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As you prepare for your Quarterly Business Review to recap what just happened in Q2, you already know what you’re looking to get out of the meeting and what critical metrics you will be tracking and analyzing. From a sales management perspective, you’re more than ready to begin this retrospective.

But what about your sales reps?

After all, while the QBR is about your business and sales force as a whole, it is these individual reps – and their hard work through the last three months – that got you to where you are today. The QBR should be designed to home in on each of them, ask tough questions about their performance this quarter and map out a success plan going forward.

Here’s a primer on how sales reps should think about and prepare for their QBR.

How does the sales rep benefit?

You want to start by communicating to the rep what he or she will gain from preparing for and actively participating in the QBR meeting. In essence, the QBR serves 3 purposes:

  • To help reps understand why they hit or miss their goal in Q2.

  • To create a clear plan for success going forward into next quarter and beyond.

  • To identify key learnings that could be applied to the rest of the team.

It’s not enough to just say, “You missed your number? Well, just work harder next quarter!” You need a clearly outlined plan that takes into account what happened in the past, so you can either replicate that success, or avoid that failure, going forward. It’s not enough for sales reps to just hope that the past quarter was an aberration (if they missed their number) and hope for the best next quarter.

The sales metrics that matter

The key to serving the aforementioned 3 purposes of the QBR for the rep is to dive into the right sales metrics. In preparing for their meeting with the sales manager or Sales VP, the rep should collate their performances on the following sales metrics:

  • Last quarter’s bookings: how much, in dollar value, did the rep book in Q2?

  • % of bookings quota: how much of the rep’s quota did they ultimately book? A number over 100% would be exceptional.

  • # of won deals: how many deals did the rep close?

  • Average Selling Price: what was the average price of each deal that the rep closed?

  • Sales cycle: what was the average age of each opportunity that the rep closed?

  • Win rate: of all the rep’s open opportunities at the beginning of the quarter, how many did the rep win?

  • Compare: it’s important to not only report on last quarter’s results, but also look at how these metrics are trending over time. Change in booking from period to period help give a better picture of overall growth and areas for improvement.

While going over each of these metrics with the rep, it is critical to avoid doing a deal dive into every specific winning deal or lost opportunity – this isn’t a film review. The purpose is not to get an answer on why each opportunity was won or lost, but rather for the rep to gain a better understanding of your business as a whole.

Going beyond the metrics

Once you’ve evaluated the metrics and found things that you were both happy with or identified areas that could be improved – “Your average selling prices is great, much higher than everyone else on the sales team. You clearly have a knack for selling bigger opportunities. Your sales cycle, however, is also substantially longer than everyone else’s.” – it’s time to go beyond the metrics.

First, you want to review your plan going into the quarter and then measure that against what actually happened. If one of your rep’s goals at the beginning of the quarter was to close 3 large, enterprise-level deals and he only managed to win 2, it’s on them to figure out why they missed that specific goal. Was it a pipeline issue, i.e. there weren’t enough big opportunities to work on? Or did the rep let a bunch of great enterprise-level opportunities slip through their fingers?

The next step is to start outlining specific goals for the upcoming quarter. The key here is to avoid generalities. Urge the rep to make specific goals, either around a handful of big opportunities that the rep is focused on closing, or on broader issues, like improving certain skills or driving down their overall sales cycle.

Finally, focus on important learnings from the previous quarter that should be applied to the next quarter and beyond. Does this rep need a higher pipeline-to-quota ratio than initially thought? Could a greater emphasis on driving upsells of other products help this rep make his quota next quarter? Lessons that aren’t applied and learned from going forward are wasted opportunities for the rep – and the team – to get better.

The QBR meeting should always be considered from the perspective of how you can help your reps do a better job of repeating a great performance or improving on a weak one next quarter. Help your reps prepare for their QBR using this primer.

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