Best Practices to Ensure a Successful Quarterly Business Review

A quarterly business review (QBR) is a chance to bring together your executives and your clients’ executives to discuss the health of their business and your relationship, to discuss their future goals and plans, and to strategize how you can deliver more value to them based on those factors. These meetings can play a crucial role in the overall health and success of your customers, but they can also be very difficult to plan and execute. 

In a recent poll, we asked Customer Success professionals what their top challenges were when it came to performing QBRs. According to the responses, the number one challenge was engaging customers (37%), followed by creating a success plan (33%) and pulling relevant data (29%). Let’s take a look at why these challenges are important to the success of a QBR and what you can do to overcome them.

Engaging Customers in a QBR 

Quarterly business reviews give you an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with your clients as well as demonstrate the value that you are providing and will provide to them in the future. If they are not engaged in the process or even interested in having this review with you, however, that could mean that they are not engaged with your product or service – which could eventually lead to churn.

It’s important to segment customers to deliver more personalized experiences and offers to keep them engaged on a day-to-day basis. A QBR, however, is a chance for you to sit down with your customers and have an elevated discussion about their current and future needs and the value that you can provide them. 

To get your clients engaged in the QBR process, try these tips: 


  1. Create a detailed agenda

    and distribute it to all parties involved well in advance. This will give your customers a chance to understand what will be discussed and prepare a list of questions, concerns or other topics for discussion before the meeting so they are able to get the most value from it possible.

  2. Use data to tell a story

    . Remind the customer why they purchased your product or service and use data to show them how you have fulfilled those needs over the past quarter.

  3. Be transparent

    . A QBR is designed to build trust and strengthen relationships, so be honest about both your successes and your failures. Tell them where you’ve missed the mark and what you’re going to do to make it up and do better in the future. This will show your customer that you’re on their team and you’re willing to put in the work to help them reach their goals.

Creating a Customer Success Plan

During the QBR, you will identify the achievements you’ve made over the past quarter, the challenges your customer is facing, their goals for the future and the opportunities that lie ahead. Then, you’ll create a roadmap for the next 90 days. At the end of your QBR, your customer should walk away with a success plan that includes: 

  1. A very clear list of the goals and KPIs for the next quarter.
  2. Defined strategies for how you will overcome any roadblocks or solve any issues that would prevent these goals from being achieved.
  3. Any new opportunities or other products or services you discussed and how those will provide additional value to their business. 

Pulling the Right Data 

Bottom line: If you don’t have data to show your customers, don’t even bother having a QBR. Your words mean nothing if you don’t have the numbers to back them up, so you need to be able to gather, analyze and display data effectively. But not just any data; you need to show the right data. Here are three tips for pulling relevant data for your QBR:

  1. Demonstrate ROI

    Showcase the numbers and data that demonstrate what value you have provided to your customers over the past quarter.

  2. Use benchmarking data

     Clients love to know how well they are doing in comparison to similar companies or competitors as well as themselves quarter-over-quarter, so pull any correlating metrics and numbers to demonstrate that for them. It’s helpful to build a dashboard to make sure you are looking at the same data each quarter. This will not only help ensure you are comparing apples to apples, but will also help you identify trends, check-in on real-time performance to troubleshoot any issues, and save time pulling the data each quarter. Plus, you can share the dashboard with the customer to create transparency and build trust. This also provides an opportunity to shine a light on areas that customers are underutilizing and could be getting more value from. If there is a certain feature or service that you provide that has high value but low adoption, bring it up for discussion as they may not be aware of how best to utilize it. 

  3. Communicate their customer health score

    A customer health score takes multiple dimensions of customer data metrics and classifies them into a single representation of green, yellow or red. Essentially, this shows how much value you are providing to your customer and how much value they are providing back to your company. An open and honest discussion around your customer’s overall health is a great way to show how you are providing value as well as to discuss expansion opportunities for other products or services you can provide to increase that value.    

QBR Best Practices 

A quarterly business review can be an excellent tool for building rapport, strengthening relationships and ensuring renewals. Here are a few very simple best practices to follow to help make sure your next QBR is successful and engaging. 

    1. Invite the right people

      Make sure you have executive representation from both your company and your client’s.

    2. Have the meeting face-to-face

      Whether it’s a video call or an in-person event, you need to be able to see your client and share visual data representations. A phone call will not do.

    3. Keep it short and sweet

      A QBR does not need to run longer than one hour.

    4. Be honest and open to feedback

      Both negative and positive. Remember, this is a two-way conversation, so don’t get defensive and take any criticisms as an opportunity to improve.  

    5. Encourage collaboration

      People don’t want to just be presented to; they want an engaging conversation. It’s important to make time for questions and remind your clients that this is a two-way discussion.

    6. Schedule the next call

      It’s important to schedule your next call to review the progress outlined in your customer success plan.

And one final tip: Implement a Customer Success software solution, like Totango, to help you stay on top of your customer data, create early warning systems, and easily pull and display all of the most important data when it’s time for your QBR. Want to give it a shot? Sign up for Totango for free, today at Totango.com/sign-up!

 

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