Quarterly business reviews are notoriously difficult to prepare for and sit through. A big challenge that emerges is the data war that can result when different teams, pull different data, in different manners, that then get presented, differently. The chaos that can result and the lack of insight can make the entire review a less than productive use of time. Or, worse, no one challenges the data, and the team arrives at an erroneous conclusion.
There are a bunch of ways organizations try to solve this. Some companies attempt to create a “single source of truth”. But even with a single database, reports can be pulled differently and data presented differently. Another common approach is to appoint one person as the “data czar”. Yet data czars generally don’t understand the nuances of how to pull data across multiple systems and may also lack the domain expertise, for example, to really understand what traffic, lead, and opportunity reports are actually showing. Data czar’s many times have to talk with the domain experts to get data anyway, which makes the data czar concept less than ideal.
Here is one solution to this problem that we use to make business reviews go smoothly. Essentially, we collect and review QBR data each week. On Monday, sales and marketing sit in a room for 30 minutes to review, discuss, calibrate and validate the prior weeks numbers. By doing this, the monthly numbers simply become a roll up of the weekly numbers and the quarterly numbers are simply a roll up on of the monthly numbers. All the numbers are based on roll ups of the previously validated weekly building blocks. There can be little to no disagreement since any disagreements should have surfaced at the weekly sessions.
But is compiling QBR results weekly overkill and a huge waste of time for an event that occurs just once a quarter? This is more a question about whether the QBR metrics you are using are worthwhile. If the QBR metrics have value and are truly the drivers for the market, then looking at these numbers each week makes sense. Are you tracking to your QBR goals? Did something change week to week that will impact your QBR results? Weekly examination of the key metrics is key.
Here is another way to look at it from a sales perspective. One of the biggest QBR metrics for sales is bookings attainment. Now imagine if the sales team didn’t pay attention to their weekly bookings, and at the end of the quarter, they just ran a report to see how they did. No VP of Sales would have their job for long in this model. So why is it OK for the CMO? Well, it isn’t.
If marketing teams want to have successful QBRs with sales, the path to success starts with a joint, weekly numbers review of the metrics that will be presented at the QBR. It will help to surface issues early so they can be corrected before a QBR goal miss while also validating the data so no one is surprised at the review.