Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at DemandFarm
Introduction to the QBR Playbook
The QBR (Quarterly Business Review) Playbook for Sales and Account Management Leaders is a comprehensive guide. It can be used to conduct regular performance interviews and analyze results to drive sales and account management success.
The QBR process is designed to provide a structured approach to evaluate and improve the performance of sales and account management teams on a regular basis. By conducting regular reviews, leaders can stay abreast of industry trends, customer feedback and other relevant data that impacts the performance of their teams.
The QBR process helps leaders identify areas of improvement, set measurable goals and create action plans to achieve them. This then helps teams improve their performance continuously and ensure that the whole organization is moving towards achieving its sales and revenue targets.
The QBR process is an opportunity for leaders to gain insight into the effectiveness of their sales and account management strategies and make necessary adjustments. It involves:
- Review and Analysis
- Communication and Presentation
- Action Planning
- Follow Up and Tracking
As with all other successful processes, preparation is an important part of the QBR process. It sets the foundation for a successful review. To prepare for a QBR, leaders should consider a systematic approach that includes several key areas.
The first step at this stage is goal-setting. These goals must align with the overall objectives of the organization and the sales and account management teams. Setting clear goals will help leaders focus their efforts and determine the key areas to be reviewed during the business review.
Leaders should then identify key stakeholders to be included in the QBR process. This could include senior management, sales and account management teams, and other relevant departments. Identifying key stakeholders allows leaders to tailor the review process to the specific needs and expectations of each group. There is awareness among those involved in the review process and they can prepare accordingly.
The next step is to gather the data and information to be reviewed – including sales data, industry trends and customer feedback. Collecting and analyzing data is a crucial step in the preparation process because it helps identify the issues and areas to be addressed. It also helps leaders track progress and evaluate the effectiveness of sales and account management strategies. Care must be taken that the data gathered is accurate and as up-to-date as possible. The relevance of the data will affect the effectiveness of the review.
Finally, an agenda must be created including specific topics and questions to be addressed. The agenda must be shared with all key stakeholders invited to attend the QBR to allow them to prepare accordingly. The agenda should cover all the key areas of the review process. A review of the goals and progress, data and information analysis, discussions around any issues or areas that need to be addressed – are all key areas to be addressed.
Review and Analysis:
At this stage of the QBR process leaders evaluate the performance of their sales and account management teams, identify areas of improvement and develop strategies for improvement. At this stage, leaders gain insight into the effectiveness of their sales and account management strategies and make necessary adjustments.
To start, leaders should focus on key metrics and KPIs that are relevant to the performance of their sales and account management teams. These metrics and KPIs should align with the goals of the organization and the sales and account management teams. Some metrics and KPIs that need focus are revenue, customer acquisition and retention, sales pipeline metrics, and performance evaluations of team members.
Analysis of the quantitative data can give leaders a better picture of the performance of their teams. When qualitative data is analyzed it allows insight into areas like customer experience and the performance of individuals in the team. This allows leaders to plan how customer experience can be improved and what training and development support can be offered to teams.
When the review and analysis stage is complete, it’s time to develop strategies for improvement. These should always be based on the data and information collected. While ensuring that these are aligned with organizational goals and the goals of the sales and account management teams, they must also take into account any industry trends, customer feedback, and other relevant data that may impact the performance of the sales and account management teams.
Communication and Presentation:
At this stage, leaders share the results of the review and analysis stage with key stakeholders. Effective communication and presentation of QBR results are key to gaining buy-in and support from key stakeholders. When the findings are presented, successes and opportunities for improvement can be identified, and specific recommendations for addressing any issues can be provided.
Leaders must take care to avoid jargon and use clear, concise language that is easy to understand. Using visual aids such as charts and graphs can also help leaders effectively communicate and present data and analysis. Visual aids provide a clear and concise representation of data making it easier for stakeholders to visualise, understand and interpret.
It is important, at this stage to highlight successes and opportunities. These are the positive aspects derived from the previous stage and add an optimistic outlook to the business review. A thorough review and analysis stage will also highlight areas to be addressed. This could involve current concerns or future challenges. Addressing these proactively indicates a willingness to work on possible solutions that may even circumvent the anticipated problems.
Another aspect, that leaders may want to consider is delivery. Irrespective of the duration of the meeting, you will need it to be engaging. One way of doing this is to solicit participation through questions and conversation. Asking open-ended questions could throw up suggestions, opinions and feedback that you have otherwise not received. Another way to increase participation is to listen attentively. The feedback and opinions may not always be what you’re expecting. But being defensive may put the speaker on the back foot and they may hesitate to give open and honest feedback.
Leaders should provide specific recommendations for issues identified during the QBR. These recommendations should preferably be based on the data and information gathered and should always align with top-line goals and those of the sales and account management teams. This shows that the reviews are taken seriously and aren’t just being treated as a formality.
Don’t be too worried if you’re not able to answer all questions right away. You’re not expected to. Even with all the preparation and analysis expect some knowledge gaps. The important thing is for the issues and challenges to be acknowledged and for trust to be built that they will be addressed.
Here’s where leaders develop and implement plans to address issues identified and goals set during the preparation stage. At this stage, leaders can also convert the insights and recommendations from the review and analysis stage into tangible actions.
To begin the action planning stage, leaders should develop goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T). Specific goals are clear and easy to understand. Measurable goals have clear metrics to track progress. Attainable goals are realistic and achievable. Relevant goals align with the overall organizational objectives and time-bound goals have a specific completion deadline. This helps ensure that the action plans developed are focused and that progress can be tracked over time.
It is equally important to establish timelines for implementation and define clear roles and responsibilities for team members. Thus team members are aware of their responsibilities and can be held accountable. It also ensures that all aspects of the action plans are covered and that there is no overlap or duplication of effort.
To help and support sales and account management teams continuously improve their performance, it’s important to amplify and replicate what’s working and minimise what’s not. Thus, plans must be developed to sustain and build on any successes identified during the review. This ensures that the organization is moving towards achieving its sales and revenue targets.
Potential roadblocks or obstacles that may arise during implementation of the action plans must not be ignored. Leaders should anticipate and plan for any potential challenges and develop contingency plans to address them. Action plans can therefore be executed smoothly and any issues that arise can be addressed promptly.
For increased credibility and to build trust, goals set during this stage must be achieved. Leaders should thus establish a system for tracking progress and following up on action plans. This could include regular check-ins with team members, monitoring key metrics and reviewing customer feedback. In addition, leaders should also evaluate the effectiveness of the action plans, making the necessary adjustments to ensure that improvements are sustained over time.
Follow Up and Tracking:
As previously discussed, the goals set during the QBR must be achieved. This stage of the process enables leaders to keep track of developments, track and measure outcomes and make any necessary adjustments for sustainable progress and achievements.
The first step is to establish a system for monitoring progress and following up on action plans. One key component here should be regular check-ins with team members. these check-ins should be scheduled at regular intervals. They should involve a review of the progress made and also a discussion on the challenges and issues that may have come up. Solutions and alternatives must be discussed. This allows leaders to stay updated and provide support and guidance, as needed. Team members also feel encouraged and empowered.
Key metrics need to be monitored. These metrics should align with the goals set during the QBR and should be selected based on specific issues identified during the review and analysis stage. Keeping track of these metrics allows leaders to track the progress made toward achieving the goals set. It is also possible to adjust action plans based on the results seen.
Customer feedback can be collected in various ways like customer surveys, social media reviews, one-on-one calls and so on. Reviewing customer feedback can provide valuable insight into the customer experience, and can help leaders identify any issues or areas that need to be addressed. It also helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the action plans.
If changes are implemented based on customer feedback, new feedback can be collected and compared to the previous feedback received to analyse the impact of changes made.
Bonus! Resources To Help Streamline Your QBR Process
There are plenty of tools and account management software available to help Sales and Account Management Leaders plan more effective, efficient and productive QBRs. Demand Farm’s Account Planner software makes Key Account Management incredibly simple. Grandstand is an Executive Summary Dashboard specifically designed for Sales and Account Management Leaders who handle multiple accounts. Users can view key performance indicators (KPIs) at one glance. This helps them identify the accounts that are performing well and single out those that need more attention. Thus, users can focus their efforts more effectively.
This dashboard reveals details of:
Revenue: The KPIs here help you assess the current revenue situations (deals and potential sales)
Revenue Forecast: A visual of historical trends with the option to test different possibilities to forecast projected income
Target Achievement: An overview of how each individual account is performing in relation to the goals set
Opportunities: A tally of the number and value of all open and completed potential sales
Whitespaces: An analysis and view of the progress made on untapped markets and identification of areas with the most growth potential
Relationships: A breakdown of the potential revenue for opportunities or deals where key contacts have been identified versus those where they haven’t yet been identified.
In addition, you can request for detailed reports, use filters for the exact data or information you need, even investigate and analyze each section in depth – for detailed KPIs and business trends.
What to Takeaway?
The QBR (Quarterly Business Review) Playbook for Sales and Account Management Leaders is a comprehensive guide for conducting regular performance reviews and analyzing the results to drive sales and account management success. The QBR process allows leaders to evaluate the performance of their teams, identify opportunities for improvement and growth, set measurable goals, and develop and implement action plans to achieve those goals.
The QBR process is designed to provide a structured approach to evaluating and improving the performance of sales and account management teams on a regular basis. By conducting regular reviews, leaders can stay abreast of industry trends, customer feedback and other relevant data that impacts the performance of their teams.
The process includes thorough preparation, detailed review and analysis, effective and engaging communication and presentation, action planning, and follow-up and tracking. All these stages are equally important to ensuring an effective and productive QBR.
The QBR presents sales and account management leaders with an opportunity to test the effectiveness of the strategies and make the necessary adjustments. It is an extremely powerful tool that helps teams continuously improve their performance and ensures that the whole organization is moving in the direction of growth, success and achievement.