How to Prepare for a Sales Development QBR

“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.” Sun Tzu

It is common practice in business to have field sales reps (those in a closing role) present Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). The reviews are held just before a new quarter begins.

Sales Development Reps (SDRs), however, usually participate in the QBR presentation vs. prepare one themselves.

Two reasons why SDRs must learn to prepare a QBR:

(1) They learn to plan their work and work their plan and

(2) elevate their competencies, for when they are in a closing role.

Whether or not you’re asked to prepare and present a QBR, prepare one anyway – for yourself and the field sales reps you serve.

QBR’s are typically created in PowerPoint or Prezi, but can take on a variety of forms. Download this template.

The following suggestions assume the SDR is in a business-to-business (B2B) selling environment. They support field sales reps in a given territory, and are responsible for inbound lead qualification, outbound prospecting, or both.

Questions You Should Consider While Preparing

Thought-provoking questions (of yourself) will ensure you’ve thoroughly planned through the upcoming quarter. They’ll also open-up your mind, allowing you to approach your QBR creatively and with confidence.

  • How well does my QBR align with the overarching goals of the entire sales team?
  • How closely have I looked at the data in my CRM?
  • Can I articulate the milestones and trends in this territory?
  • Have I reviewed this with the field sales rep(s) I support?
  • Is this QBR insightful, informative, and concise?
  • How well have I anticipated and prepared for questions that may come up?
  • Is this the best I can do?

Most QBR presentations last one hour, so plan to build no more than five, maybe six slides. Tell a tight story for each slide, stick to the agenda, and you won’t need more slides.

For example, when reviewing the previous quarter, you could talk about the challenges you faced at the start of the quarter, and how you planned to address them. Then show the results of your efforts, and what insights you now have, heading into a brand new quarter.

Agenda Items to Include in Your QBR

When considering the agenda, think past, present, future. Use a tone of ownership, accountability, and leadership – telling things like they are, and no worse than they are; with an action plan you’re excited to execute.

The QBR summarizes your most current 30-60-90 day plan for the territory.

(1) Review of the Previous Quarter

Wins. For SDR’s, wins could mean a few things. Show the results, and also highlight how well you did against quota.  

  • # of opportunities created from inbound leads or target accounts
  • # of completed meetings
  • % of completed meetings with decision makers
  • # of completed online demos

Losses. For SDR’s, losses are defined by opportunities NOT added to the pipeline…or added, but removed, within a specific timeframe.

  • # of opportunities created that fell through (Closed Canceled or Closed Lost)
  • # of leads or contacts that have not responded
  • # of competitive takeaways
  • % of target accounts not yet contacted
  • % of meetings booked that have not yet occurred

Findings. Tell the organization what you’re seeing in the territory or in the role. Are people taking your calls? Have you run into the same competitors over and over again? Is your product offering resonating in the territory? Is Marketing supportive of your efforts?

  • The territory is comprised of only two verticals (oil & gas and manufacturing). We sell very little to those verticals.
  • There are two potential channel partners in the territory that we should contact.
  • In 80% of my conversations, these 3 features drove the whole discussion.
  • The competition will continue winning these RFP’s if we can’t update this particular piece of our product.

(2) Approach for the Current Quarter

When qualifying accounts or prospecting in a territory, you DON’T want to wake up and learn your high-value prospects went with a competitor. That news stings even more when you never even had a conversation with them.

Approach the quarter proactively – get started on the action plan, meet with key stakeholders (territory managers, counterparts from other departments, colleagues from your Sales Development team, your sales leader), and manage risk.

  • Key logos you have targeted, plan to engage, and intend to convert to pipeline
  • Competitive landscape (incumbents, FUD they’re spreading in your territory, relevant news)
  • Action plan (demand generation efforts, upcoming industry events, referrals, outreach cadence)

(3) Recommendations

This is your chance to suggest where help is needed and from what resources. Perhaps Sales Engineers can get involved in more initial calls; or maybe Marketing can craft relevant case studies to align with your territory; or the Sales Enablement team can invest in a tool to help automate and track your emails?

Whatever the need, backup your observations, suggestions, and requests with data. And socialize the need with the respective department, prior to raising the issue in the QBR.

One More Thing

Start preparing your QBR 2-4 weeks in advance of the new quarter. If Q1 begins on January 1, for example, then start framing-up your QBR around December 7.

If you’re NOT in Sales Development, and want to see what QBR’s look like for other roles, check out these articles:

 

How to Kill It in Sales in Q4

This was written to promote two different webinars.  – Wednesday, October 22, 2014 hosted by BrightTALK.
 – Thursday, October 23, 2014 hosted by Data.com

The Secret: Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

4899931October is a special month for sales teams. Most companies in the US follow a calendar fiscal year, and see October as a start to the final quarter of the year (Q4). This is when sales teams need to close-out deals and finish the year strong. At the same time, sales plans and Quarterly Business Reviews need preparation, to ensure the coming year starts right. No matter how you look at it, October is when salespeople need to plan their work and work their plan.

Think and act with these mindsets, and you’ll kill it in Q4.

Everything is Urgent

Major events like OpenWorld and Dreamforce BOTH occur in October; and each carves a week out of attendees’ schedules. People return to the office with maybe six weeks left in the quarter. December is typically when businesses wrap-up the year and head out for the holidays (which makes scheduling a meeting difficult).
  • Whip your email inbox into shape. Invest time responding to the most important messages, deleting the irrelevant ones, and organizing the others.
  • Schedule same-day or same-week appointments. Don’t procrastinate! Whether following-up on inbound leads or prospecting into an account, suggest meeting with the prospect that afternoon, or just 1-2 days later. After all, you’re just as booked as everyone else.
  • Walk faster. That’s right. When you put pep in your step, and literally pick up your pace, you generate a sense of hustle that becomes infectious to everyone around you.

Make Each Week Super Productive

There’s no time to screw around in Q4. Hack away at the unessential and tackle the tasks that will move you forward. Plan your success.
  • Take a “bookends” approach to the week: Mondays and Fridays are for internal meetings, research, and administrative work; Tuesdays to Thursdays are for sacred prospecting and meetings with prospects and customers.
  • Zero-in on who and what are most important. Talk to people you must contact or hear from to get things done.

See the Ball, Hit the Ball

People already know what’s required to win, but most don’t do that stuff. If you had a crappy year in sales, then create new habits, new rituals. Act like the best and you will become the best.
  • Select tools that will fine-tune the machine that is you. From Evernote to Momentum to Outlook, there’s a bottomless toolbox of technologies that will help.
  • Simply decide to finish the year strong. There are so many helpful ways to make it happen, so pick a few that make sense to you.
Try these out today and Q4 will be a breeze.
The Advantage of Sales Plybooks

The Advantage of Using Sales Playbooks

Today’s B2B sales leaders keep talking about sales playbooks.  Google the term and you’ll see.
Over the last three years, for example, the largest Inside Sales association has featured playbook presentations in a third of its local and national events.

Experts like Reality Works GroupThe Bridge Group, and Qvidian advise and even craft sales playbooks for organizations, while powerful CRM apps guide sales teams through complex buying cycles online.

6413369_orig

If your company is considering a playbook, or looking to modify one that’s already in place, focus on WHY, WHAT, HOW, and WHO.  Then you can determine WHEN to empower the sales team with it (Hint: Now!).

WHY YOU NEED A PLAYBOOK

  1. To generate pipeline and drive revenue.
  2. To gather disparate, decentralized information into on place.
  3. To standardize messaging.
  4. To ramp new hires.
  5. To reinforce struggling reps and remind experienced reps.
  6. To increase productivity of reps.
  7. To drive a corporate initiative.
  8. To prevent things from falling through the cracks.
  9. To influence behavior.

3713189_orig

WHAT YOU NEED IN A PLAYBOOK

  1. A Table of Contents!  Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em.
  2. Checklists at the end of every section / chapter.  Leave no stone unturned, skip NO steps.
  3. Inspirational quotes.  Keep the team fired up and ready to rock at all times.
  4. Methodologies.  Whether it’s Solution Selling, Miller Heiman, Sandler, Challenger SellingJohn Barrows, or a hybrid of them all, it’s imperative to include them in your playbook.
  5. Email templates, talk tracks, qualification and discovery questions.  (Remember: Keep the questions open-ended.  Avoid yes-no questions!)
  6. A map of where to get / when to use marketing collateral, testimonials, and customer success stories.

7851500_orig

HOW YOU’LL DISTRIBUTE THE PLAYBOOK

  1. The “old school” way.  Hardcopy, spiral-bound book.  We’re talkin’ coffee stains on the pages, notes chicken-scratched throughout the book, and easy to carry around.
  2. eBook format.  Really simple to update and maintain version control.  Downloadable and portable.
  3. Mobile.  There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide.  It’s simply where professionals live.

3786832WHO TO CHOOSE AS A STAKEHOLDER

  1. A sales leader that can oversee the project, collaborate with other teams (Marketing and Sales Ops, for example), and write well.
  2. A senior executive that supports the effort and drives adoption and usage.
  3. A representative from the Marketing organizationthat provides collateral and influences use of an SLA.
  4. A great graphic designer.
  5. A team lead.  An account executive that will gather feedback from the team and share use cases.

 

So, hop to it!  Start framing-up your sales organization’s playbook today.  The resources, the purpose, and the revenue targets are there.  If you’ve got questions or feedback, please share them in the Comments section below.

7 Sales Tips for Prospecting & Cold Calling (Part 1 of 3)

An excerpt from 21 Sales Tips for Prospecting, Cold Calling, & Social Selling – a webinar presented on May 7, 2013.
Representing InsideView, Ralph presented with Steve Richard of Vorsight, & Jamie Shanks of Sales for Life

The term “cold calling” is real.  It exists.  It’s completely preventable, though.  If you are looking to engage prospects for your business, connect with valuable, relevant reasons.  Applying these 7 tactics to your prospecting efforts can help.  When done right, and done consistently, you will eliminate the term “cold calling” from your vocabulary.

TIP #1 is to automate your outreach.  Mail programs like Microsoft Outlook and Boomerang allow users to send messages whenever they’d like.  If you’re a user of Hotmail or Yahoo! check out LetterMeLater.For example, you’re going through your inbox at 2:37am and want to respond to your prospect’s message.  When they awake later that morning, your message will get deleted with the spam (89% of their messages) that also arrived in the wee hours.

Instead, your message could arrive at 7am, or on a weekend afternoon, when they’ll likely READ the email.

8144967

7154605

3958112

TIP #2 is to use three sentences in your emails (no more than five).  The average professional receives 115 emails a day, and reads 43% of them from their phone.

If you send a novel of an email, it’ll get trashed, skipped for “later viewing” (which won’t happen), or partially read.  People have time to read texts and tweets, so write brief, concise emails.

3582575

3560680

TIP #3 is to have sales intelligence pushed to you.  Sales reps and account managers have overwhelming amounts of data and insights available to them, but they waste time gathering it.

If they, instead, used an intelligence offering like InsideView, key insights would get pushed to them via email or right within their CRM.  And the email would contain the essentials:  leadership changes, new product offerings, earnings, expanding operations, etc.  Try out InsideView’s free offering here.

8136083

962726

Parts 2 & 3 of this article will follow.  In the meantime, work smart by putting these three tips into practice.

The Secrets of Prospecting Ninjas

This article was originally posted to the InsideView Blog on March 4, 2013.  
It followed a webinar that Jill and Ralph hosted on February 26, 2013.

Ninjas are experts in ninjutsu, which is a technique in espionage.  Espionage is the practice of collecting information and gathering intelligence.

 

4935005Today’s sales world requires superior, relevant, and timely information about prospective accounts and key contacts.  To master this effort, salespeople should model the ninjas.

Jill Konrath is recognized across the globe as an expert sales strategist.  Last week, Jill teamed up with InsideView to broadcast a webinar and share theSecrets of Prospecting Ninjas:

PROSPECTING NINJAS HAVE MAXIMUM IMPACT

  • They slash time to the initial meeting
  • They chop months off your sales cycle
  • They eliminate competitors
  • They catch the incumbent sleeping
  • They prove themselves to be a worthy resource

PROSPECTING NINJAS ACCOMPLISH THESE FEATS BASED ON INSIGHTS

Salespeople that have insights on their prospects have an advantage.  According to Craig Elias, the creator of Trigger Event Selling, insights from company and people alerts see a 24%-32% lift in response rates.

Insights and intelligence must come from thorough (but smart) research.  InsideView harvests critical insights on companies, buyers, connections, and industries, to name a few.

Once you gain insights on…      Make sure to also uncover…
The company                                How did it perform last year?  The last 5 years?
The buyer(s)                                 What recent purchases did the company make?  How?
Your connections                          Do you or does a colleague already know the prospect?
The industry                                 What challenges does it face?  What trends does it experience?

Jill makes The Buyer’s Matrix available online and in her most recent book, SNAP Selling, to guide salespeople through the buying process.  You can download The Buyer’s Matrix here:  http://bit.ly/how-to-prospect.

PROSPECTING NINJAS USE TRIGGER EVENTS

Trigger events are internal or external changes that influence an organization’s priorities.  When trigger events occur, and you’re aware of them, they can bring forth big opportunities for you.  Jill unveiled some common trigger events, and highlighted what InsideView calls “smart agents:”

Trigger events…Uncover “tells”…Leadership changesNew decision maker might mean new strategy & new prioritiesEarnings resultsPoor earnings might create opportunity for your offeringCompetitive movesCompanies don’t like to be beat by their competitorsNew strategic initiativesInitiatives often come with urgency that could expedite buying cycles
NINJAS USE A FORMULA

When the rubber meets the road, prospectors must engage with relevance.  This means that messaging must be right on point — whether done via email, voicemail, by phone, or in person.  A study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business uncovered that 92% of prospects do not answer their phones or emails.

PROSPECTING NINJAS SEND KILLER MESSAGES

Using newly-captured insights, and knowing the right person to contact, ninjas:

  • Build credibility
  • Pique curiosity
  • Close graciously

And guess what?  Prospecting ninjas get responses to their messages!

NINJAS DON’T QUIT

The business world constantly changes, often by the hour.  Unless you keep your finger on the pulse – by monitoring insights, leveraging connections, and watching for trigger events – the prospecting ninjas will leave you behind.

7264646