Overcome 6 Myths About QBRs to Boost Customer Engagement, Outcomes, and Revenue

Are your customers engaging with your quarterly business reviews (QBRs)?

Most QBRs are a total waste. We miss the opportunity to connect, convey our message, and learn more about our customers because our approach hasn’t changed with the times.
We continue to do things the way we’ve always done them.  We have a lot of outdated ideas and terrible habits relating to our QBRs. According to Kapta’s conversations with end customers, a lot of them are purposely avoiding your QBRs. They’re not too busy and it’s not that they didn’t see your email. The truth is that they saw your email and decided that they didn’t care enough to show up to the QBR.

This means that account managers have a tool with the potential to effectively build customer relationships, become a trusted advisors, and move up the ladder in terms of a partnership.

However, because customers don’t see any value in these meetings, you’re missing out on these opportunities.

We know that this is an area of confusion and consternation to account managers and customer success managers. So, we hosted a webinar with Bob London to show us a way to rethink and reframe how we’re approaching our QBRs.

Bob is a customer discovery and listening expert who has conducted more than 2700 B2B customer discovery conversations over the last seven years. He also teaches teams how to have more strategic business conversations that drive insights and real revenue.

Read on to learn about the six QBR myths Bob shared during the webinar and how you can overcome them.

6 QBR Myths Busted

Bob has identified six misconceptions that we have about QBRs. Through his experience he has found these myths to be false. During our webinar, he reviewed these misconceptions and revealed what he found to be the truth.

Myth #1: They want to be here. No customer ever said, “When I grow up, I want to be a software user or a customer.”  Being a customer is a designation created by vendors. When someone buys something, they become a user, customer, or persona.

The Truth: Customers don’t want to be customers. They just want to do their job well. They are experts in their business, not your product. They only want to use your product to some greater good for themselves, to do a good job, get recognized, or get a promotion.

That happens when they help their company overcome its challenges and achieve its priorities. So, to engage the customer, we’ve got to stop talking about ourselves and our products, and we need to be more curious about them.

Myth #2: We must always have a tightly scripted agenda. The guardrail of that conversation is the reason your customers aren’t showing up for your QBRs, because they don’t get to talk about the things they really want to discuss.

The Truth: You may need something in writing to ensure the customer knows what the meeting’s about, but don’t take it to extremes. According to Bob, when you meet without an agenda of trying to get them to do what you want them to do, customers are more candid.

Removing the guardrails from the conversation gets customers to open up about what’s really happening in their world and share their real pain points, priorities, and challenges.

Myth #3: If it’s important, the customer will tell us.

The Truth: If you put more effort into asking questions that relate to the customer’s world, they become more transparent because you’re asking about them and their company. That’s what they are experts in, so they start to be more candid and revealing in their responses.

That means that you get more insights and build more trust. Once there is trust, candor and transparency become greater, you learn more, and can better support your clients.

Myth #4: You need a lot of slides and stats.

The Truth: Slides have become almost like another entity in the meeting. It’s like, “Hi, I’m Bob, and this is my document, Doc. He is going to have some things to say on his slides.” So, the customer isn’t sure if they should look at the slides, Bob, or back and forth.

The slides, of course, are about us. They’re about usage, stats, and things we want from the customer like a testimonial or referral.

Slides get in the way of meaningful dialogue and authenticity. Skip the slides or significantly reduce them.

Myth #5: Customers won’t talk about their broader priorities or strategy. Bob hears this from teams that he teaches and coaches. They say things like, “My customer is just a system administrator, they’re not going to know what the big priorities are for the company.

The Truth: This is false according to Bob. Your customers know these things because companies are doing a much better job of flowing information throughout the organization since employees demand it.

Employees want to know why they are doing their job, why it’s important, and what the company is trying to achieve. Even if the customer doesn’t give you a specific insight into what’s happening in the board meeting, it’s disarming to ask these questions at the beginning of a conversation.

When you ask them about things like what’s going on at the company, how things are going, and what the latest all-hands meeting update was, they will talk your ear off.

Myth #6: We have to keep talking during the entire meeting.

The Truth: We have been trained to talk, pitch, present, and articulate our message better, but we’re talking about us. A quick solution is to use the mute button. Ask an excellent question and hit the mute button. It keeps you from jumping in, interrupting, and shifting the conversation back to you.

These are important myths to overcome because you want to achieve engagement and trust that breeds transparency that provides insights and revenue opportunities.

Whether it’s net revenue retention, gross revenue retention, renewals, extensions, or expansions, they come from understanding the customer better. We simply don’t spend enough time asking customers about their problems, priorities, and company. Plus, we are terrible listeners and spend too much time talking about ourselves.

The Antidote to These 6 QBR Myths

According to Bob, the best way to overcome these QBR myths, or as he calls them “QBR fatigue,” is by conducting UBRs and using Radically Authentic Discovery methods.
“What is a UBR? It’s an open-ended deck less (no slides, yay) strategic conversation solely to uncover what’s most important to the customer or their company,” according to Bob.

The UBR is about your customer as a human who’s trying to get a job done to achieve a company goal. The ‘U’ in UBR stands for you, the customer. It’s a reminder that some meetings should be all about the customer, without the QBR slides and agenda.

The UBR’s purpose is to learn about the customer. Once we do that, the next five meetings we have with the customer will be more successful because we’re talking about things in the context of what’s important to the customer.

A UBR can be a 10 or 15-minute conversation segment as part of a QBR or it can be a stand-alone one-hour discovery conversation. It doesn’t replace the QBR because at some point you must tell the customer how it’s going and get their feedback. The UBR is intended to ensure that everything is framed under what’s important to the customer and their company.

Boost Customer QBR Engagement

Increase customer QBR engagement by using UBRs to learn more about your customers. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your customers and an awareness of their goals, challenges, and priorities. Armed with this information you can create meaningful QBRs and meetings your clients will want to actively participate in. You’ll also be able to drive more measurable outcomes while increasing retention and revenue.

Interested in hearing more of Bob London’s insights? Register for KAMCon where Bob will be speaking in April.

CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.