden on marketing, revops, and enablement for tailoring plays to different motions, use cases, and customer segments.

Distributed playmaking unlocks the ability to achieve personalization at scale while ensuring consistency and quality. When teams embrace distributed playmaking, a new mindset of intentionality emerges where leaders see a new problem or opportunity and compose a play from a playbook object governance model that ensures everyone is speaking the same language.

But what if market conditions change and your product offering evolves? How do you manage changes to all these plays? The old way meant spending months updating slide decks, documents, and CRM workflows that are outdated in six months. With a building block approach, any changes to a block, like updating an asset or renaming a standard action from “Proof of Concept” to “Proof of Value,” will update every segmented play that uses that block.  This makes it easy to cascade updates across the entire playbook of plays.

This level of playbook flexibility and manageability is a game changer for enabling personalization at scale with consistency and quality built in.

How to get started with play segmentation

How teams embrace play segmentation will manifest differently at companies based on the GTM segmentation strategy and competitive nature of the markets in which they operate. To develop an initial point-of-view (POV) for segmenting plays, start by asking these GTM segmentation questions:

  • How many product lines do we sell, and what is unique about selling each line?
  • Does our solution solve multiple distinct use cases for different personas?
  • How do we currently segment our target customers by size, region, industry, use case, or maturity?
  • What are our most important customer segments from a revenue and strategy perspective?
  • How do the needs and expectations of different customer segments vary, and what techniques do we leverage to meet those needs across the entire sales cycle?
  • What sales play(s) do we currently use, and what is the field adoption and customer win rate for each?
  • What plays can we inject into our GTM motion to experiment, innovate and gain a competitive advantage?
  • Who owns our sales plays, and how does our GTM operational structure need to change to support play segmentation and distributed playmaking?

The answers to these questions inform your POV for a play segmentation based on internal and external impacts.  With these new insights teams are better informed to leverage free tools from Playbuilt to go from idea to action. Playbuilt is a GTM automation platform architected with a building block approach for creating and automating your playbooks across the entire play lifecycle.

How Playbuilt can help

Playbuilt offers downloadable tools and templates for updating or completely rethinking your GTM strategy with segmented plays using a building block approach. The GTM Playmaker Canvas from Playbuilt facilitates a collaborative brainstorming meeting with just your team or cross-functionally with multiple teams.

You can start by reading the GTM Playmaker Getting Started Guide for how and why to leverage the canvas. The guide will show you where to download a free, poster-sized canvas PDF used to collaborate in refining your POV and developing a play strategy.

Next, attend the GTM Playmakers Webinar to learn how the completed canvas and companion workbook is translated into a GTM playbook of segmented plays. You will also see how Playbuilt makes it easy to manage playbooks across the entire play lifecycle for increased sales velocity and effectiveness.


This article covered how to personalize and scale your B2B sales motion with segmented sales plays using a building block approach to playmaking.  Here is a quick recap of the steps to get started.

  1. Answer the GTM segmentation questions.
  2. Read the GTM Playmaker Getting Started Guide.
  3. Download the GTM Playmaker Canvas.
  4. Attend the GTM Playmakers Webinar.
  5. Visit Playbuilt’s Website to request Private Beta Access.

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