effective ways to QBR

Top 8 Ways to Conduct an Effective and Valuable Quarterly Business Reviews

Conducting an effective and valuable Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) is a challenge in itself. By having a QBR, your intention is to meet with the client to discuss business and support them in achieving their objectives. Sounds easy and straightforward, right? 

The conceptualization of a QBR is far easy than its implementation. Right from planning the meeting to getting your executive sponsors and champions to the meeting is a hard task. This is exactly why most of the QBRs fail terribly in getting desired results. If you want to nail the review meetings, you must understand the nuances as they are. 

You should know what is a QBR and most importantly, what it is not. 

Quarterly Business Review Template

What is a Quarterly Business Reviews(QBR)?

Also known simply as Business Review or Executive Business Review (EBR), it is a once-per-quarter review meeting that you conduct with your customers. More often than not, due to its complexity, the meeting is conducted only once or twice a year. Rather than understanding what Quarterly Business Reviews are, it’s crucial to understand what it’s not. 

  • It’s neither the time nor the place to ask support questions.
  • It’s not the time to plan training for your clients.
  • A QBR is not the place to talk about your business/product. 

A Review meeting is an opportunity to understand your customers and their business at a much deeper level. QBRs must allow you to demonstrate the value that your product has been able to achieve for your client. They help foster strong customer relationships. 

Creating a Quarterly Business Reviews Plan

By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

Having a plan is a must. During the Quarterly Business Review(QBR) you have to list out challenges faced by the customer, the progress made so far, and, the plan for next quarter as well. It’s about creating more of a roadmap for the next 90 days. A QBR plan is essentially prepared for the next quarter based on the achievements claimed so far. 

For a foolproof plan, it is important to adhere to some of the best practices that ensure an effective QBR. 

  • Prepare a list of KPIs and goals that the customer wants to achieve in the next quarter. 
  • Invite the right set of people. 
  • Keep the meetings brief. 
  • Be open to accepting constructive feedback. 
  • Present the right data and value that you delivered.

Do you find it hard to get executive sponsors to attend QBRs? Check out the detailed blog on how to get the sponsors to attend the QBR

8 ways to conduct an Effective and valuable Quarterly Business Reviews

8 ways to conduct effective Quarterly Business Reviews

Plan the meeting well in advance 

As mentioned earlier, planning is essential. Be prepared with the presentation and all the relevant information that needs to be shown to the customer. A deliberate structure of the plan is critical to a productive client QBR. Arm yourselves with a clear timeline, plan, and presentation to showcase your progress.

The current pandemic situation has resorted many SaaS firms to completely go virtual with the meetings. If you want to know more about conducting QBR remotely, this blog will be a good place to start.

Appoint a moderator 

As basic it sounds, more often than not, people don’t do that. Have a senior CSM, or VP of Customer Success, or a Product head to lead the meeting. Preparation of the plan must be done by the appointed person so that he knows what needs to be discussed. A moderator’s job will not only include the seamless presentation of the agenda but also the ancillary responsibilities that come with it. 

Set the Agenda Clearly 

Ensure all participating stakeholders receive the “agenda” well ahead of the QBR. This will keep the meeting from going off track. This would help the customers prepare the points that they would like to discuss during the meeting, saving time. Also, share the agenda before time. Concise and clear communication serves the purpose here. 

Start with Customer’s Objectives

Present the QBR from the customer’s point of view. Focus on your client’s needs and understand how you can support them. Pay attention to what they’re saying and also what they’re not saying. Show that you care for them and once they know that they’ll open up more to you. 

Client goals need to be the foundation of any QBR. If your customer does not have SMART goals, then it is your responsibility to clearly define those goals. Measuring performance is only possible when you have measurable goals. 

Drive Customer Success throughout the Customer Journey!

Show the Progress made so far using data (emphasize ROI)

This is the opportunity that you’ve been waiting for to highlight the ROI. Use data to show the same. Numbers are important. It emphasizes that you’re serious about them achieving the goals they purchased your product for. Ask yourself if you’ve fulfilled the needs that your clients wanted to achieve. Show data points and numbers that show the value you have delivered in the 90-day period.

Yes, data is vital. Without numbers, you would be clueless as to how you’re performing. When you discuss these numbers with your customers, ensure that they see the why’s and how’s behind the data. The customer doesn’t care about numbers. What they truly care about is the RESULT. They want to know what value your product has given them.  

Prepare and have the relevant information with you before the meeting:

  • When did the customer start working with you?
  • What was the value of this specific customer prior to your product? 
  • What is the Value growth that s/he witnessed?

If the result obtained is what they expected, then you don’t have to worry about renewals. They’ll stay with you for as long as they continue to get value. 

Look closely for new opportunities

Opportunities can come in any form. It can be in the form of support tickets, feedback, or even a challenge that customer faces. Pay close attention to anything and everything that a customer shares. Providing timely responses will help customers in crossing these roadblocks quickly and easily. 

Take cues from customer’s evolving needs and expectations. As their business grows and your product matures, the value expectation skyrockets. An incredible opportunity for expansion revenue lies hidden in these nuances. You just need to know from where and how to dig it out. 

Suggested Reading: The 3 Quarterly Business Review example

Plan for next Quarter and Schedule the next QBR

An honest and open conversation with your customers must be the goal for each and every QBR. It should allow both parties to share what worked and what did not. Collaboration is key here. Plan about the processes that need to be improved. Set the relevant metrics and KPIs that need to be measured regularly. When the QBR is over, your customer must know exactly what to expect in the coming 90-day time period. 

This is about creating a roadmap for the next quarter. It will keep the customer aligned with your plans, thus ensuring renewals and probably, upsells as well. Don’t leave the meeting until you have scheduled the next QBR. 

Quarterly Business Review Template

Save last 10 minutes for open-ended dialogue

Keeping the meetings small has its own advantages and having a short Q&A session right after is helpful. These 10 minutes (can vary depending on various factors) can help in gauging how satisfied or dissatisfied your customers are with the presentation. 

This will also help you analyze how likely they are going to renew their contract. You can possibly act on the cues and avoid any potential churn that might happen. It gives confidence to the customers as they will get to voice their concerns and questions during this length of time. A dialogue, instead of a monologue, always helps. 

Final thoughts on conducting Quarterly Business Reviews

If you want to conduct an effective and valuable QBR,  you need to know your customers in and out. That includes understanding their objectives, needs, successes, and even their failures. This knowledge is crucial in setting up the foundation of any review meeting. 

Once you’ve done that, follow the above-mentioned 8 points to make the QBR process smooth and simple for you and valuable for your customers. Since most relationships, flourish through clear, candid, and continuous communication, it’s good to have best practices in place that allow you to build a strong one.

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

Content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox | An avid reader, a passionate writer and a life long learner | Writer @ Hacker Noon | B2B SaaS & Customer Success enthusiast |