Is your quarterly business review (QBR) dead?
If not, perhaps it should be.
Let me explain.
If your QBRs are the same dry dissertation they’ve been for years, then it’s time to let it die.
Nobody looks forward to these extended PowerPoint presentations that are all about you, your company, and your product. C-level customer execs don’t even attend anymore, and you wish you didn’t need to be there either. If they were more interesting and relevant, everyone would likely want to participate in these meetings.
So, yes, your classic QBR should be dead. Then, you can revive it as the fresh, modern, engaging, and purposeful meeting it should be.
In this post we look at why the classic QBR should be dead, what a modern QBR is, and modern QBR preparation.
Let’s get started.
Why the Classic QBR Should Be Dead
The traditional QBR just isn’t effective anymore or a good use of anyone’s time. That’s why it’s gotten so difficult to generate interest in sitting through one of these boring meetings. What makes them so bad?
Excessively Long PowerPoint Presentations
Your customers aren’t interested in walking through detailed reports. You only need to create a few slides that highlight key points that provide context for your conversations with these clients.
These meetings often become an hour-long diatribe with the account manager reading through every slide in their extensive slide show. Your clients know how to read. So, skip your song and dance.
The content of these meetings is all about you and your company. Customers don’t want to hear you talk about your company history, new headquarters building, or why you’re so wonderful.
Classic QBRs typically review historical data and tactical information like service tickets. If you feel it's necessary to share this information with your clients, don’t waste valuable face time reviewing it with them.
There is little to no time to have a dialogue with the customer when you spend most of the time talking at them instead of with them.
Planned in Isolation
Preparing for classic QBRs has become just another box to check and is often prepared solely by the account manager without input from anyone else. The result is a meeting that may or may not have meaning for anyone in the room.
What is a Modern QBR?
A modern QBR is the antithesis of the classic QBR. When your client sees that you’re taking a new approach and breathing life into your meetings with them, they’re likely to come back to the table. What does the new version of QBR look like?
Quarterly isn’t necessarily the right frequency for review meetings with your clients. The best cadence depends on the amount of day-to-day engagement you have with your clients.
For example, if you are constantly in contact with your client, you can schedule review meetings less than every 3 months. On the other hand, if you aren’t communicating with your client routinely, you may want to schedule review meetings every 2-4 weeks or so. This enables you to stay current with your client in this constantly evolving market and unpredictable economic environment.
Keep presentations short and sweet by covering high points in the form of insights. Detailed reporting can be shared with the customer ahead of the meeting for their reference. This allows more time for meaningful in-person discussions with the client.
Your clients want new insights, guidance, and help solving their problems or achieving their goals. When the entire meeting is relevant to these topics, you’ll pique your customer’s interest because this is a useful and worthwhile use of their time.
A review meeting is the best time to deepen your relationship with and understanding of your client. Asking voice of customer (VOC) or radically authentic discovery questions is a great way to accomplish this. These questions prompt meaningful discussion with executive customer leadership, demonstrate your sincere interest, and help elevate you to trusted advisor status in the eyes of your client.
Plan for Success
It’s beneficial to end a review meeting by summing up progress made toward existing goals, and then listing new goals and preliminary plans to achieve them. Agree on metrics to gauge success and get commitment from all relevant parties to participate in the plan of action. Lastly, schedule your next engagement with the client.
Preparing for a Modern QBR
Creating a modern QBR requires more than simply running a bunch of reports and plugging data into a PowerPoint template. Follow these steps to streamline the process and create a better QBR experience for everyone in attendance.
Automate QBR Minutia
Leverage automation like Kapta’s QBR tools instead of running around gathering historical data and metrics, an agenda, presentation, and email invitations. This eliminates time-consuming admin tasks and frees up time for strategic planning, to create a more valuable review meeting experience.
Conduct an Internal Account Review
Gather all internal stakeholders involved in the success of the customer account to review all essential account data such as org charts and client profiles, VOC responses, SWOT analysis, existing account plans, KPIs, and contracts. This gives you a broader picture of the current state of the customer and enables you to get input from other departments engaged with the account.
Co-Create With Your Client
Collaboratively create the meeting agenda with your champion for a more balanced experience that focuses on topics of interest to all participants. In fact, get your client invested in the event by asking them to lead a discussion or present some valuable information during the engagement.
Share Meeting Materials in Advance
Create a more productive session by sharing meeting materials ahead of time with all customer attendees. Be sure to point executive contacts to specific aspects of the detailed information to save them time. Remind them that you will be only summarizing key insights during the meeting.
Then ask them to prepare any questions they may have so they can be discussed during the meeting.
Prepare for Strategic and Meaningful Engagement
Block off time before each QBR for strategic preparation. After reviewing all the account information and data, identify any gaps that need to be filled. For example, if there have been organizational changes the QBR is a great time to update your knowledge of the customer’s org chart.
Likewise, as you identify account opportunities and threats while completing your SWOT analysis, you should plan to discuss these with the client. And, of course, it’s essential to review progress toward customer goal attainment and discuss any necessary adjustments to the current action plan.
But that’s not all you want to discuss. The QBR is a valuable opportunity to ask your customer thoughtful, strategic VOC or radically authentic discovery questions like:
How changing market conditions are impacting your client
How they feel about the service, communications, and progress toward your goals
How would they react if a competitor contacted them tomorrow and why
These are all open-ended questions that stimulate meaningful conversation that deepens the relationship and delivers valuable insights.
Transform Your QBRs
It’s time to stop boring your VIP customers with a self-centered lengthy monologue. Allow your classic QBR to die and replace it with a modern QBR format. When you make your QBRs engaging and meaningful, your will clients look forward to your review meetings. They’ll start to see you as the strategic partner they desire and become long-term advocates.
See how Kapta enables modern strategic QBR preparation. Schedule a demo today.