CMO Secrets to Impacting the Sales QBR


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World class B2B marketing organizations actively engage in Quarterly Business Review (QBR) meetings. For many marketing leaders the sales team’s QBR is an afterthought.

Tenured B2B Marketing CMO’s look forward to the mid-year QBR like one desires a root canal. This is because marketing is ‘pulled’ into QBRs. Marketing typically provides updates to the sales team with a rear-view mirror approach. The event is often reactive.

This is in sharp contrast to World Class B2B Marketing engagement. World Class CMO’s pursue involvement in sales QBRs. The CMO should pursue the QBR with the spirit of a warrior.

Download the World-Class Marketing QBR Engagement Checklist.

In some cases the sales team uses the QBR as an open forum to ambush marketing. Marketing becomes the human piñata for all sales complaints.

Don’t be a Sheep – Marketing’s Approach to QBR Engagement

Sheep get shaved often and mindlessly walk off cliffs. World Class CMO’s dive into sales QBRs with enthusiasm and active engagement.

If marketing is going to be ambushed by sales, then dive into the fray. Stand up and battle constructively with an eye toward solving problems.

The culture of corporate America today is often focused on getting along to get along. The desire to avoid conflict at all costs results in mediocrity. Recently I was filling out a survey for Consulting Magazine. The survey was seeking nominations for the ‘Best’ consulting firm. The survey asked more questions about the culture of inclusion than it did questions about client results. I wanted to barf.

The best sales and marketing leaders don’t let things fester. They go head to head and work through disagreements. The end result is a healthy working relationship based on performance and trust.

Walk into the next QBR with a great attitude yet with the spirit of a Sparta warrior. It’s better to be respected than liked. Sales leaders love engagement from the marketing leader. Dive into areas of frustration. Admit any short comings. Offer solutions. Come out of the QBR with an action plan for sales and marketing to conquer the competition.

World Class B2B Marketing Organizations

World Class sales organizations operate their QBR’s in a strategic manner. The biggest difference between world class and average companies is the practice of benchmarking quarterly. The QBR is the ideal forum to perform quarterly benchmarking. Marketing can lead the way with benchmarking of marketing effectiveness. It’s all about an agile approach with rapid iteration.

  • Is Lead Generation performing, can it be refocused to support ramping reps?
  • How does the qualification of leads need to be tweaked?
  • What new objections is sales hearing about the latest product?
  • Is sales enabled to launch next quarter’s new product?

World Class sales leaders perform the forecast review, yet validate whether their assumptions were on target. They drive a strategic discussion. CMO’s must evolve quickly to engaged in the QBR discussion with insight contribution.

3 Keys to World-Class QBR Marketing Engagement

1. Deliver a Quick Win, Always

Sheep sit around and graze until they become mutton. Take the fight to the enemy with quick wins.

Sparta warriors conquered by not fighting alone. They stood shield to shield protecting each other while devastating their enemy. Join the shield wall with sales by providing them high impact marketing tools.

The lowest hanging fruit today is Social Prospecting Tools.

Edelman Study resized 600

In today’s buying process, prospects are highly influenced by peer referrals. Social media is now the top producer of referrals. World class sales organizations find a direct correlation between social selling and top box quota attainment. Marketing can provide social selling guidelines and tools.

  • Guideline Toolkit: Training and steps on how to leverage LinkedIn.

  • World Class profile set-up
  • Steps to grow referral network
  • Process to generate social debt and referrals

  • Social Prospecting Tools: Leverage existing content and marketing expertise
    • Increase sales prospecting effectiveness
    • Enable continuity of brand messaging

    2. Contribute Buyer Process Map Insights

    The QBR will involve deep discussion of the sales forecast. Marketing is in a unique position to inform sales leaders with insights into the prospect’s process to buy. Imagine a discussion of a crucial deal that is stuck. Now imagine the scenario of marketing providing insights into the key micro decisions occuring at that stage in the buying process. Huge value contribution.

    World Class marketing teams develop Buying Process Maps (BPM’s). This tool maps the decision-making process used to purchase a product, a service, or a solution. Marketing is able to provide insights to the discussion by informing the team of key buyer actions.

    The dialogue goes both ways as the marketing leader also gains insights from sales to update the BPM.

    3. Integration of Marketing into Full QBR Agenda

    Marketing’s positive impact to a QBR is reflected in the structure of the agenda. With increased engagement the role of marketing will no longer be a ‘slot’ update in the sales agenda. Instead there will be a convergence of marketing’s contribution into the sales-oriented QBR discussion topics.

    Republished with author's permission from original post.

    Vince Koehler
    Vince is a demand generation thought leader with more than 16 years of industry and professional services experience. He has been chartered with "filling the funnel" for organizations to keep sales resources productive in driving systematic growth. A sample list of Vince's engagements include: Colgate, CITGO Petroleum, GE, Yellow Freight, and Roadway Express.


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