Dear Leaders,

My letter to you today is a practical one and covers the topic of establishing a QBR (Quarterly Business Review) process for your inside sales teams.  Once considered something that only field reps would do each quarter, QBR’s have slowly been gaining popularity for inside sales as well.  QBR’s can be defined as individual sales rep reviews of the results, forecast, and future activity planning for each rep and their respective territories. Here are some simple tips to getting the most out of an established QBR practice for inside sales.

  • CONSISTENCY: Establish a cadence of once each quarter and keep to that schedule.  Typically, it makes sense to schedule this in the beginning of each quarter when there may be a bit less stress than at quarter-end.
  • ATTENDEES: This is a great opportunity to invite in field sales management, executives, marketing, HR, and any other cross-function who could add value and appreciate the chance to hear the results and plans of each inside rep.  It’s can also serve as a great venue to show the value of inside sales and their level of professionalism, while education those who don’t really know what inside sales does.
  • FORMAT: As a general rule, I like to allow 1 hour or even 90 minutes for a thorough review.  Typically, the rep takes the lead and reviews several areas via a PowerPoint.  Management and invited guests can both ask questions and even offer suggestions on the stated results, goals and planned activities.
  • TEMPLATE/AGENDA: Most QBR’s cover the following areas:
    1. YTD RESULTS – This is a look backwards at sales results from the past quarter and also YTD.
    2. FORECAST – This is where the rep shows their anticipated forecast for the next quarter and remainder of the year. Often times this may be backed up by a list of forecasted deals in the pipeline.  Discussion is often around these deals and what is needed to close them.
    3. GOALS & PLANNED ACTIVITY – These areas allow the rep to establish some next quarter goals and to show the specific activity that will help them to achieve these goals. NOTE here that reps should put their goals into the “SMART” format. (Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Results Oriented, and Time Bound).  So instead of saying “I will increase my close rate” which is a bit vague, state it as “Increase my close rate from 25% to 30% within the first 30 days of the quarter”.
    4. ISSUES/CHALLENGES – Here is where the rep can list any areas that presents them with challenges.  Attendees can discuss and offer ideas on overcoming them.
    5. RECOMMENDATIONS – Inside Sales Reps can make recommendations or even ask for certain things.  An example of this might be where a rep asks for additional product training or perhaps funding to attend a specific trade event.
  • KEEP IT FUN & EDUCATIONAL: Over the years some QBR’s have turned into a session where managers “turn up the heat” and put reps under a microscope to show others that they are pushing their team to stretch and not miss hitting their numbers.  This type of demeanor is better suited for private one-on-one meetings where managers can discuss specific performance issues.  Rather, use QBR’s to help reps identify areas that need attention, to offer assistance as appropriate, and to learn from the collective experiences of all the other attendees.

I highly recommend making QBR’s standard practice for most inside selling models.  QBR’s are a great way to keep the pulse on the team, to drill deep into pipeline activity and forecasts, to learn new ideas and activities from others, to showcase the team, and to hold the reps accountable for managing their own territory and business.

Until next time… good selling and good leading!

A Movement Today – An Advancing Profession Tomorrow



Dear Leaders,

My letter to you this week has to do with the future health of our great profession and community of  Inside Sales professionals, practitioners and providers. No one can definitively say where Inside Sales will evolve to in the next 10, 20 or 100 years… were not even sure the name will remain the same.  Yet, what we do know is that our profession has evolved and will continue to evolve. As a profession, we are enjoying the fruits of our labor with unprecedented corporate adoption, job growth, career promotions, healthy compensation levels, and an exploding ecosystem and movement around a group of like-minded professionals known affectionately as the AA-ISP (or double A – ISP) community.

Our mission at the AA-ISP is simple… to “advance the professionalism and performance” of the ever growing community of Inside Sales.  The fact that we have seen active membership grow from a couple hundred 5 years ago to approaching our Fall Membership Drive of 10,000 is a testament to this grass roots movement of coming together to grow, learn, network, and share.  Not only are we seeing this unprecedented growth in the US, but countries all over the world are coming together through a network of local volunteer chapters to help support the mission to advance Inside Sales.

So how do we as leaders build on this movement in an effort insure that our great profession continues to advance?  How do we address the many challenges we face such as the archaic FLSA labor law which categorizes Inside Sales as an hourly, non-exempt position?

Here are 3 things you can do starting right now:

  • JOIN THE MOVEMENT! – This is a no brainer. If you are not an AA-ISP member, you need to be!  The community is growing and we are seeing some amazing things happen through the sharing of ideas, and the friendship and support that each member or team shares with others.  Spend the ridiculously modest $25 (or $145 for a professional membership).  Membership helps fund and support the many programs for members such as the Mentor Program, 50+ Chapters in the US and Internationally, Webinars, Training Sessions, and Professional Accreditation’s.  If you’re a leader, show your team that professional affiliations make a difference and sign them up at the Professional level for rates of $60 or much less depending on the group size.  Numbers matter!  As the AA-ISP community grows so does our voice and ability to shape the future of our profession!
  • GET INVOLVED! – Once you’re an active member, there are numerous ways to get involved in support of our great profession. Attend a Chapter meeting, view a webinar, write and submit a best practice to the AA-ISP Knowledge Center, speak at a conference, become a mentor, join the “Women of Inside Sales” group, etc., etc.  There is a little something for everyone, but it’s up to you to take the first step!
  • SUPPORT ACCREDITATION! Why is it that so many other professions like accounting, financial planning, teaching, healthcare, etc., have their own formal accreditation’s like the CPA and CFP? Partly it’s because they have been around for many years and have invested in the education and advancement of their profession.  After several years in development, accreditation for both frontline sales reps and leaders now exists for Inside Sales.  The AA-ISP administers our profession’s CISP® (Certified Inside Sales Professional) for sales reps and the AISM™ (Accredited Inside Sales Manager) for leaders.  Much like the CPA, there will come a time in the future that any hiring company who is looking for highly competent reps will make the CISP® a requirement.  Supporting the CISP® and AISM™ makes a statement that you and your organization supports the professionalism and on-going learning and development of individuals within our great profession and your own organization!

It’s an exciting time for our profession.  There is a movement afoot! Our community continues to grow.  I hope you choose to be an active participant as we are all stewards of the great profession that we serve!

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