Effective QBR

Decoding the QBR myth-Interview with Aaron Thompson

At CustomerSuccessBox, thought of interviewing Customer Success leaders to understand their perspective of Quarter Business Review. We hope to give a fresh perspective regarding the QBR process which will take your customer success efforts to the next level.

Aaron Thompson is a Customer Success Connector, Educator & Keynote Speaker, and is currently the Chief Revenue Officer for SuccessHACKER. 

Why is QBR/EBR important? How does it help your customers?

Aaron: QBR/EBR is in my opinion a ‘necessary evil’ of Customer Success. Since we need to abide by the “3 D’s” of Customer Success: Define, Deliver and Demonstrate success. QBR/EBR’s are our chance to do the 3rd D…Demonstrate. We must demonstrate to the Executive Sponsor / Buyer, what value their organization is receiving from the outcomes and experiences we are delivering. So while we Define success in Success Planning, and Deliver success daily/weekly/monthly via our transactions both technically and human first, we need to Demonstrate that work. And we do so via QBR/EBRs.

Have you seen any impact on internal teams due to the QBR/EBR?

Aaron: When done correctly, QBR/EBRs will help create additional internal alignment. Having a chance to be in front of, and learn from, our Executive Sponsor around what they care about and are looking to accomplish, we can be better internally at prioritizing what matters to our customer base. There’s a HUGE opportunity for improvements, roadmap insights, and much more Voice of The Customer (VOC) data insights by way of QBR/EBRs.

How do you prep a team? As I know, building that process takes a lot. If you can share your experience & tips with young managers, that would be great!

Aaron: Have them build the discussion topics WITH the Customer Champion. The person that is an SME (Subject Matter Expert) and serves as Champion of adoption to the wider spread user base, can assist in knowing what KPIs the Sponsor cares about, what signals they have used internally…and we can make the Champion look good in front of their leadership.

Can you point us towards the most important learnings?

Aaron: Get creative. Don’t expect Executive Sponsors to be able to make a 1-hour call each quarter. Nor should they need to. Focus on the goal: To Demonstrate The Value We’ve Been Providing. We can do that in many more creative ways than a phone call. Reporting, analytics, benchmarking, time/cost savings analysis, are all ways to do that demonstration without dragging them into a live meeting every 3 months.

How do you measure success? It gets tricky to quantify the success of QBR, so would love to know how you go about that?

Aaron: The more conversational it is, the better QBR/EBR it will be. Don’t prepare a presentation talking about how great you did at putting out fires and fixing bugs. They didn’t want to have the fire/bug in the first place, so the time at which we fixed it, is irrelevant in our goal: To Demonstrate The Value They’ve Been Receiving. Instead, prepare a list of questions about Desired Outcomes and Desired Experiences they want to receive by way of their relationship with your brand and team. And the more conversational in nature it is, the more we’ll get out of it in terms of a path forward, and to create internal alignment around those goals.

Swagata is a growth marketer at CustomerSuccessBox. Advocate for great customer experience. She is an avid traveler and when she is not working always on the lookout for new places to explore.