Typically, CEOs oversee a Quarterly Business Review (QBR) with direct reports. In today's economic environment, it is more critical than ever to communicate up and down the organization. That escalates the importance of the QBR even more. In the past, QBRs have not delivered the results needed to drive execution and leverage from the executive team. What do these quarterly "get-togethers" look like now, and how will they continue to change?

Usually, QBRs look at the past and use it as a way to guide the future, but that needs to be different now.  Looking at the past and recapping the news is not as relevant right now, things are changing quickly.  Rather, making significant decisions quarter by quarter to move the company forward is.  This starts with building and executing the vision and then aligning across the organization.

 

Organizational Alignment Reviews

 

Typically, when the CEO is hosts the QBR, each functional leader brings their operational views into the session. As a result, QBRs capture the perspective of each function and not the entire organization, which is an “inside-out” view. The functional leaders don’t become aligned and only have interest in their specific area of the business, not the company’s long-term objectives. That is why these meetings need to transform into “Organizational Alignment Reviews.” An idea for July might be to have the company take a Revenue Growth Diagnostic. This is a great objective way to plot the maturity of the business, as seen below.

 

 

Best Practice on Implementing Organizational Alignment Reviews

 

  1. Consistent interactions throughout the quarter need to be a part of the review. This means that each QBR should be a “formal continuation” of conversations from the prior QBR and throughout the quarter.  There should not be a “big reveal” in the session, or something is wrong.  Consistency of the message and reinforcement of the goals are what will make things actionable, and this should be happening all quarter long.

     

  2. Enforce the basics. Standard best practice templates, preparation, and an uninterrupted video call with all of the functional leaders engaged are “table stakes.” Of course, the session should cover what was won, lost, the amount still left in the pipeline, team performance, and SWOT. Those are the basics.  Ultimately, this is a learning call, and at least half of the discussion needs to be about the market, what dynamics are changing based on current conditions, and what management and other functions can do to help in the next 90 days.  Make it about an integrated call to action and not an interrogation.

     

  3. The CEO needs to be provocative, engaged, and push all of the other leaders to be involved as well. Push the functional leaders to think.  A prior blog suggests that they are not QBRs, they are Strategic Alignment Meetings. Make this session one that all leaders look forward to and not dread.  Make the preparation simple, but thorough, and make sure you and the ELT show that you are prepared and have invested as well.

     

  4. Build on success. When we see something working in one area, how can we harness that momentum and embrace the success to drive other areas?  At least 3 times per year, your sales or marketing leaders should take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic and see where they stack up on the Revenue Growth Maturity Model (RGMM).  This will show areas of success as well as gaps and will help drive alignment.

     

  5. Everyone needs to be aligned and bought in on the approach to the next quarter and what course corrections are recommended. This needs to be documented within a few days of the QBR and reinforced throughout the next quarter.  There cannot be “too much” communication in these uncertain times.  What comes out of the QBR is as essential as the QBR itself.

     

Here are a few blogs that also have been helpful in thinking differently about QBRs:

 

  1. How Top B2B Marketing Leaders Engage at QBRs
  2. 7 Steps to Supercharge your QBR
  3. Why Sales QBRs are a Waste of Time

     

If you think you run a great QBR, contact me, and let’s film an SBI TV episode dedicated to that best practice.

 

As we approach Q3 and think about the back half of the year, these sessions are critical.  Market segments are being reprioritized, compensation and talent are being reviewed, and most of all, revenue and EBITDA targets are being revised.  QBRs bring all of that to life and make it actionable.  For your July session, make sure:

 

  1. Your teams have good interaction from the quarter that is reflected in the session.
  2. There is a standard, and the basics are consistently leveraged.
  3. You and your ELT are engaged in the session, looking for pockets of success and finding ways to get leverage from that momentum.
  4. You drive alignment across the organization. This is especially critical now as we manage quarter to quarter.

     

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregg Blatt

Gregg’s role at SBI is to leverage his experience to drive growth for clients by solving the revenue and market growth challenge.

Peers, Clients and CEOs describe Gregg as a transformation strategist and industry thought leader. He has deep experience as a field executive implementing and managing multiple global sales teams.  He has a track record of outstanding performance in IT Services, SaaS and IT Consulting. Prior to joining SBI, Gregg held the position of CRO for Cast Software where he was responsible for global sales and solution delivery. Other executive positions include iRise, Keane, Headstrong, James Martin and Company, Comdisco and NYNEX.  Roles includes executive sales, marketing, delivery and board positions.

Gregg’s career has included everything from branding and transformation programs, field marketing/lead generation, organization, market and comp plan design, sales process and enablement programs to new team rollouts across NA, Europe and APAC.

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