What Are QBRs? What Every Manager Should Know

May 31, 2022

If you manage a team, then you know how important it is to have regular check-ins and goal-setting sessions. But what if I told you there was a way to make those meetings even more productive? Introducing the QBR. What are QBRs?

QBR stands for quarterly business review. QBRs are structured meetings that help teams assess their progress, identify areas of improvement, and set goals for the next quarter. Sounds pretty great so far, right? And the best part is that QBRs can be adapted to any organization size or industry.

If you’re wondering what are QBRs and how they can help your business, read on!

What are QBRs?

A quarterly business review or QBR is a quarterly meeting with clients where you discuss their business.

The quarterly business meeting is about understanding the desired outcomes and potentials of the business and making recommendations accordingly.

As a Customer Success Manager, you act as an advisor to the customer by helping them reach their desired goals.

If you are a customer success manager, there are some activities that you should be paying attention to strengthen your relationships with your customers.

One of the most important jobs of a CSM is to demonstrate the value of your product or service to clients.

The quarterly business review is an activity that a customer success manager performs to offer value to their client.

Why Do You Need QBRs?

Regular meetings with customers ensure that everyone is on the same page. These meetings are used to review the progress that has been made toward the initial goal.

After a deal is closed, the sales representative or account executive is far less involved in the customer relationship.

In a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, the Account Executive (AE) usually hands off the client to the customer success or onboarding teams after the contract is finalized.

In any business, you have to ensure that your customers get the results they want when they purchase from you.

If a prospect buys your solution to solve a problem, they better be able to solve it or: A) They will leave, or B) They will tell everyone they know about it.

In most situations, the point between A and B is where most business owners fail.

Customer retention is an important goal for companies, and one way to achieve this is by conducting regular quarterly business reviews.

How Do You Manage QBRs?

Customer Success managers generally run QBRs but that’s not always the case. If your team is focused on helping customers adopt your product rather than managing their accounts, your QBR may be organized by an account manager.

Once you have identified the individual who will be responsible for leading your QBR, the CSM or account manager can then work to organize the meeting. They will need to bring in the right people from both internally within your company as well as from the client side of things. This way, everyone who needs to be involved in the QBR will be present.

When you’re on a QBR, it’s important to create an ongoing success plan that outlines the initiatives you want to implement moving forward. To make your process as efficient as possible, document your plan at the same time. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to be done to continue achieving success.

Ideally, you’re filling out a form that records the activity in your CRM system. You can create custom fields within the record to make your process more streamlined and consistent.

The goal is to make the data as understandable and accessible as possible.

As an account manager, it is important to ensure that success plans are accessible to everyone in the organization. This way, internal stakeholders can easily search for trends across the customer base.

Your mechanism for capturing customer information should be integrated into your operations in a way that allows internal stakeholders to easily search for trends across your customer base. This will help you identify areas of improvement and potential areas of growth.

At the very least, your entire team should have access to the success plans so they can investigate them as needed.

Once you’ve completed your quarterly business review, there are a few steps that you need to take. First, confirm the plan that was discussed during the meeting itself.

You should confirm with the customer that they’ve received the document you prepared during the initial meeting, which outlines your plan for their success.

Now that you’ve sent them an email, you should confirm that they approve of it.

One way to manage QBRs is to give your clients time to review the success plan outside of your meeting. This allows them to better digest it and determine if they are completely on board. If they aren’t, you don’t want to push them into anything.

When customers buy into the plan, they feel like they have a stake in it. Without that, they will blame any shortcomings of your plan on you.

Don’t forget to keep tabs on your progress! Your CSM or account manager should have monthly check-ins to see how the plan is going. This way, you can ensure that everyone is on track and meeting the goals set out in the success plan.

Depending on the length of your sales cycle, these follow-ups could be done either by hand, by setting up reminders on your calendar, or automatically, by setting up a system to send a message after a certain period.

It’s important to stay up-to-date on any major changes with your account, so regular check-ins are a must. This will help you determine how hands-on you need to be moving forward.

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3 Questions That Turn Good QBRs into Great QBRs

The quarterly business review (QBR) is an important meeting for sales managers and salespeople to demonstrate their knowledge of the market and their territory. This is a chance for them to show how they are thinking about their business holistically and what makes their area unique.

The best sales reps are CEOs of their territories, knowing their market inside and out and using that knowledge to make strategic decisions.

Too many managers see quarterly business review meetings as simply an account review process, rather than as a time to align on territories and plan how salespeople can execute on those.

Sales managers should set concrete goals for their team. These goals should be to look back at your quarterly business reviews and say that those were the hardest, but most rewarding, sales meetings you’ve ever had.

Below are 3 high-level questions that all sales managers need to ask their team to ensure that their Quarterly Business Reviews are effective.

1. What Happened?

While the previous quarter’s numbers are still top of mind, sales leaders should deliver a review of what led to those numbers.

  • The wins we had this quarter and why
  • What could we have done better — and when — to turn our bad numbers around
  • The lost opportunities, if we weren’t in the running for the deal

The sales manager should be focused on coaching the reps during the Quarterly Business Review, not dazzle them with fancy presentations and complex ideas. Before each meeting, send the questions the sales rep will be expected to answer.

Also, don’t throw them any curveballs, especially in front of other executives and management. They need confidence in the sales reps’ plans, and you need confidence that they have yours.

2. Can We Win?

The QBR is a great time for reviewing your deals in the pipeline. Here are a few things you should be looking at:

  • Coverage (pipeline divided by quota) for the upcoming quarter
  • The right mix of long-shots and low-risk deals
  • Deals stuck in a specific stage of the sales process
  • Deals forecasted out two to three quarters that can be brought in
  • The needs of prospects who match your value prop and channels

Once you’ve realigned with your sales reps on who your “ideal” customers are, don’t be surprised if the first Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) results in a smaller, and perhaps more frightening, list of qualified sales opportunities. 40 solid, actionable, and measurable deals are much better than 150 shots in the dark.

Don’t wait until your quarterly business review (QBR) to talk about your pipelines. Instead, have this conversation in your first two meetings of the quarter. Be skeptical of reps who focus too much on deals that are much larger than average, as this could jeopardize your short-term goals.

3. How Will We Win?

A sales leader should review a rep’s pipeline and forecasts during every quarterly business review. They should then discuss whether the plan gives the team the confidence it needs to meet its goals.

  • The deals in their pipeline, best-case scenario, and the worst-case scenario
  • For each of those deals, the results to date and the plan to close
  • When some of those committed sales eventually fail, which new sale opportunities will arise to take their place?
  • Where reps can discover new opportunities that can help them close a deal in the same quarter.

Asking these questions can be uncomfortable, but building trust and rapport between managers and reps is the foundation of getting accurate answers.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

The topic of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is ubiquitous in the management and business worlds.

OKRs are an effective way to set, manage and implement goals at all organizational levels of a company. The key feature of OKRs is that employees are actively involved in creating the company’s goals.

The OKR framework is a powerful tool that can be used by companies of all sizes to set, manage and implement goals in a holistic and outcome-oriented manner. What sets OKR apart is that it actively involves employees in goal setting for the company.

This not only promotes rapid growth and continuous process optimization within the company but can also drive innovation, employee development, and cultural change.

Flexible Framework

OKR is a flexible framework that can be individually tailored to the needs of a company, depending on its objectives. This flexibility allows businesses to be agile while still ensuring continuity.

A “Best-of” of Different Methods

OKRs take the best aspects of different goal setting and management methods to create a system that is even more effective. OKRs represent a symbiotic evolution or even a “best-of” from metrics such as Management by Objectives (MbO), SMART, and Balanced Scorecard (BSC).

The OKR Basics

The process for setting qualitative goals for quarterly business reviews (QBRs) is relatively straightforward. First, the goals are to be established as clearly as possible. Then, the objective is to be made inspiring and motivational for the employee.

Each objective is linked to a maximum of five measurable key results that specify how the goal can be achieved. Key Results allow for quantitative measurement of progress towards the goal, making it easier to track and assess progress.

Each Objective and Key Result has a timeframe of one cycle (usually 3 months) to be achieved.

Examples for Objectives and Key Results

OKRs can be defined by companies, departments, and individuals.

We will (objective), measured by (key result).

We will achieve a steady flow of high-quality leads to our sales department, providing them with the right conditions for closing their deals with a measurable increase in revenue.

We are focused on providing our salespeople with the right conditions to close their deals by steadily increasing the inflow of high-quality leads. This is measured by a 65 percent match of our MQLs to our ICP, a 10 percent increase in our reach, and an increase in average monthly MQLs from 2,000 to 2,600.


What are QBRs? QBRs are a great way to help teams assess their progress, identify areas of improvement, and set goals for the next quarter.

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