Blog post

Structuring Sales Business Reviews

By Dave Egloff | January 24, 2021 | 1 Comment

Sales business reviews – also called monthly or quarterly business reviews – are regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the performance and health of a sales business unit.  These sessions are critical to set expectations and establish trust with the executive team and other stakeholders.  While the ultimate goals are to instill confidence and maximize productivity, these meetings also serve to:

  • Review past performance
  • Set expectations on future performance
  • Identify risks or issues (internally and externally)
  • Explore opportunities for growth
  • Discuss the needs of the business (e.g., funding, operations, etc.)

Expectedly, the specific structure of a sales business review will vary.  Weekly and monthly reviews can be more tactical and focus on specific deals.  Quarterly reviews are more strategic.  Plus, executive preference plays a key role.  As one chief sales officer said to me, “these meetings allow me to have confidence in committing to a forecast to the CEO and board.”

Anatomy of a Sales Business Review Presentation

In reviewing many different sales business review templates and presentations, here are the sections that most commonly appear:

  • Agenda slide
  • Monthly / Quarterly Sales Results
  • Executive Summary/ Insights – it’s also common to have this as the first slide after the agenda
  • Forecast – expected performance over the next month, quarter, etc.
  • Pipeline Review – a top-down view of the dollars in the pipeline including movement between stages and from the prior period
  • Large Deals Review
  • Risks & Opportunities – this can include win/loss reviews, competitive assessments, product development, market drivers, etc.
  • Operational Updates – including headcount planning, project updates, funding requirements, etc.

Tips in Execution

Yes – the structure is key.  However, there are specific things that you can do to improve meeting execution.  Admittedly, only some of these things are controllable.  With that said, here are ten tips to improve the actual business review:

  1. Distribute the presentation in advance
  2. Ask people to preview the content – this saves significant time during the meeting
  3. Allow multiple people to present different sections
  4. Anticipate an abbreviated meeting – lead with the most consequential insights
  5. Avoid surprises
  6. Put numbers in context – it’s great to say you generated $10M in revenue but what were the results last year or last quarter
  7. Do not “navigate people to the desert” – if you plan to raise concerns, provide alternatives to mitigate or manage risks
  8. Be ready for questions and challenges
  9. Don’t get derailed for too long – be prepared to put some topics in a “parking lot”
  10. Overprepare – these meetings can be stressful so come ready

Certainly, there isn’t a once size fits all since so much is left to individual preference and even the market dynamics or company culture.  However, building a sales business review around these common elements does help instill confidence and predictability in performance.

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1 Comment

  • says:

    so interesting, greats!