Planning A Virtual Sales QBR Meeting in 2021: A 5-Step Guide
February 24, 2021
Sales quarterly business review (QBR) meetings help organizations track sales performance for the past quarter, analyze how close they are to their projected goals, and effectively strategize and plan the next quarter. Traditional sales QBR meetings are conducted in the conference room, where salespeople and stakeholders gather and present their vision for increasing sales.
But with organizations going remote, these reviews are now held via online video conferencing platforms. Like any formal, data-informed meeting, a sales QBR meeting requires careful planning, high energy, and concise data storytelling, especially in a virtual setting.
What is a Virtual Sales QBR?
A virtual sales quarterly business review (or QBR, for short) is a virtual sales performance review meeting held at the end of each quarter with the entire sales organization. Employees from sales, sales enablement, and leadership get on a virtual meeting platform to discuss sales in that quarter.
These discussions typically focus on analyzing actual sales performance against set benchmarks, forecasting trends, celebrating big wins, and setting goals for the next quarter.
The virtual sales QBR also allows sales reps to communicate directly with executives and share tactical information. Leaders often integrate this into the company’s strategic vision.
Depending on the team size and brand lines/verticals, the virtual sales QBR can run for a couple of hours to a few days. Considering how expansive a virtual sales QBR can get, the rest of the article focuses on how you can plan your next virtual sales QBR.
5-Steps to Planning a Successful Virtual Sales QBR
A sales QBR is a formal meeting and needs meticulous planning as it deals with strategies, numbers, and knowledge-dense content. Considering how challenging retaining attention and information can be in virtual settings, this section delves into how you can organize a sales QBR to get the most out of it:
Step 1: Pre-Planning the Virtual Sales QBR
Take into account the following three key activities when laying the groundwork for the virtual sales QBR:
Collect Sales Reports: Collecting sales reports will give you enough data to know what you need to include in the meeting presentation. Extract the relevant sales KPIs, metrics, and benchmarking data from those reports.
Pre-Record Videos: Since the dynamics of a virtual QBR differ from that of an in-person QBR, get videos pre-recorded by concerned individuals covering the gist of their presentation. Technical errors or internet connectivity issues can cause participants to miss out on crucial information. These videos will prevent that confusion.
Decide a Theme for Each Day: Spreading the sales QBR over a couple of days in multiple sessions can solidify retention. You can have a focus for each day and build the next session on top of it. Check out our article on sales kickoff meetings for ideas.
Record the QBR: Be prepared with a platform that allows you to record the virtual QBR meeting. It is likely that some people will be unable to make it or people may want to look reflect on the QBR in the future. It is also helpful to share recent QBR meetings with new hires on the sales team.
Step 2: Preparing Visual Presentations
Keep in mind the following considerations when designing your presentation for the virtual QBR:
Keep the Design Simple: As these presentations will be viewed on a video conferencing platform, design them using easy-to-read colors, fonts, and charts. Use more visual elements (such as graphs and charts) for easier comprehension. You’ll need to walk the tightrope to balance aesthetics and be easy to understand. We recommend sending a template so that there is consistency between the different presentation slides.
Keep Your Target Audience in Mind: QBR meetings can be information-dense; including only relevant stats will help leaders and other stakeholders make better decisions.
Translate Data into Insights: Back your insights with data. For example, rather than just stating sales figures, compare them with the same quarter in prior years and observe trends. Based on the insights, showcase how best you can capitalize on them in the future.
Step 3: Scheduling Your Sessions
Break your QBR meeting into smaller sessions to improve information retention. Here is how you can do it:
Set the Program Agenda: The agenda covers all key topics a sales QBR ideally requires. Some common topics include major wins, missed opportunities, challenges faced during closing deals, deal coaching, new trends, and best performance improvement practices. Don’t forget to mention the micro and macro perspective for each topic.
Segment Sessions: Keep a five-minute break between each session. Ideally, session durations should be between 20-30 minutes each. Attendees can discuss the highlights, ask questions, or use breaks to reflect to themselves.
Breakout Rooms: Make time for breakout sessions to foster brainstorming for leaders, managers, and sales reps and discuss their ideas and new practices that they can implement in the next quarter.
Step 4: Conducting the Sessions
Choose a virtual meeting platform that’s easy to use and works for everyone. Also ask stakeholders who will be presenting to perform a dry run before the meeting. Here are three guidelines that will help you ensure there are no hiccups:
Follow the Schedule: Sessions might run longer than their allocated time if participants ask questions or discuss an issue during the session. Ask attendees to honor the schedule and keep questions for the end so that you stick to the agenda.
Get a Moderator to Lead Sessions: A moderator keeps presentations on track. If attendees have questions, the moderator can note and schedule it for a later discussion, keeping the session on track.
Post-Session Exercises: Create a quiz, survey, or questionnaire, that you can send to the participants at the end of a session to get ideas or solidify learnings.
Step 5: Wrapping Up the Virtual Sales QBR
A virtual sales QBR can be mentally taxing. A long day discussing numbers and projections can get monotonous. Organizing a few fun activities during sessions and at the end of the day can help participants unwind and recharge.
Engagement Activities:Introduce some fun virtual team building or engagement activities after information-rich sessions or during breaks to help everyone reorient themselves. Even a 15-minute guided meditation session can help de-stress participants.
Celebrate All Wins: As a part of celebrating big wins, organize an award ceremony to recognize top performers and employees that embodied the company values. Send virtual or physical gifts to those employees to appreciate them and encourage others.
Virtual Happy Hour: Finally, close the day with a virtual happy hour where participants can casually chat or play virtual games, trivia, or host an open-mic session!
Virtual sales QBRs provide an excellent platform for the sales team to communicate ground-level insights with leadership. Similarly, top management can create transparency and communicate the strategic vision.
Rather than making the sales QBR a formality, use it to develop new training modules for sales reps, identify better sales opportunities, and implement updated best practices on a larger scale.
We hope these insights help you plan your next virtual sales QBR that is enriching, engaging, and fun!