While it might sound straightforward, a Quarterly Business Reviews’ purpose is to investigate, more than simply just reviewing the past quarter. You need to focus on the key metrics that deserve to be expanded on and identify the ones to keep short and simple. The end goal of a QBR is to deepen the relationship and solidify it.
As easy as it is to grasp the concept of a successful QBR, in practice, a lot of us still miss the mark. QBRs should be strategic, not tactical, and that’s where a lot of teams fall short. If you go into a QBR focusing on the product, you can bet the executives present won’t be attending your next QBR, and that’s a huge missed opportunity.
What Are QBRs?
A QBR is a formal meeting during which CSMs and Customers review and analyze goals, formulate a forward plan, and agree on action items that will drive success aligned with their company goals. QBRs are your best tool to drive customer accountability. Accountable customers want to take initiatives to get more out of your solution, they take control of their experience, and they are eager to grow with you. This is why you need to polish the mechanics of your QBRs in order to make it effective.
The golden rule for QBRs is to have the appropriate stakeholders present. QBRs are alternatively called Executive Business Reviews because they’re exactly that, Executive focused.
Don’t Talk Tickets, Talk Value
Much too often, QBRs focus on product features and tickets, without a plan or a purpose. If you’re trying to cover every small thing that happened since the last QBR, you’ll have to rush through, and you won’t have any time left for discussion. A QBR is your chance to gain a full understanding of the customer’s business, needs, and future plans. If you’re talking at the customer presenting your KPIs and tickets, you’re missing on a golden opportunity to create value with your champion and their boss at the table.
Behind every great delivery is solid preparation. Work the data beforehand and select which elements need to be discussed. During the QBR, present and run the meeting, but use open-ended questions and look for answers that are actionable and honest. Focusing the QBR around how to deliver value for their business will not only build rapport, it will create trust, which in turns helps you solidify the relationship.
To understand how to lay out a progressive and appropriate timeline for the next quarter, you need to present a list of business outcomes and ask your customer which one resonates with them the best - and of course, ask them to expand.
A great way to get you started on the path of value-oriented QBRs is to discuss the original objectives by laying out the progress, sharing relevant benchmarks, and re-evaluate with the keyholders.
Budget The Right Amount of Time and Stay on Schedule
Realistically, how long should that take? A safe bet is asking for 60 minutes, but if you feel that it’s not enough once you’ve tried it a few times, you should experiment with 90 minutes.
There are few rules to follow when it comes to QBR length:
Always ensure that whatever is simple enough to be sent in a report stays off the table. Mentioning metrics and features just for the sake of mentioning them is not the right way to go about QBRs. You need to be master of topics you introduce, whatever element you identify as critical can be brought up because you are ready to answer any questions thrown your way, can explain the why how and when, and can deliver value around it. Other “mentions” can be sent in a follow-up report.
If you run out of things to say, cut it short. The time of your QBR participants is incredibly valuable. If you booked 60 minutes but everything has been covered in 35 minutes, end it early. Attendees will appreciate getting these 25 extra minutes in their day.
Don’t allow for tactical tangents. When you feel the conversation getting bogged down into product questions and specifics, offer to take the conversation offline. You can easily set up a dedicated meeting for these discussions with your customer champion, but their boss does not need to be in the room watching you work out the nitty-gritty. The QBR is your chance to have an executive sponsor and a full team at the table, so use it strategically.
Don’t talk “at” your customer, engage.
If the QBR is a success, follow-up and ask the customer to become an advocate.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand their perspective coming into the QBR.
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