How to Elevate and Streamline Your Sales QBRs for More Impactful Results
Imagine you're a sales leader preparing for your team's QBR after a tough quarter.
Your team didn't hit their numbers and you know they've been crafting their stories explaining why. Your team comes into the meeting, outfitted with decks they spent hours building–time they would have rather been focused on selling–you can't help but feel frustrated.
You’re feeling the pressure to make a strong case for the upcoming quarter. Your ELT has high expectations for your forecast. You know the current process isn’t working but don't know how to help your team be more efficient and strategic in these reviews. You want to spend the review collaborating with your team and coming up with concrete, data-driven ideas on how to hit your revenue goals. So how do we do this??
Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) are a common ritual for sales teams as they seek to reflect on past performance and strategize for the future. However, traditional QBRs often suffer from two key problems: they require a significant amount of preparation time and effort, and they tend to lack actionable outcomes.
In this blog post, we will share how we transformed our QBR process by implementing a turnkey template that streamlines preparation and drives more meaningful discussions and results. It’s time to elevate your QBRs and start gaining ground.
Before we dive into the solution, let's address the pain points associated with traditional QBRs. These challenges are likely all too familiar to sales leaders, salespeople, and Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) alike:
Preparing for a QBR typically involves pulling data from multiple sources, building presentation decks, and manually creating organizational maps. This process is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors and inconsistencies. By the time you finish preparing everything, the data may already be outdated.
Many QBRs end up being mere reflection exercises rather than catalysts for action. While it's essential to discuss trends, highlights/lowlights, and lessons learned from the previous quarter, these conversations often lack follow-up actions that drive tangible results in the future.
Now, let’s dive into the framework of running actionable QBRs with your sales team.
To avoid the traps above and ensure your QBRs deliver maximum value in less time, implement a turnkey QBR template with two distinct parts: Lookback and Look Forward.
Each part consists of three sections that provide comprehensive insights into past performance while setting clear goals for the upcoming quarter.
The Lookback section focuses on reflecting on the past quarter's performance and identifying areas for improvement. About 20% of your time should be focused on these three topics.
Start by aligning your sales reps’ topline numbers as a baseline. Numbers don't lie and serve as a powerful tool to showcase both successes and challenges. Salespeople are natural storytellers, make sure to coach your reps to focus on the data and not “selling” their numbers.
The primary goal of this subsection is to encourage your reps to reflect on their recent performance. They should come with these reflections ready to share and explore and the sales leader should have read these ahead of time.
Identify and discuss:
Now, shift the focus from outcome-driven metrics to leading indicators of success.
Highlight key activities that contributed to achieving or missing targets for the last quarter. This could include metrics such as the number of discovery meetings, or meetings with prospects, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of your team's efforts.
For example, a rep had a lot of discovery meetings last quarter, but that activity only led to a few qualification meetings. You would want to find out more about their discovery meeting process. Why is there a low conversion and what adjustments can we make?
During this part of the conversation, you are evaluating if reps are spending their time in the right places. Are they having a lot of meetings with one account, or many? Are they all with the same person or are they going high, wide, and deep within the account? Are they just doing activities or doing activities with purpose?
Use your leading indicators as a starting point. Some might include:
Moving beyond simple engagement numbers, this part of the QBR delves deeper into understanding who was engaged in the previous quarter.
Analyze not only the total number of people but also their roles and titles within organizations. A good way to do this is segmenting engagement data by persona (Executives, Marketing, Operations) to gain a comprehensive understanding of your team's reach.
Questions for your reps:
The Look Forward section is where you should spend most of your time during QBRs–about 80%—strategizing for the future and setting clear objectives for the upcoming quarter.
It consists of three sections that drive actionable outcomes:
Here, shift your attention towards target accounts and dive deep into specific details. Provide comprehensive information about high-priority prospects, including their industry, pain points, potential deal size, and any other relevant insights that can help guide strategic decision-making.
What is the engagement on target accounts?
Are we talking with people high, wide, and deep within the accounts?
Forecasting plays a crucial role in sales planning and resource allocation. Discuss the forecasted numbers for the next quarter and explore what they mean for your team's overall performance. Encourage open dialogue by asking thought-provoking questions and offering observations that prompt critical thinking and analysis.
Do the activities they showed early align with what they have committed?
What are your leading indicators for future quarters? Are they applying the lessons learned?
“[In QBRs], the combinations of ‘happy ears,’ rose-colored glasses and sandbagging efforts forces managers to qualify the accuracy of rep forecasts.” – John McMahon, The Qualified Sales Leader
To ensure your team continues to improve, conduct a deep dive into certain deals using a standardized sales methodology analysis framework such as MEDDPICC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion, Competition). By examining these elements in detail, you can identify areas of strength and weakness within your team's approach.
Of the deals coming this quarter, where are we with the qualification scores of those opportunities?
At People.ai, we use MEDDPICC. When we see no pain or no champion, we know that is something we need to explore, find out why, and make a plan.
“No pain. no champion, no deal.”
Level up your QBRs and leave behind the laborious data-pulling exercises of the past. By adopting a turnkey template that automates key statistics while facilitating meaningful conversations, you can transform your QBRs into powerful tools for driving action and achieving sales success. Lead your team beyond the date of the QBR by setting clear objectives and empowering them to take decisive actions that fuel growth.
With a well-structured Sales QBR template in place, you can streamline preparation efforts and derive actionable outcomes from each review session.
To truly scale your reps' ability to efficiently prepare for QBRs and surface actionable insights, you need to invest in an AI-powered data analysis and insights tool that will automate activity capture and work within your current CRM.
Using this approach to run faster, more actionable QBRs will not only empower your sales team but also give them more time to put their plans into action and drive revenue (and less time preparing QBR decks).