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Conducting Sales QBRs: A Guide for Sales Managers

Feb 29, 2024
6 min read

The Quarterly Business Review (QBR) is an invaluable tool for sales managers. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the performance of the last quarter, get insights into what went well and what didn’t, and consider how to do even better over the coming months.

But what should you be examining in the QBR, and how can you get the maximum value from it? We discuss those questions and more in this QBR guide.

What Is a QBR in Sales?

The sales QBR is a quarterly presentation in which sales reps and managers have the chance to examine their previous quarter's performance and discuss the good, and the bad, with their supervisors. It's an important review meeting that can help you and your team get some actionable insights you can use to improve your performance in the next quarter.

The sales QBR is just one of the reviews your organization might use. Many organizations also have customer success quarterly business reviews, which are conducted with customers instead of management. This customer review allows you to meet with those customers, talk about how you've helped their business, and discuss how to ensure the solutions you're providing suit their business needs.

In contrast, the sales QBR is designed to give the Sales team a chance to highlight how it's performing, address any performance challenges, and identify how to augment those highs and address low points. Information gleaned from the QBR may be used for future sales forecasting and incentive compensation.

How to Conduct Your QBR for Sales

The goal of a sales QBR is to see how your Sales team is performing, whether it's managing to achieve its goals, and what team members need to focus on over the next quarter. A good sales QBR considers several key performance indicators (KPI) and provide an opportunity for reflection as well as forward planning.

Step 1: Examine important KPIs

A good starting point for a quarterly business review is your KPIs. KPIs are the metrics you rely on to decide if your business is going in the right direction. The QBR metrics your organization uses can have an effect in the business across the board. You may be relying on certain KPIs to determine bonuses for your staff or as part of your sales planning. The QBR is a chance to examine KPIs, such as total sales, time to conversion, churn rates, and cost per acquisition, to determine whether your team is performing well.

Step 2: Reflect on the team's performance

Take this chance to reflect on the performance of the team. Rather than treating the meeting as a tick-box exercise, examine each KPI in turn. For those that the team members met, how did they do it? Was there anything notable about the performance? For those that they missed, what were the challenges the team faced?

Is there anything you noticed that doesn't appear to fit into an existing KPI? Team members who are out there in the field often see trends or issues that don't always show up on a graph or spreadsheet. The QBR is a golden opportunity to express concerns, give feedback, and consider those trends.

Step 3: Leverage data to drive decisions

Armed with the information presented at the start of the meeting, you now have a chance to consider how to build on strong performances and address challenges. Do you need to adjust your targets for the next quarter? Is there anything management can do to make it easier for you to meet your targets, or if you're already meeting them, do even better next time around?

If your team is struggling to meet its targets, what help does it need? What is it that's holding team members back?

Step 4: Look to the future

The goal of the QBR isn't just to look at what happened in the past; it's to plan for the future. Each meeting should end with you having an idea of what you want to achieve in the next quarter and how you can make that happen. Ask questions such as:

  • How can we improve on our weak areas?
  • What are our goals for the next quarter?
  • Is there anything we can do to drive continued revenue growth?
  • What support does the Sales team need?

You should leave the meeting with an action plan you can use to improve your team's performance over the next quarter.

Why Should Sales Teams Conduct Business Reviews?

The sales QBR is an opportunity for your team to grow its performance and improve its productivity. It allows the team to both give and get constructive feedback. You can use the QBR in several ways.

Highlight opportunities and challenges

The QBR is a chance for team members to discuss their work, identify new growth opportunities, and get help with the things they find challenging. This gives the team access to the support it needs to maximize performance and helps management drive winning behaviors from the Sales team.

Inform Your sales team's forecasts and plans

Sales forecasting can't be done in an information vacuum, at least not if you want the forecasts to have any resemblance to reality. Giving managers and Sales team members a chance to meet and address issues face-to-face ensures managers and team leaders have accurate information about the environment the Sales team is working in.

Support your team members

Your Sales team can use the QBR as a chance to get support. For example, if a major deal was lost, the QBR is an opportunity for the team to discuss this and see if there's anything that could have prevented the loss of the deal. Discuss what went wrong, anything the prospect said that might be valuable for future sales deals, and what the team as a whole can do to reduce the risk of other deals being lost.

The QBR is not a disciplinary meeting or a time to single out individual team members. Rather, it's an opportunity for coaching for those present as a group.

Using Sales Metrics to Make Data-Driven Decisions

Quarterly business reviews are data-driven events. They're the perfect time to pull out reports from your CRM system and to compare your performance to any sales forecasting you did for that quarter.

Exactly which metrics you use in your review will depend on your organization's goals. Try not to bombard those present with a long list of KPIs that lack context. A good presentation tells a story and highlights how each of the figures is relevant to the long-term goals of the organization.

One effective approach is to pick out a few KPIs that are the most relevant to your team's successes and challenges and highlight those in the presentation to tell the overall story of how the last quarter went for your team.

Be prepared to answer more detailed questions and have other KPIs ready in case you're asked about them, but don't get too bogged down in minor details. If your managers want to know specifics about how the team is operating, be prepared to give details.

In most cases, the QBR is a short meeting, so you may find your managers have questions that will need to be addressed later, either in a more detailed report or a second, smaller meeting. If you have more detailed reports ready to go, your managers can use those reports to drive future decision-making.

How Xactly Supports Sales Business Reviews

At Xactly, we provide several tools for sales planning and forecasting, as well as compensation management. These tools can be combined to provide easy access to all the data you need to create reports for your quarterly business reviews and to extract actionable insights from that data.

Xactly's tools offer easy integration with popular CRM, ERP, and HRIS systems, ensuring you always have the latest information at your fingertips when you're engaged in your sales management work. With AI automation options and powerful forecasting tools, we can streamline your workflows and help you and your Sales team work smarter and more effectively.

If you'd like to know more about how we can help you make the most of your quarterly business reviews with our market-leading sales solutions, contact us today to request a product demo.

  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
  • Sales Performance Management
  • Sales Planning
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Xactly News Team

The Xactly News Team reports on the latest product, events and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.