Oh No... It’s QBR Time Again...

Don’t be caught unprepared for your QBR! Here is a potentially more productive approach to consider.

It is possible that the Sales Quarterly Business Review generates more PowerPoint slides than any other sales process. Reps create QBRs for their sales managers, sales managers create for their sales VPs, and sales VPs for the SVP. In a larger company, the odds that there is misalignment between the rep level and SVP level is very high indeed.

At the same time, two things tend to happen in QBRs: you spend too much time on what happened in the past and not enough time about what needs to happen in the future, and secondly, they turn into yet another forecast call.

A well-disciplined QBR process should have the following characteristics:

  1. Balance between the past and the future, with contribution from support organizations such as HR, Alliances, Marketing, and Services.
  2. Significant reduction of PowerPoint, replaced by apps that not only provide answers to commonly asked questions, but also allow for quick exploration of important points without getting sidetracked.
  3. Track analysis, observations and actions for each QBR.

Let's briefly look at each of these.

Balance and Contribution

A great QBR should be roughly 20% about the past, 50% about the future, and 30% about contributor impact. The focus on the past should be a quick set of highlights on what worked and what didn't.

For the past, choose 3-7 critical metrics like revenue, # of transactions, rep attainment and so on. Ask the key questions: what's working and what's not working and why.

For the future, show your plan to achieve your numbers and include factors such as rep capacity, commit plan, pipeline and pipe source. Also, show how any issues from last quarter will be resolved.

Review the hiring plan from HR, partner enablement approach from Alliances, marketing plan, and how you are using services to build bigger deals.

Don’t dread your QBR, own it! Here's how you can lay out a killer presentation:

Elimination of PowerPoint

When you have a business analytics environment where data is always current and always trustworthy, such as the Qlik platform, you can use apps with pre-defined bookmarks (or use the storyboard capability in Qlik Sense) to answer key questions. Unlike PowerPoint, when the SVP asks a question that isn't on your slide, you can often simply adjust your filters to answer the question on the spot, instead of later...or never. Your prep work is now focused on analyzing results and trends as opposed to making sure that one chart displays nicely on a slide.

For example, a SVP might ask why one region is low on pipeline compared to the potential on the chart below. Click on that region and review deals by deal size or reps by commit % to quota. Explore on the spot to determine what action should be taken vs. waiting for additional analysis.

Track Analysis, Observations and Actions

For each team presenting, it is incredibly useful to track analysis, observations, and actions. Use a collaboration tool like Office365 or Confluence to capture this information and provide links to your apps. It not only saves a lot of time by eliminating unnecessary email, but it also allows you to re-visit progress from prior quarters.

Before the QBR, spend time on the “why.” You could ask questions such as: where were we short on revenue from either a product, rep, or regional perspective. Pipeline source is often critical. Look at transactions by deal size. Think about the questions most likely to be asked and answer them ahead of time.

During the QBR, take notes on issues, challenges and opportunities. Separately, keep an action list and ensure that they are followed up in a timely fashion.

The bulk of this article is about the process, not the technology. That's the power of using a tool like Qlik Sense. You spend much more time on better understanding your business and planning for the future instead of hours of PowerPoint, and that often translates into better business results!


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