Perspective is everything when assessing your sales performance, especially during unprecedented times. While it’s important to keep your focus ahead, it is equally important to reflect on past results to better evaluate where you are headed.
As we enter Quarterly Business Review (QBR) season, it’s likely you will be conducting the meetings virtually. And while a change from the norm, your QBR remains a critical opportunity to review, assess and coach for the months ahead.
Make the Data Count
Given the current sales climate, having complete visibility into where your reps require support to progress opportunities is critical. Focus should be prioritized on opportunities with the highest likelihood to close, and strategies for closing those deals sooner when possible. Thorough collection of activity data must be completed in time for your QBR – the result being less time spent asking reps what they’ve been doing, and more time spent looking ahead.
In preparing the reports you’ll use, ensure that metrics established by stakeholders deliver a holistic view of company performance — effectively guiding the conversation and tone of the meeting. We recommend focusing more time on leading indicators such as upcoming meetings, scheduled demos, and engagement cadence rather than lagging indicators.
With the agreed upon KPIs, the first step is to institute a dashboard that can serve as a common language for every stakeholder, as well as a common viewpoint outside of team meetings. At any point in time, stakeholders should have the answers to critical questions such as:
- Is revenue growing steadily?
- Are all teams aligned with the strategic growth initiatives?
- Do we need to make any adjustments in our go-to-market plan?
- Are my reps focused on the right activities to progress their opportunities?
Stick to the Plan
To make the most of every QBR, prepare and follow a detailed agenda. An example of an hour-long QBR looks something like this:
- 0:00-0:05: High-level review of results
- 0:05-0:20: Team/product performance deep dive: Why did we win, lose, push or pull in opportunities?
- 0:20-0:35: How accurate was our forecast and why?
- 0:35-0:55: How will we apply these findings in the upcoming quarter? Are we focused on the right deals?
- 0:55-1:00: Actions for every first-line manager
Start your QBR by focusing on last quarter’s performance. Walk everyone through a snapshot of your quarterly dashboard including items like bookings versus goal, average deal size, win rate, sales cycle and rep quota attainment. This sets the tone for talking points later on.
Examining the “Why”
Depending on your core metrics, consider breaking them down further by opportunity type, product family or something else of value. As you get deeper into the meeting, you can dive deeper into these more granular metrics.
If an opportunity was pushed out of the quarter, how far out did it push? How many times did it push? Did opportunities in a specific stage tend to push more than other stages? What opportunities did we pull in? Does our team have a clear understanding of when opportunities are likely to close?
Wins and losses are all part of sales, but those who understand the why behind them have the upper hand. Spend a few minutes analyzing commonalities between wins and losses to identify the catalysts for each result.
Hit or Miss
You have arrived at the moment of truth. Did your team hit its forecasted number? Your answer will help you identify trends in accuracy and pinpoint areas of improvement in the GTM strategy. Are our reps overpromising and under-delivering? Who are the culprits? On the flip-side, who is right on target?
Don’t let the past dictate your future. In sales, patterns typically repeat. It’s critical to get ahead of future quarters by taking those learnings and applying them to your current opportunities. If deals in specific stages pushed more often than others, what guardrails can you put in place to proactively get ahead? How can you empower managers to coach reps as their deals are approaching that stage? The sooner you have these insights, the sooner key stakeholders can make the necessary adjustments.
QBRs are an essential part of your company’s meeting cadence, but need thorough planning and structure to yield the best results — especially in a virtual environment. If you ground these meetings on hard data and strategic growth initiatives, you will quickly reap the rewards.