How to run a productive sales QBR

By Graham Collins • March, 2023 • 5 mins

A sales QBR isn’t just another meeting. These crucial sit-downs are often the starting point for major quarterly gains. From addressing urgent issues to strategizing ways and driving revenue, a QBR in sales can uncover crucial insights that help strengthen the entire team.

Not, sales QBRs differ from customer QBRs led by account management. For information on those types of QBRs, check out ScalePad’s 2023 State of the QBR Report.)

Here’s a look at sales QBRs and some tips on how to make the most of these invaluable reviews.

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What is a QBR in sales?

“QBR” stands for quarterly business review. This practice is essentially a chance to dig deep into everything that happened over the last quarter and plan for the next one. Unlike an account management QBR, which is done with the client present, a sales QBR is between a sales manager and a salesperson.

In many ways, a QBR is like a strategy session and performance review rolled into one. Think of it more like a discussion than a critique, though. It’s an opportunity for the salesperson to showcase key skills and discuss their plan to meet quotas and propel the team toward company goals. For the manager, a QBR offers insight into an individual rep’s thought process. It’s also a forum for praise, constructive criticism and other bits of actionable advice.

The centerpiece of a sales QBR is the presentation by the rep. These presentations can take many forms, but most include some of the following:

  • Recent sales reports
  • Forecasting for the next quarter (and sometimes beyond)
  • A look at the big picture, including how an individual rep’s numbers play into the company’s objectives

It’s often helpful to use a sales QBR template. This ensures you don’t miss anything while also staying focused on the review’s primary mission.

Why is it important to run a sales QBR?

Sales departments are big on feedback. Weekly one-on-ones are important but often briefer and less in-depth than a quarterly business review. Running a sales QBR allows you to look at and plan for big-picture tasks. This could include:

  • Setting promotional guidelines
  • Determining and strategizing for longer-term goals
  • Giving higher-level feedback that can help not just with current projects but with overall growth and advancement

What to discuss during your QBR

A successful sales QBR starts with a plan. Here are a few expert suggestions for things to discuss. As a rep, this list will help you make your case. As a sales manager, you’ll have the right materials on hand to make a fair and balanced evaluation.

The previous quarter’s sales metrics

Gather your sales figures from the last quarter. We’re talking hard and fast numbers like:

You’ll be looking at the numbers on their own, but more importantly, you’ll be comparing them to the numbers from previous quarters.

Last quarter’s goals

If you’ve just joined the company or are having your first QBR for another reason, skip this. If you’re on at least your second QBR, you’ll be reviewing what your goals were for the previous quarter.

For sales managers, this is an opportunity to analyze performance and see how the rep is learning from mistakes and scaling their successes.

  • How did the rep do overall?
  • Where did they excel, and where did they fail?
  • Are you happy with the status quo, or is there still work to be done?
  • What should be the rep’s goal for the following quarter?

Goals for the upcoming quarter

You can’t live in the past, but you can use it to plan the future. A big part of QBRs in sales is constructing a plan of attack for the next quarter. Start with three to five realistic but reasonably lofty goals. It’s good to push your rep or, if you’re the rep, push yourself. But remember that setting the bar too high can be defeating even before the quarter gets underway.

As you outline goals, make sure half of them are sales specific. This could include objectives like hitting a sales quota or increasing the number of qualified leads. It could even be as simple as making a certain amount of money. The other half of the goals should involve soft skills that will make the rep a better salesperson or employee. Some examples include:

  • Leading five-team training sessions
  • Contributing to interviews
  • Acting as a mentor to new employees
  • Working with marketing to build a competitive intel document

What’s the best time to run a QBR?

As the name suggests, quarterly business reviews are done four times a year. But it’s also important when a QBR is performed during the quarter.

Prevailing wisdom says to run the QBR as early in the quarter as possible. Try to run your sales QBR within the first 2 weeks of the quarter. That way, the previous quarter is top of mind, and it’s easy to remember what happened, what lead up to notable highs and lows, and other pertinent details. It’s also the ideal time to focus on goals for the next quarter. There’s time to design a strategy and lay the groundwork for new levels of success.

What tools can I use for a QBR?

For a QBR to be effective, you need a lot of data. To collect and analyze that data efficiently, you need some help. An expertly crafted QBR blueprint will help you plan for a review that’s thorough yet focused.

For help tracking quota attainment (and commission), use QuotaPath. More sales, fewer spreadsheets, and a way to handle tricky calculations without resorting to a single spreadsheet. For more information on setting up QuotaPath before it’s time for your next round of QBRs, create your workspace today.

Updated on March, 2023

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