The PERFECT Sales Business Review Agenda


8:00 What did you say you would do?

8:10 What did you do?

8:20 What worked?

8:40 What didn’t work?

9:00 What did you learn?

9:15 What are you going to do moving forward?


It’s really that easy.

Here is the problem. Most sales leaders don’t create a culture of accountability. What accountability there is, is centered around quota. The problem is, quota doesn’t address accountability.

The best way to build accountability and ensure your team is heading in the right direction is the quarterly business review. It’s not enough however to just do quarterly business reviews, you have to do them right.

Yes! There is a right way and a wrong way to a business review.

The wrong way and the most common way sales organizations do business reviews is to treat them “literally” like a review. They are a “state of sales” presentation, where sales and sales leaders provide an overview of what they’re doing and where they are in relationship to quota and their other sales metrics. They provide an overview of their business. They share high-level or detailed info on their accounts, reiterate the commitment to quota and sit down. Sr. management asks some questions, challenges a few points and presentation done.

This is not the right way to do a business review. Too much is left open, there is little commitment to specific goals and initiatives and it’s hard to understand what the sales rep or manager is going to do the next quarter.

The right way to do a business review is like this:

What did you say you would do?

The sales leader or sales person starts with what they said they were going to do that quarter. This includes KPI’s; quota, margin, pipeline, average deal size, win/loss ratio etc. All the hard numbers are evaluated. The presenter needs to own whether or not they accomplished what they said they would that quarter. Simply put, the presenter must state if they made them or not?

Then the presenter reviews their initiatives. Did they complete the initiatives they committed to at the beginning of the quarter? Key initiatives can include; key hires, new processes developed, critical contacts made, key relationships hired, critical meetings had, etc. Each sales leader and sales rep should have a number of quarterly initiatives. This section is pretty quick and black and white. They either did what they say they would or they didn’t.

What worked?

Once the sales leader or sales rep has articulated how successful they were or weren’t, they must share their thoughts on what activities, initiatives, and effort they engaged in that quarter worked. The point here is to highlight the efforts that are positively creating impact so they can be amplified, continued and improved. What worked that quarter? This is different from what you said you would do. If you exceeded your quarterly number because you made 25% more cold calls. Increasing the number of cold calls is what worked, NOT the fact you exceeded your quarterly number.

What didn’t work?

Once the presenter has finished sharing what worked, they need to share what didn’t work. What activities, efforts, initiatives, or commitments didn’t work. What did they do that quarter that DIDN’T get the results they were working for. The purpose of this section is to shed light on the efforts that are wasting time, that aren’t producing results in order to stop them. You’d be amazed at how long sales people and sales leaders continue an effort that ISN’T producing the results they want. This section should stop any unproductive initiatives or effort before too much time is wasted. Be very diligent here. Use extreme inspection.

What did you learn?

Based on what the presenter said they would do vs. what they actually did, in conjunction with their assessment of what worked and what didn’t, the sales rep or sales leader should be able to articulate, in substantial detail, what they learned that quarter. What they learned about the accuracy of their strategy, the effectiveness of their initiatives, what they need to stop, what they need to start doing and what they need to keep doing. This section is critical. With out a discussion on learnings, nothing changes. This section is meant to ferret out the “whys” of the first four questions; why something didn’t didn’t work, why that one thing did work, and what did I say I would do and why I was able to do what I did.

Make sure the presenter has a solid set of learnings.

What am I going to do moving forward?

This sections sets up the next quarterly business review. This is where the sales rep or sales leader commits to a new set of quarterly numbers and initiatives. The presenter must commit to their KPI’s. They need to put on paper and commit to the team how much revenue, margine, their average deal size, pipeline growth, etc.will be. It’s about committing a number or set of numbers. The second half is a commitment to a set of initiatives critical to achieving their goals/KPI’s and improve their overall business. These initiatives must be documented and listed out in a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) fashion.

The goals and initiatives put in this section now act as the cornerstone for the next quarters business review. They are the, “What did you say you would do?”

That’s it. Wash, rinse, repeat.

There is no better way to hold people accountable and drive the results you need than by focusing on what people say they will do and then analyzing how they did it.

Use this approach and your quarterly meetings will be more effective, will bring more value to the business and most importantly create a culture of agile account and sales team management.

Quarterly meetings should be used to further your efforts not just report on them. Take a look at your quarterly sales business review. Does it increase the probability you make your goals and increase sales? — If not, you’re doing it wrong.

Enhanced by Zemanta