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  • Writer's pictureAlex Handsaker

How to run a Sales QBR

The Quarterly Business Review (QBR) remains a pretty important tool to revenue teams, serving as a platform where sales teams, management, and other stakeholders gather to evaluate the past quarter's performance, establish future goals, and strategize for the upcoming quarter.

Whilst not a new concept, a lot of revenue has evolved around the QBR, and there's opportunity for evolution. We look at how to conduct successful QBRs, improve sales planning and, ultimately, boost your revenue.

Understanding the Significance of QBRs

QBRs are still a backbone of strategic sales planning, akin to instant replays in a football game. Just as coaches, referees, and spectators dissect each play, your sales team should dissect every sales metric, deal, and strategy from the previous quarter. This exercise provides an opportunity to gain valuable insights, identify areas for improvement, and strategize for the future.

In essence, a QBR is a moment of truth for the sales team. It's a time to reflect on what worked, what didn't, and how to improve moving forward. It's also the perfect platform to reconnect with your team, share insights, and gain a collective understanding of the individual and overall team performance.

The Need for a QBR Overhaul

Despite their potential, QBRs often fail to drive their potential to improve revenue. The problem lies not in the concept of QBRs, but in their execution. Many sales teams merely go through the motions during these meetings, presenting their sales reports and performance in the best light, even if it means bending the truth.

To maximize the benefits of QBRs, there's a need for a new approach—one that encourages cross-functional participation, focuses on collective success, and prioritizes customer-centricity.

Adopting a New Approach to QBRs: Four Key Principles

A successful QBR is built on four key principles: cross-functional participation, a shared goal of success, a learning culture, and customer-centricity.

1. Encouraging Cross-Functional Leadership

Sales leaders and reps aren't the only ones responsible for hitting revenue goals. Marketing, customer success, and sales operations teams also play crucial roles. Therefore, leaders from all these teams should participate in the sales QBRs, bringing their insights and accountability to the table.

2. Fostering a Culture of Success

When team members focus on collective success rather than individual achievements, they're more likely to engage in open and honest discussions. The QBR should reinforce the idea that each rep is the CEO of their territory, thereby encouraging individual success as well.

3. Cultivating a Learning Mindset

Every QBR is unique and presents an opportunity for learning. By focusing on key learnings, you can turn mistakes into lessons and encourage peer-to-peer coaching, thereby building a strong culture of growth.

4. Keeping the Customer at the Core

Even though the focus of the QBR is sales, the discussion should revolve around what's best for the customer. This approach reinforces the big picture and common goals, ultimately driving success for the company.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an Effective QBR

A successful QBR involves systematic planning and execution. Here's a five-step framework to follow.

Step 1: Begin with the Big Picture

Start by reviewing the key performance indicators (KPIs) of past, current, and future quarters. Encourage participants to identify trends and common struggles.

Step 2: Review the Previous Quarter

Dive deeper into the previous quarter's performance. Ask probing questions to understand what happened and why. Encourage transparency and collaboration to uncover problems and identify solutions.

Step 3: Assess the Current Quarter and Identify Opportunities

Use the insights gained from the previous step to evaluate the current quarter. Look at the volume, mix, health, timing, and prioritization of your sales pipeline. Seek input from other teams as well.

Step 4: Develop a Plan for the Next Quarter

Focus on the next 90 days and devise a plan to turn commits into deals. Emphasize the importance of methodology and sales process rigor in the upcoming quarter. Set specific goals and hold your team accountable.

Step 5: Monitor Key Sales Metrics

Focus on the metrics that matter most. These could include attainment, closed deals/win rate, slipped deals, average sales cycle, and sales linearity for the past, present, and future.

The Free QBR Template

Often overcomplicated we've built a handy Free QBR Template to get you going. No strings attached, simply download the sheet and get QBRing

Proactive Business Monitoring

Here's the catch - With so much access to live data, it feels a little redundant to be reviewing what happened months ago, when we can already watch the events unfold.

Are you really going to wait for the car to crash, or pause when you see the tire deflating?

This is why we feel that whilst still an important motion, there's far more important ones for leaders to develop, that at the moment are missing from their armoury.

Planning might feel like an end of year activity, but sales capacity planning software like Clevenue can shake up the way you approach not only planning, but active business monitoring.

Your QBRs are based around your track compared to business objectives - Ultimately the most important one is revenue, alongside sales performance towards targets (provided your churn is under control!). Not possible previously, hence the periodic review, it's now possible to constantly review your track towards targets. Not just closed revenue, but where you're set to land for the next 18 months.

QBRs should be both forward and backwards looking, and by leveraging sales capacity planning software, sales leaders can focus more on strategy and less on number crunching.

This, in turn, can lead to more productive QBRs and improved sales performance.


A well-executed QBR can be a game-changer for your sales team, providing an opportunity to reflect on past performance, learn from mistakes, and plan for the future. By adopting a new approach to QBRs and leveraging technology, you can maximize the benefits of these critical meetings and drive sales growth.


Q: What is the Quarterly Business Review (QBR) and its significance for revenue teams?

A: The QBR is a crucial platform for sales teams, management, and stakeholders to assess past performance, set future goals, and strategize for the upcoming quarter. It serves as a moment of reflection, insights, and collective understanding of team and individual performance.

Q: Why is there a need for an overhaul of the QBR process?

A: Despite its potential, QBRs often fail to achieve their intended impact on revenue improvement. The issue lies in execution, with many teams merely presenting reports without delving into meaningful insights. There's a need for a new approach that prioritizes cross-functional participation, collective success, and customer-centricity.

Q: What are the key principles of a successful QBR approach? A: A successful QBR should be built on these four principles: cross-functional participation, shared success goals, a culture of learning, and a customer-centric focus.

Q: Is there a free QBR template available?

A: Yes, there's a free QBR template available for download to help you get started with successful QBRs.

Q: How can sales capacity planning software enhance QBRs?

A: Sales capacity planning software like Clevenue can revolutionize not just planning but also active business monitoring. It enables constant tracking toward targets, allowing leaders to focus more on strategy and less on number crunching.

Q: What's the conclusion on conducting successful QBRs?

A: A well-executed QBR is a game-changer for sales teams, offering insights, learning opportunities, and strategic planning. By adopting a new approach and leveraging technology, businesses can maximize the benefits of QBRs and drive sales growth.

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