QBR - Featured Image

The QBR (Quarterly Business Reviews) Playbook: A Guide for High-Performing Sales Leaders

Published on March 21, 2024
Sreekanth NP
Growth Marketer, Rafiki.ai

The moment you set the date for a QBR, a flurry of things happen in your sales team. For one, some people panic, thinking they’re about to be thrown to the wolves or exposed. Even those who’ve done a great job can feel this way. Imposter syndrome is real.

Some others gain focus & motivation. While others think “Great, it’s that time of the quarter again. Sigh.”.

As a sales leader, it’s important to understand how your people look at QBRs, how they should be looking at it and most importantly, how you can make QBRs effective. Most sales teams conduct QBRs but don’t stick to what they agree, later on in the quarter. This is because their leader didn’t conduct an effective review. They either failed to look at the past performance properly, gauge the future well, or ignored the present misalignment.

Conducting effective QBRs is not easy, but it is important. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of conducting effective QBRs, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to navigate this crucial process with confidence.

Let’s dive in!

What is QBR & Why Does It Matter?

QBR, or Quarterly Business Review is a periodic meeting that brings together sales leaders, team members, and sometimes even key clients. This collaborative environment fosters a space for open dialogue around the team’s performance. By dissecting the data and gleaning valuable insights, participants collectively chart a course for future growth and optimization.

However, the true power of QBRs lies not just in information sharing, but in actionable takeaways. QBRs equip your sales team with the knowledge and tools needed to consistently exceed expectations and propel your business forward.

QBR - How To Conduct

Planning for Success: Setting the Stage for Effective QBRs

While QBRs themselves are powerful tools, their effectiveness hinges on proper pre-planning. Here’s where the groundwork is laid for a productive and insightful session.

Firstly, decide on the frequency of your QBRs. While quarterly reviews are the standard, some organizations opt for biannual or even monthly meetings depending on their specific needs. Next, prepare an executive summary that outlines key metrics, achievements, and challenges from the previous period. This concise document serves as a springboard for discussion and ensures everyone arrives on the same page. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of sharing the agenda beforehand. This transparency allows participants to come prepared to contribute meaningfully and fosters a sense of ownership over the QBR process.

Keep in mind, a well-planned QBR is a well-run QBR. By investing time and effort upfront, you set the stage for an impactful session that propels your sales team towards achieving their full potential.

Tailoring the QBR to Specific Sales Methodologies: Aligning the Framework for Different Approaches

The beauty of the QBR framework lies in its adaptability. While the core principles remain consistent, specific sales methodologies may necessitate adjustments to ensure optimal effectiveness.

For instance, there’s Solution Selling which emphasizes understanding a client’s unique needs and crafting customized solutions. This methodology might benefit from a deeper focus on client pain points and win-loss analysis during the QBR. Conversely, Challenger Sale prioritizes challenging the status quo and presenting new perspectives. This might require a stronger emphasis on competitor analysis and value differentiation strategies.

By tailoring the QBR discussions to align with the chosen sales methodology, you empower your team to leverage its strengths and address challenges specific to their approach.

Connecting the Dots: Unveiling the Past Quarter’s Learnings

The heart of any effective QBR lies in scrutinizing the past quarter’s performance with a critical eye. This involves delving into several key areas:

  • Reviewing Key Accomplishments: Celebrate victories, big and small, to boost team morale and identify replicable success stories.
  • Unearthing Challenges Encountered: Acknowledge and dissect hurdles faced, fostering open communication and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Gleaning Insights from Client Interactions: Analyze client feedback, both positive and negative. This helps in understanding their evolving needs & pain points to tailor future strategies accordingly.

This data-driven introspection is crucial for unveiling hidden patterns and identifying trends that might not be readily apparent at first glance. By analyzing past performance with a critical yet objective lens, you gain invaluable insights that can inform future strategies.

Although the core focus of this stage should remain on fostering open communication, Rafiki can further aid in this process by providing insights across rep performance/deals/accounts. The objective evaluations and insights of Rafiki can streamline the process of connecting the dots of all your sales efforts.

Charting the Course: Navigating the Path to Future Success

Having unearthed valuable insights from the past, it’s time to shift the focus towards the future. This is where the QBR transforms from a retrospective exercise into a strategic planning session.

Here, key activities include:

  • Reviewing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Evaluate the effectiveness of current metrics and consider adjustments to better align with your evolving goals.
  • Building a Robust Pipeline: Analyze the sales pipeline, identify potential roadblocks, and implement strategies to ensure a consistent flow of qualified leads.
  • Establishing Clear Goals: Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) for the upcoming period, ensuring everyone on the team is aligned and striving towards the same objectives.
  • Stop/Continue/Start: With the QBR, your team should be crystal clear on which activities you are stopping, which ones you are going to continue doing and which new ones you will be starting. This should include an updated prioritization of the activities as well.

Building Alignment and Engagement: Cultivating a Cohesive Sales Force

Before talking about building alignment, let’s remind ourselves about the WHY.

Benefits of Holding QBRs

See what I did there? It’s important to talk about the WHY before WHAT. It is equally important to keep reminding the WHY, because people will forget it otherwise.

Now, a successful QBR isn’t just about analyzing data; it’s about fostering collaborative and engaged sales team. This section delves into strategies to achieve that:

  • Unifying the Team on New Goals: Clearly communicate the established goals and ensure everyone understands their individual and collective contributions to achieving them.
  • Open Communication: Encourage open dialogue, addressing concerns and fostering a safe space for team members to share their ideas and perspectives.
  • Leveraging Rafiki’s Ask Rafiki Anything feature can be particularly helpful here. This allows reps to quickly access and analyze their past performance data, enabling them to ask specific questions about their individual contributions and areas for improvement. This data-driven approach fosters ownership and accountability, empowering reps to actively participate in the goal-setting process.

By prioritizing transparency and open communication, you create a cohesive and motivated sales force that’s well-equipped to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Common QBR Challenges and Solutions: Overcoming Hurdles for Effective Reviews

While QBRs offer immense value, they’re not without their challenges. Here are some common roadblocks and how to navigate them:

  • Lack of Data or Inaccurate Data: Ensure seamless data flow through integration with your CRM using a tool like Rafiki’s Smart CRM sync. This ensures everyone has access to up-to-date and accurate information for informed discussions. Rafiki’s feature goes the extra mile by autofilling CRM fields according to the qualification method your team uses, so that you can be sure your team is working on the right leads.
  • Limited Time: If your team uses Rafiki, all their calls will have been automatically summarized. This allows your reps to quickly refer to them to get complete but concise views of all customer conversations. Using Rafiki, your team can spend QBRs focusing on in-depth analysis and strategic discussions rather than digging through mountains of notes.
  • Team Disengagement: Foster interactive sessions by encouraging open dialogue and soliciting team member input. Additionally, Rafiki’s Smart Call Scoring can provide objective data-driven insights to guide individual coaching conversations and motivate team members.
  • Non-sticky QBRs: QBRs, for all the agreement and head nods that occur, can often get ignored or deprioritized later on in the quarter. This happens due to a number of issues such as a poorly conducted QBR, the inane number of variables of the sales process that can change all plans. To combat this, it is important to conduct weekly or fortnightly feedback sessions, to ensure everyone is reminded of what they agreed on and reinforce the need for alignment.

The QBR as a Continuous Improvement Tool

The QBR is not a one-time event; it’s a continuous improvement cycle. By regularly revisiting, analyzing, and adapting your strategies, you empower your sales team to consistently refine their approach and achieve sustained success.


Keep in mind, effective QBRs are not just about looking back; they’re about propelling your sales team forward towards a future filled with growth and achievement.

Explore how Rafiki can ensure your QBRs are effective by signing up for a free 14 day trial!

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