QBRs – How to Get Noticed and Sell More Code.

Every. Single. Quarter.  Ugh…THE royal pain in the keister for software sellers.  Whoever started the concept of a QBR (quarter business review) wouldn’t dare take credit…as they might have a several highly-paid hitmen looking for em.  Well…here comes a confession…the kind of confession that I would only do in secret – I love QBRs!  As I duck to avoid your right-hand hook, gimmie a chance to splain myself.

QBRs, as I have told my teams over the years, have tons of benies…main one being, it’s the time where you’re forced to think for a living.  If they’re done right, you ALWAYS find a detail or an element of strategy you’ve missed…and THAT, my coin-operated machines, is worth its weight in gold.  But a hidden gem is, it gives you an opportunity to get noticed with your leadership and peers.  Ready for the dirty little sales leadership secret?  There is a definite correlative between the quality of a QBR and success of a rep.  Yessiree.  The folks that chose to put the time in are generally the ones that put the time in on the rest of their business.  That simple.

Stand down and listen up, because I’m about to lay before you a few tips/tricks to have a great QBR that both pays your new Mercedes off and lands a promotion.

  1. Start early.   Break up the 20 slides and plan on doing 2 slides per day.  Making a stop at the procrastination station shows…and it doesn’t show well.  Put 30 minutes on your calendar every day to put time in.
  2. Do more than is asked. The power point templates are simply a guide and outlines the minimum information your leadership believes is critical.  There is always something you can do to go above and beyond – not because you want to look good, but because you care.  Sales leaders always know who does the minimums on their QBRs…and yes, we talk about it.
  3. Ask your leadership to prioritize the deck by section. This not only helps you understand what is most important and where to spend your deck creation time, but it helps you know where to spend your time to shine.  Sometimes I will have a template that looks similar to the last QBR, but I will want to emphasize a particular section depending on what macro-trends are occurring.  Those macro-trends are typically indicative of a trend or problem spot in everyone’s business…including yours.
  4. Formulate an opinion on your own trouble spots and be honest about the fix. The best sellers I’ve seen use the QBRs as a way for them to identify holes in their business, and they aren’t shy about asking for help.  I can’t stand it when I see a rep “grandstand” on stage…brag about all the things they’ve done well.  No doubt, some grandstanding is appropriate, but don’t spend but a few minutes highlighting how and why you’re great.  Honesty and humility goes a long way in life, and a QBR is a great place to show both qualities.
  5. Be inclusive. When I was a sales rep, it wouldn’t be unusual for me to ask my over-lays, alliances, inside sales, pre-sales, etc to not only help me create content in my slides, but to present their respective sections.  A software seller is the CEO of their respective territory, so it would be very appropriate to delegate sections as you present to your board.

Implementing these best practices will give your paycheck a boost and help you jockey for the next sales leader role that comes up.  Let me hear your version of some things you’ve done in your QBRs that have set you apart from the crowd!

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