Effective QBR

Decoding the QBR myth- How to conduct an effective QBR

Business reviews provide the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with stakeholders. In some cases, if you are not aware of the right stakeholders- it will help you get connected and understand the perceived value of the product/service you are providing.

Be it a Quarterly Business Reviews(QBR) or an EBR, these have the potential to gain customer trust, encourage them to interact with the company more frequently, and is an opportunity for the firm to identify if the customer is getting the promised value or not. 

Moreover, it also gives you the closest answers to critical questions like:

  • Where are the customers on their Success plan?
  • Are they heading in the right direction with you?
  • What comes next?
  • Where could they use your product?
  • What are the short-term and long-term priorities of the customer?,
  • How is the company doing overall?, etc.

However, answering these questions is not easy. Many CS professionals across the globe still don’t understand the criticality of business reviews. This is why we, at CustomerSuccessBox, thought of interviewing CS leaders to understand their perspective of Quarterly Business Reviews. We hope to give a fresh perspective regarding the Quarterly Business Reviews process which will take your customer success efforts to the next level.

Following are the excerpts from the interviews conducted by us with Emily (McMillan) Garza, MBA, Mary Poppen, Sue Nabeth Moore, Aaron Thompson. and Madhur Choudhury. Let’s dive right into the interview without further ado

Emily Garza

Emily Mc Milan- AVP Fastly

Emily is AVP, Customer Success at Fastly. She is a customer-focused professional with a passion for growing and developing talent, creating efficient solutions to complex challenges, and creating strategy and structure.

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

Emily: A Business Review is important to discuss the customer’s long-term strategy and get alignment from the executive buyer. It also allows you to share the roadmap for your company and see where projects may overlap. It provides a more structured meeting for key introductions, such as executives or product managers to meet with the customer.

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

Emily: Depending on the topics you are going to cover in the QBR, different teams may be called upon to help or participate:

  • Product : Roadmap, Status on feature requests made by the customer
  • Marketing: Upcoming opportunities for joint PR, case study
  • Executives: Attendance to drive strategic agenda

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!

Emily: We require an internal call to be held with attendees at least three days prior to the customer meeting. This allows everyone to align on the objective(s) of the meeting, determine who will cover what topic, and ensure all relevant discussion points are included. Doing this more than the day before allows for any needed changes to be researched and built-in.

If an executive is attending the meeting, at least five days prior, we will share an executive briefing document to share an overview of the customer (and provide insight in case they cannot attend the prep call).

Can you point us towards the most important learnings?

Emily: 1. Get customer buy-in on the agenda and objectives.

2. Align with internal resources a few days before the meeting to ensure all needed topics are covered and there is a cohesive flow

3. Send notes and an outline of follow-ups within 24-48 hours (depending on the timing of the meeting and gathering internal buy-in on the notes)

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

1. Is the executive willing to attend another QBR? (ie: did they see value)

2. Did the customer talk at least 50% of the meeting?

3. Did you achieve your meeting objective?

Tell us a major win which you had because of QBR/EBR

Emily: During QBRs, we’ve met new contacts, learned of upcoming growth opportunities, and gotten buy-in for PR opportunities.

How do you implement QBR/EBR as a success strategy?

Emily: We have our QBR process built into our CS tool with major steps outlined and templates included to help streamline the process for our CSMs. Each QBR will be unique, but now CSMs can focus their time on the personalized content rather than the process or template. This also ensures that CSMs go about approaching QBRs in a similar way, which makes it easier when we have to transition accounts from one CSM to another – the customer gets the same experience.

Did you feel anytime that QBR/EBR is not only for your internal adoption of the tool, but it also helped customers? Can you share any related incidents?

Emily: The QBR should be beneficial for the customer. If it isn’t, it shouldn’t be held. If you don’t have enough content for a QBR, reconsider how you want to approach it. It may be best just to hold a cadence meeting with your main contacts. See more on cadence meetings here: https://mag.revgenius.com/customer-success-cadence-meetings/ 

What are the prerequisites for a QBR? Do you prepare a PPT or a document of any kind and send it across to your customer beforehand?

Emily: We always build slides for a QBR – but depending on the customer and situation, we may not always use them. By building the slides, it allows the CSM to go through the action of gathering all the relevant information and putting it together in a relevant way. It also creates a good artifact to look back on what information was discussed.

Quarterly Business Review Template

P.S. – The main image has been taken from pexels.com

Swagata is Head of Marketing 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.