Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are critical, yet also commonly dreaded within the Key Account Management world. Understanding what not to do will provide a better scope of what you truly want to accomplish in your QBRs. There are some common mistakes that can be avoided by account managers to make their lives easier, such as:
Jumping straight into the facts
It’s common to want to give clients the full details in the very beginning, however it’s much better to ease them into the review. Every QBR should provide a narrative that guides the client throughout the meeting, so opening with some good news will start the meeting off on the right foot. Save the hard data until the middle and keep control over the flow. Always be sure to end the QBR on a positive note.
There is no better way to get off track (and into a long meeting) than being unprepared. Setting up a detailed agenda of what to address during a QBR is particularly important as there are numerous points to review. Building a strong agenda beforehand will ensure you address all objectives, manage time effectively, and provide a point of reference if anything needs further attention.
Less is often more when it comes to a successful QBR. As an account manager it’s a good idea to accept the fact that not every piece of information is critical. You may have the client’s full attention in the beginning, but you will lose it when pouring over details. Choose the truly vital information to discuss during your presentation and always keep it relatively short and sweet. Allow time for discussion and questions at the end.
Glossing over KPIs
When you do get to the meaty information be ready to dive into detail. Key performance indicators need to be emphasized, as this is the information the client has been anticipating. Breaking down KPIs further through a visual aid (graphs, charts, etc.) will help clients get an easy grasp of understanding them without looking at a report.
Only focusing on past results
Often account managers will focus too much on past results and save little time to project a solution through future planning. A successful QBR is just as much about paving the road ahead as it is about looking at past information. A solid understanding of previous performance should lay the foundation, but a good chunk of the meeting must address how to use that understanding to move forward into the next quarter.
Meetings should not be skipped or taken lightly when communicating QBRs. Every client needs to be given their fair share of attention, and one should not be taken less seriously than another. The same goes for the client – it’s up to you to reiterate the importance of these meetings in order to stay on task with reaching quarterly goals.
There are too many QBRs that are delivered as a monologue. Although you have plenty of information to present to the client, remember this is an open dialogue for you to listen to them in return. Encouraging discussion about any confusion, doubts, or changing goals will establish trust and confidence. By the end of the meeting everyone should be on the same page.
Focusing on tactics
Particularly in the face of poor results, many account managers and clients have a tendency to focus on tactics to take in solving each and every problem. Focusing on a broader strategy will help clients to see the bigger picture, which in turn can cause solutions to naturally present themselves.
Reaching out after a QBR is a simple way to secure positive results. The follow-up should cover the details and action points discussed and also make sure the client is satisfied. This message also allows for additional questions and a more open line of communication.
The more experience you have with QBRs, the easier they will get. Taking a little extra time to plan ahead and create an open dialogue with your client will make the process more positive for everyone involved.
Curious to see how you can take your QBRS to the next level? Download this helpful ebook on how to make your QBRs more effective.