What’s in a Name? Rebrand Your Quarterly Business Review to Boost Executive Customer Participation

Let’s face it, quarterly business reviews (QBRs) have gotten a bad reputation. They’re known for being hour(s) long boring meetings where a key account manager (KAM) drones on about their company and reads a PowerPoint presentation. That’s not what your customer wants, especially the C-level executive who isn’t attending your QBRs anymore.

Even if you have revamped your QBR, many execs shy away because of all the poorly-conducted ones they’ve attended in the past. So, if you’re finding it difficult to entice C-level contacts in your key accounts to attend your QBRs, it may be time to rename or rebrand them.

We’ve heard that this strategy has been working for several KAMs.

But, if you don’t call these unpopular meetings QBRs, then what should you call them? And how can you rebrand them in a way that brings your C-level executive customer contacts back to the table?

Before we look at how to make these meetings more attractive to your customers’ leadership, let’s review the benefits of revamping these sessions.

Benefits of Rebranding Your QBR

Renaming and reimagining your QBR makes it more interesting and valuable to C-level contacts and decision-makers in your key accounts. It provides the opportunity to engage in a manner that’s more appealing to your customers. Ultimately, making this shift facilitates key account management in several ways, such as:

  • Enabling your customer to see you as a trusted advisor instead of only another vendor
  • Deepening your knowledge of your customer
  • Boosting customer longevity and profitability
  • Increasing your customer advocacy
  • Giving yourself a competitive advantage by strengthening the customer relationship and your understanding of their world
  • Avoiding unpleasant surprises by keeping abreast of risks and changing conditions within customer accounts

With benefits like these, why wouldn’t you want to rethink your approach to these meetings?

Now, let’s start the rebranding process by considering what you should call these redesigned meetings.

Rename the QBR

Some alternate names we’ve heard for QBR include Strategy Session, Alignment Session, or Goalsetting session. And recently, our friend Bob London unveiled what he calls the UBR, which he defines as “a fundamentally new type of conversation focused solely on the customer’s or prospect’s broader priorities and challenges, including  the top-level company initiatives driving the customer’s desired outcomes.” Ultimately, these are all about asking meaningful voice of customer (VOC) questions to more deeply understand what’s important to your VIP customers.

Adjust Your QBR Mindset

Don’t just rename or rebrand your QBRs. Reimagine them. A few ways to do this include:

  • Making it customer centric: Use this valuable time to focus on the customer, not your company. This is a time to talk about what’s most important to your customer, like establishing meaningful attainable mutual goals, and discussing how to achieve these objectives.
  • Co-creating the meeting: Instead of creating an agenda for the meeting, ask the customer what their priorities are for the session ahead of time. Then share the collaborative agenda so all parties can prepare accordingly.
  • Engaging with leadership: Remember to get input from leadership within your key account. One way to do this is by sharing any reporting or informative slides you think they’ll find particularly meaningful, in advance, along with a brief overview explanation. Also, include the co-created agenda and request their input on what they’d like to add.
  • Focusing on the conversation: Your customer isn’t interested in hearing you read a slide presentation. Share any data and stats ahead of time for them to review. Then make meaningful discussion and planning the main focus of the session. After all, this is most valuable for both you and your customer, resulting in a more productive use of everyone’s time.

That’s what your customers are most interested in. They want strategic guidance, help meeting their goals, solutions to their challenges, and measurable value. So, why not give it to them? This will entice even the busiest executive to attend such a purpose-driven session.

Take Time for Strategic Preparation

Strategic preparation is necessary for creating the type of valuable exchange the executive contacts at your key accounts desire. So, carve out time to plan and strategize.

But how you are supposed to find time for strategic planning in your already packed schedule? It IS doable and it all starts by automating the minutia of QBR preparation with QBR software. This frees up the necessary time for strategic planning and thinking like:

  • Who is attending and who should attend
  • What the customer wants to discuss
  • What you want to accomplish during the session
  • Key insights to share with the customer ahead of time

Prepare for an Engaging Conversation

Meaningful discussions need to be a main element of these meetings, regardless of what you decide to call them. So it’s important to block off time to prepare some great questions to help you learn more about what your customer thinks and cares about. Make the most of your opportunity to engage with the C-level executive of your key account to deliver mutual value to you and the client.

Prepare to ask your customer thoughtful, strategic, VOC questions about their business, goals, and priorities. These questions should be open-ended, strategic, and forward-looking. Examples of these sorts of questions include:

  • What made you decide to partner with us?
  • What are your top initiatives and goals for the coming year?
  • How can we best support you and your team to achieve those goals?
  • Looking out 3 years from now, what would make this partnership a success?
  • What one thing could we improve on in the upcoming quarter to boost your experience with us?

And be sure to include some questions that Bob London describes as Radically Authentic Discovery. These thought-provoking questions shake things up and deepen your relationship with executive-level contacts in your key accounts.

Increase Executive QBR Attendance

It’s time to start rebranding your QBR to entice key account leadership to attend these valuable meetings. Give them a new name and approach them in a new way. You’ll increase customer engagement, knowledge, relationships, value, retention, and advocacy.

Looking for more strategies to improve your approach to key account management? Register for KAMCon by February 28th to take advantage of the early bird rate.

Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta
Jennifer is a Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta