Why Your QBRs aren’t as Effective As They Could Be

Only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged and the other 71% are at risk of defecting to the competition according to Gallup. They found a key element of customer engagement results when you have a positive impact that improves the customer’s bottom line. Key Account Managers (KAMs) are tasked with helping their customers accomplish those sorts of goals and Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) are an excellent way to stay on track with plans to reach these milestones.

QBRs can sometimes be dreaded by both reps and leadership. They may run too long, lack focus, and fail to uncover new insights, so it’s not surprising that you and your clients aren’t looking forward to them. A process that should be useful doesn’t need to feel like a pointless chore. Instead, QBRs should be anticipated by all involved, but first you need to start viewing and implementing them differently. So, here are some steps you can take to make your QBRs not only more productive, but more impactful.

Reinforce why they are done

First you have to start by understanding why QBRs are done. We sometimes get caught up in the process of something and forget the big picture. QBRs are periodic check-ins with your key accounts. The entire purpose of them is to make sure you and your company are staying on track while working with your client toward shared goals. It’s a chance to measure your progress, give and receive feedback, and establish next steps.

Leadership should sit together and create goals for the QBRs. Determine what you want to learn from the QBRs beyond what’s working and what’s not working. Create a list of questions to ask your client based on gaps in the information you know. This is your chance to improve your understanding of your key accounts while further cementing the bond that exists.

Treat the presentation less as a presentation

A QBR is not a reporting session where a Rep reads metrics off PowerPoint slides. Instead, it should be a conversation around what is working and what isn’t working, as well as exchanging feedback and establishing new goals. To this end, Reps need to send their decks to the client in PDF format 5-business days in advance.

This enables client Leadership to review the decks and write down every question they have for their rep. The basic stats and overview of wins or losses can be read ahead of time saving everyone precious time. The bulk of the presentation can be spent asking the rep more specific and strategic questions and exchanging feedback. This ensures the QBR is more like a conversation, as it should be, and not just the regurgitation of information from a PowerPoint.

Be clear about how you are measuring reps

Most leadership teams look at results, which is a lagging indicator of day-to-day performance. Make sure reps are following the process and doing the work. These are great leading indicators of their progress and development. They also reveal skill gaps to guide future coaching and training.

When coaching a rep on preparation for a QBR, you also need to remind them to highlight leading indicators and activities they have completed while pursuing customer goals. It’s an excellent way to show the customer what level of effort has been invested in helping them meet their targets and demonstrates value to them.

What tweaks, advice, and questions can you give reps?

Help your reps think two steps ahead in their account plans for next quarter by offering them advice and adjustments. One way to do this is to ask them thought-provoking questions, guiding them in the right direction. You are the strategic expert. QBR preparation time is an excellent opportunity to coach reps and offer them your expertise.


Quarterly Business Reviews are an excellent way to increase customer engagement, communication, and success. View them as the opportunity that they are. Then you and your clients will anxiously anticipate each of these mutually beneficial and productive meetings. Interested in making QBR preparation easier? Learn more in our KAMGenius online training course.


CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.