Quarterly business reviews or QBRs as they are lovingly called (or with hate 😛) in the customer success world are a customer success manager’s second most important scheduled meeting with the customer. The first is obviously the customer onboarding meetings which are essential to retaining any B2B SaaS customer.
QBRs are a CSM’s chance to showcase how their product has met the customer’s KPIs. Plus an opportunity to present the future planning to get a customer’s feedback and sow the seeds for renewal and / or upsell.
However, there are several different types of QBRs. Each type of QBR has a specific purpose and timeline. How do you know which type of QBR should be conducted when? We have you covered.
There are primarily 3 Quarterly Business Review examples.
1. Based on Customer Lifecycle Stage
Depending on which stage the customer is at, they have different requirements, perspectives and expectations.
Different QBRs are conducted based on what tasks/milestones the customer has achieved and the exact stage the customer is at.
Onboarding Business Review
Onboarding is one of the most crucial steps to make the customer successful. Make sure you have an effective customer onboarding framework to onboard customers successfully.
Suggested read: Designing a customer onboarding framework for B2B SaaS
As the name suggests, Onboarding Business Review (OBR) is conducted after the customer has been onboarded. This is the first QBR for the customer. So, all major stakeholders (executives, sponsor, CSM from the customer’s side and the account manager, executive, CSM from your team) are expected to be present in this QBR.
OBRs are usually conducted when the onboarding process is long, say over a month.
In OBRs, feedback about the onboarding process, i.e., what went well, what was missing, what could be improved, is critical. Along with that, the customer expectations, the process to be followed, targets to be achieved and the date for the next business review is finalized.
Pre/ Post Renewal Business Review
Again the name is self explanatory. This type of QBR is conducted just before or just before/ after the contract is to be renewed/ has been renewed.
Renewal itself is a huge challenge/ opportunity (depending on the way you look at it. 😏) and hence deserves its own separate QBR.
Suggested read: How to increase the SaaS renewal rate for a recurring revenue business
By this time, the customer would have used your product enough and if the customer answers the following questions positively, then most likely the customer will renew your product.
- Has the customer achieved the outcomes that had been promised by your sales team?
- Have you been able to proactively help the customer and have solved their major pain points?
- Has the customer experience been good?
In this QBR, future plans of action and targets, discussing potential solutions of customer’s pending pain points along with explaining how your product is going to work in tandem with customer’s upcoming requirements is going to be discussed.
2. Based on the frequency of reviews
A common question that arises is how often should a business review be conducted. That depends on the business’ specific requirements, but following are the business reviews that are conducted in a periodic manner as their name suggests.
MBR, QBR, ABR
These are the usual periods after which business reviews are conducted.
Now whether the business review should be monthly (MBR), quarterly (QBR) or annually (ABR) depends on several factors like what kind of product you are selling, the stage the customer is at, requirements of the customer, etc.
Initially you can have monthly business reviews till the time the customer gets used to the product and achieves their first goal or if the customer needs to achieve a specific goal urgently.
Once the customer is on track then you can have quarterly or annual business reviews.
3. Review based on personnel
In this type of QBR, the business review mandates the presence of certain individuals.
EBR: Executive Business Review
As the name suggests in this business review, an executive’s presence is necessary. By executive I mean the Executive Sponsor from the customer’s side and the CSM from your side.
Why is the presence of the Executive Sponsor essential?
A Sponsor green lights the budget for using your product. They should be aware of the progress, what goals have been achieved, which goals have not been achieved and the reason behind that, along with future plans.
No matter how much your product is helping the customer, if the sponsor does not know about the results achieved, it may cause obstacles during the renewal process.
Similarly, the presence of the CSM helps them know which problems the product is currently solving and make a case for upsell, if required at the right time.
Here the focus has to be on discussing business values, problems, opportunities and not technical details. Technical details can be discussed with the customer’s team during periodic meetings.
These are the main quarterly business review examples. You would have conducted almost all the different types of business reviews mentioned here at some stage.
Which one of the above is the perfect QBR?
The answer is that the perfect QBR varies based on what stage the customer is at, what the requirement of the customer is and several other variables. After onboarding, OBR will be the perfect review while after a quarter, QBR will be the most beneficial.
Make sure you conduct business reviews to drive actual benefits and not for ticking another box off.
The various quarterly business review examples that I have given are for reference. Make sure you conduct the right type of review at the right time. That will give the customer success team enough time to work on the feedback and will eventually lead to MRR retention and growth.
To know more about how to increase customer retention, check out customersuccessbox.com.