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Quarterly Business Reviews: A Guide for Partnership Teams

Elevate your partnership team's performance with our strategic guide on quarterly business reviews.

If you’ve worked in SaaS for a while, you know not to bother revenue teams towards the end of quarter. The frantic push to get deals across the finish line is enough to make anyone pull their hair out.

But the nail-biting doesn’t stop there — GTM leaders have something else to prepare for after the end-of-quarter rush: quarterly business reviews.

In theory, quarterly business reviews (QBRs) assess team performance, create cross-functional alignment and evaluate company strategy. But how do you distill everything your team has achieved in the past quarter into an hour-long meeting? What, exactly, are the key metrics higher-ups expect you to present?

Below, we cover all that and more. Keep reading to learn what QBRs are, how partnership teams can best prepare for them, and why it’s worth putting in the extra effort — even after a busy quarter.

See more: Elevate your GTM game with our partner-led growth kit.

What are QBRs, and why are they important?

QBRs are strategic meetings that give executive leadership teams (VPs, CROs) a more in-depth picture of what a team has accomplished and a chance to weigh in on how things are going. Unlike the informal monthly reviews you might have with the marketing and/or sales team, quarterly business reviews aren’t status reports.

While QBR meetings do cover performance data for the past quarter, they also dive deeper into the details behind them, highlighting qualitative observations and identified areas of improvement. Besides ensuring teams are moving in the right direction, these meetings get everyone on the same page, surfacing opportunities to streamline processes and generating ideas to explore next quarter.

For partnership teams, QBR presentations are a massive opportunity to solidify how integral the partner team is to the company strategy, getting the team the attention and budget it deserves.

Related: Partner pros enabling their partner programs for success in 2024.

In this article, we discuss internal quarterly reviews, but you can use them externally, too. CS teams can host QBRs to get a read on existing customers’ business objectives, collect valuable customer feedback and share thoughts on how to help customers reach their goals. Partnerships teams can use QBRs to evaluate partner performance and set goals for the following quarter.

Essential components of an effective QBR

QBRs usually revolve around a written document or presentation showcasing how a team has moved the company strategy forward. But it’s not freeform — there are key performance indicators and analysis that every higher-up expects to see.

A visual showing the essential components of a partnership QBR: partner engagement, partner revenue, takeaways, partner enablement

For partnership teams, there are five main sections that we'll touch on below.

1. Partner revenue

This will be the most anticipated part of your presentation — after all, the main goal of partnerships is to boost revenue. But don’t just share the obvious revenue metrics like the number of leads or closed deals.

Show how partnerships support every phase of the sales cycle. Doing so can improve the team’s overall reputation and potentially increase future budgets. Some themes to get you thinking:

  • Awareness. Maybe some of your partners didn’t send you leads directly but have invited your reps to events, sent co-marketing campaigns, or made intros to other partners who got you in front of prospects you wouldn’t have reached otherwise. Find a way to report on this.
  • Quality. How many partner leads did sales actually follow up on? If you have a distinction for this in your PRM or CRM, like partner-qualified leads, this number should be easy to calculate.
  • Influence. Do partners get deals to close faster than deals without a partner involved? Do they bring you bigger deals? Use these numbers to demonstrate how much value they bring to sales strategy.

Native reports in your PRM can help you gather these data points quickly. In PartnerStack, for example, these reports are easy to filter and customize and can be exported to combine with other sales data from your CRM.

These numbers may not mean much in and of themselves, so find a way to weave in some context. You could add a QoQ or YoY comparison to show how much something has improved. Or you could add some qualitative examples, like specific deals where a partner really wooed a decision-maker. Details like these drive your point: Partnerships are critical to the company’s revenue motion.

2. Partner enablement

Clear onboarding and robust training can have a huge impact on partner performance. So show upper management what you’re doing to get your partners up to speed.

Some relevant KPIs to highlight could be:

  • Reduction in one-on-one training after moving to a PRM
  • Increased click-through rates in an email onboarding sequence
  • Trainings completed in the first quarter of onboarding
  • Total number of certifications by partner
  • Number of certifications posted on LinkedIn
  • Results of course satisfaction surveys 

Again, take a moment to add some color. Juxtapose these numbers against last year’s or spotlight a partner’s testimonial about your program.

3. Partner engagement

Partner engagement can take on many forms, but a good baseline metric to share in this section is your partner activation rate. This is the percentage of partners that sign up for your program that gain or add value to the program.

From there, back up how you achieved that activation rate with metrics like:

  • Logins to the partner portal
  • Number of content library downloads
  • Number of co-marketing events (and # of quality leads that resulted)
  • Use of referral links
  • Channel retention
  • Participation in incentive campaigns
  • Meeting attendance
  • Average partner NPS or satisfaction score

4. Other initiatives

Don’t forget about process and technology. Maybe you implemented a new lead routing process or referral handoff to sales. What was the upside of those changes?

Or maybe you implemented a new PRM this year. A project like that has the potential to take your partner program to the next level. Be sure to spell out the significance of these projects for your audience.

5. Takeaways

What really makes a QBR shine is telling a story. Ask yourself:

  • What obstacles did you face this quarter, and how did you overcome them?
  • What trends have you noticed while reviewing the data that you can act on in the next quarter or next year?
  • How are you setting your team up for success? Can you share some ideas for better team cross-collaboration?

Taking this extra step to review what you’ve learned and what you plan to do about it shows that your team isn’t just going through the motions. They’re proactively adding to the company’s growth.

An image showing hands holding a small trophy, indicating celebrating the small wins

Tips for conducting a productive QBR

A great QBR isn’t just about having a solid deck or written document. It’s also about pre-call collaboration, in-call participation and post-call actionable insights. Here are a few things to consider before and during the QBR.

Checklist: Do these things before the QBR

  • Review your company’s strategic goals and tie metrics back to them wherever possible.
  • Figure out who is presenting which sections.
  • Do a practice run-through with your team and incorporate feedback.
  • Brainstorm a list of potential questions you’ll get from upper management and craft a few bullet points you can use to answer them eloquently.
  • Share your slides or document with attendees so they can familiarize themselves with the information.

Checklist: Do these things during the QBR

  • Request people’s full attention. Suggest that they close other tabs on their computers, and if you’re in person, put away their cell phones.
  • Pause for questions. This is a good way to gauge how the call is going and help you jump to other parts of the presentation based on people’s interests.
  • You’ll probably be too busy focusing on the conversation to take notes. Designate a team member to do so or use an AI tool to create and summarize a transcript.

Post-QBR analysis and follow-up

The work is almost over! Now it’s time to review the notes you took and start to parse out the questions you still need to address and the new strategies or ideas you plan to pursue. Make a plan for incorporating these projects and activities into your workflow so you have results to share at your next QBR.

And finally, take a moment to celebrate your successes with the team. Partnerships folks have a tough job and it’s important to recognize everyone’s hard work — throughout the quarter and in preparing for the QBR.

Want to make your lives easier going into next quarter? Check out PartnerStack, the best partner platform for B2B SaaS. Schedule a live demo to see how the platform can help you onboard and activate partners quickly, drive partner engagement, and analyze overall program performance.

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