3 Essential Components to any Successful QBR

The end of the quarter is nigh. As your team winds down and prepares to close the loop on any open opportunities in pursuit of your quarterly goal, it’s time for you, the Sales VP, to shift your glance toward another priority:

The quarterly business review (QBR).

Even though the quarter isn’t officially over, Sales VPs need the kind of forward-thinking mentality that takes a look at what just happened to account for what is to come. That’s the QBR in a nutshell – an analysis of last quarter’s sales results to place it in perspective of your broader company goals, for the year and beyond.

Much of the work that goes into a successful QBR meeting takes place before the actual meeting itself. Pulling together the right sales performance metrics, reviewing individual performances and making sure you have all the reports you need are some of the tasks you have to accomplish. Just as important is putting yourself in the right state of mind for the QBR meeting itself.

To that end, here are 3 essential components to any successful QBR that Sales VPs need to get right for the meeting.

Build and Maintain Confidence

Despite your best efforts to put a positive spin on things, not all the news and results you report at the QBR will be good news – this is the inevitable nature of running a sales team. Even if you hit your quarterly goal, there might still be some loose ends that weren’t tied up or taken care of as neatly as you would like.

Through all the bad news, it is important as a sales leader to maintain an optimistic tone and perspective. This requirement is essential for both your direct reports and the important stakeholders you report to. You want your reps to continue to have faith in you and the rest of the team to succeed. Similarly, you want your CEO and Board of Directors to have faith in your ability to lead, drive growth, increase revenue and hit goals.

Stress the Importance of Open Dialogue

While it’s true that much of the presentation and communication at the QBR will come directly from you, this doesn’t mean you should dominate the whole conversation. Encouraging open dialogue at all levels sets the right tone for the QBR meeting – it’s not about assigning blame and pointing fingers, but rather about figuring out where shortcomings are and how to overcome them together.

Create a sense of community, where people both below and above you can confidently come to you with suggestions for how things could be done better. On your end, ask probing questions and encourage new opinions, even if they might be controversial or go against the grain. The future of your team is at stake, so everyone involved should have some say on where this future is headed.

Everything Connects Back to Sales Performance Metrics

It’s all about the data. That’s where your QBR should start and end. A QBR cannot be successful if it relies solely on anecdotal evidence, third-party observation and unsubstantiated intuition. In going through your data, some hard-hitting questions to ask include:

  • Did we hit collectively hit our number? (A natural place to start).

  • If we didn’t hit our number, was it a pipeline issue? Did marketing not contribute enough? Were most of the opportunities poor or unqualified ones?

  • If it wasn’t a pipeline issue, is it because sales dropped the ball? Were our reps ill-prepared to sell to the best of their abilities? Do we need to spend more time on sales coaching?

  • Who were our best reps? Who were our weakest? What can we do to maintain our best performers and prop up those that need more help?

  • How does our sales cycle compare to the previous quarter? What can we do to shorten this?

sales cycle compare


  • Were our goals realistic for last quarter? How about this quarter? Do we need more resources to hit our goals?

By presenting your findings and review through the lens of these – and more! – sales performance metrics, your assertions will be infallible. The Board of Directors will gain more visibility into your sales team than ever before, allowing them to make more rational decisions that are steeped in data.

It is especially critical to frame all goals around data. When setting new goals for the upcoming quarter, last quarter’s – and the previous quarters preceding that – should be taken into account. Only by melding historical performance with current resources can you chart a course that your team actually has a realistic chance of following.

The QBR is a great time and place to close the page on one chapter and prepare yourself to read the next. By framing everything around the right sales performance metrics, creating an open dialogue and maintaining a sense of optimism, you will be well-positioned to have a successful QBR that leads into a successful upcoming quarter.

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