What Is a QBR? How to Make Quarterly Business Reviews Count
A quarterly business review (QBR) gives you four opportunities per year to showcase the value your product delivers to customers. For a SaaS company, an excellent QBR strategy can help you ensure you’re providing a product experience that will make customers want to renew their subscription during renewal time. In this article, we’ll cover the essentials of QBRs and how to make them work for your SaaS business. We’ll start by examining the question of what a QBR is so that you have a clear understanding of this valuable tool. Then, we’ll look at the benefits of conducting QBRs, and finally, we’ll look at three keys to effective QBRs and how using the right technology can help you optimize your QBR strategy.
What Is a QBR?
A quarterly business review is a customer meeting conducted every three months to discuss how well you’re meeting your customer’s desired outcomes and what adjustments you can make to achieve your customer’s future goals. QBR meetings revolve around how your product’s value aligns with your customer’s goals and expectations. A review typically includes a discussion of how well you’ve been meeting your customer’s goals since your last QBR and what new objectives and strategies your customer wants to pursue in the future. Key performance indicators play a crucial role in assessing current value and setting future goals and benchmarks.
The course of a QBR may cover:
- A review of previous goals and current performance
- An analysis of obstacles impeding performance and solutions
- Identification of new objectives, strategies, and KPIs to measure success
The focus on value in QBR meetings makes them distinct from other types of customer meetings. QBRs don’t focus on customer technical support issues, although they may touch on technical issues as these impact customer outcomes. Nor do they center on customer subscription renewal, although they may set the stage for successful renewal by aligning customer experience with desired objectives. QBR meetings focus on ensuring customers receive value consistent with their expectations from when they purchased your product and highlighting opportunities to make adjustments that ensure customers will continue to receive value.
Why Have a QBR?
The purpose of a QBR is to keep your customer’s experience of your product aligned with the goals and value they hope to achieve from purchasing your product. The argument for having a QBR is that periodic meetings can help you and your customer make adjustments, allowing them to continue deriving value from their purchase and avoiding issues that could cause churn. For SaaS providers and customer success teams, this creates several benefits, including:
- Building customer relationships
- Raising customers’ awareness of the value they’re already receiving from your product
- Clarifying communication about customers’ values, goals, and satisfaction with product performance
- Allowing you to identify issues that are impeding customer success outcomes and satisfaction
- Helping you and your customers develop strategies to achieve successful outcomes
- Providing opportunities to refine KPIs for measuring success
- Empowering you to correct factors that can contribute to customer churn
- Laying a foundation for customer renewal and expansion
These benefits make QBRs highly advantageous for SaaS companies. Building QBRs into your standard operating procedures can yield significant increases in customer retention and a reduction in churn.
What Makes a Great QBR?
Conducting an effective quarterly business review depends on several key elements:
- Clear goals: Having a clear intention behind your QBR session and communicating explicitly about your customer’s goals can help make your meeting as productive as possible.
- A strategic approach: Leading with a discussion of wins helps set the stage for a positive, engaging conversation rather than a slog of negativity. A checklist of items to be covered can help you focus on positive improvements. Essentials include a performance review, a performance comparison with the customers’ previous goals, an analysis of closing performance gaps, and an action plan for achieving desired results, including measurable KPIs.
- A forward-looking outcome: Keeping the focus on seizing opportunities and overcoming challenges with proactive solutions can help steer the meeting toward a productive conclusion. End with a clear action plan looking forward to your next steps.
Incorporating these guidelines into your QBR planning can help ensure your meetings achieve the desired results for you and your customers.
The Future of the QBR Is Here
Your quarterly business review strategy can be supported by technology that helps you set the stage for productive QBR meetings and implement post-meeting action plans. With the right technology, you don’t necessarily have to wait until the end of a quarter to engage customers about performance progress. Digital customer success platforms enable you to track performance throughout your customers’ lifecycle and engage them at any point in their journey. You can continually monitor whether customers are meeting goals established in QBR meetings. When necessary, you can then take appropriate actions immediately without waiting until the next scheduled QBR meeting.
For example, let’s say achieving your customer’s last set of QBR goals implies a certain level of usage. Still, your KPI monitoring indicates that their account activity has dropped significantly below this level. This might trigger an automated message to your CS representative to reach out and check on the customer’s account.
This ability to react to customer events in a meaningful way in real-time is at the heart of the effective use of QBRs to achieve customer success. Certain events can hurt your customer satisfaction if you wait to address them in a QBR that might be weeks or maybe even months away.
The Totango customer success platform makes it easy for you to design and run customer journeys that deliver outcomes established in QBR sessions at the individual level and at scale. The platform combines automated workflows that optimize each customer journey stage with KPI monitoring to trigger workflows to achieve successful outcomes.
Automate Your QBR Strategy to Elevate Your Results
QBRs give you periodic opportunities to check progress toward customer goals and make adjustments to achieve desired results. This helps you keep performance aligned with customer goals to ensure that the value you’re delivering is consistent with outcomes that promote subscription renewals. A winning QBR strategy is characterized by clear goals, a strategic approach, and forward-looking outcomes. Automation can support your QBR strategy by helping you monitor and deliver value throughout your customer lifecycle.
Totango’s platform with the new Reports Factory presentation builder makes it easier than ever for you to deliver excellent QBR outcomes with no coding knowledge. Try for free to see how Totango can help you elevate your QBR results.