CATEGORY > Customer Engagement

The Ultimate Guide to Conducting Effective QBRs

25 June, 2023 5 min read
The Ultimate Guide to Conducting Effective QBRs

Welcome to the world of Customer Success (CS) and the infamous QBRs! QBRs, short for Quarterly Business Reviews, have been a staple in the realm of customer success management for quite some time. However, let's be honest - in today's fast-paced world, it can sometimes feel like QBRs have outlived their usefulness. In this blog post, we will delve deep into the intricacies of QBRs, understanding their significance, the shift towards CBRs (Continuous Business Reviews), and exploring best practices to drive customer success.

What is QBR?

QBR, short for Quarterly Business Review, is a strategic meeting between a Customer Success Manager and its customers that typically takes place once every quarter. It serves as an opportunity to assess and discuss the customer's progress, align goals, address challenges, and identify growth opportunities. The QBR is a collaborative session that brings together key stakeholders from both the SaaS company and the customer's team.

What is the need for QBRs?

QBRs play a vital role in nurturing customer success. They provide a structured framework for open communication, fostering a strong partnership between the SaaS company and the customer. Here are a few reasons why QBRs are essential:

A. Goal Alignment

QBRs allow both parties to align their objectives and ensure everyone is on the same page. By understanding the customer's goals, the SaaS company can tailor its offerings and support to meet those specific needs.

B. Relationship Building

QBRs provide an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships. Face-to-face (or virtual) interactions foster trust, understanding, and collaboration, which are vital for long-term customer loyalty.

C. Proactive Problem Solving

QBRs help identify and address challenges before they become major roadblocks. By proactively discussing pain points, the SaaS company can find solutions, demonstrate its commitment to customer success, and increase overall satisfaction.

What must be included in QBRs?

An infographic representing agenda for quarterly business reviews
Image Credit: Gong.io

Every QBR should be tailored to the specific needs of the customer and the SaaS company. However, here are some key components to consider:

A. Performance Review

Evaluate the customer's progress and success metrics. Share insights on how their usage, adoption, and engagement have evolved over the quarter. For example, for a SaaS company, you might highlight increased user activity, improved feature utilization, or time saved by using your product.

B. Strategic Planning

Collaborate with the customer to set new goals and objectives for the upcoming quarter. Discuss how the SaaS company's offerings can align with its strategic initiatives. For instance, if you're a project management software provider, you could explore how your tool can help customers streamline workflows and achieve project milestones more efficiently.

C. ROI and Value Demonstration

Showcase the value and return on investment (ROI) that the customer has achieved by using your product. Share success stories, testimonials, and data that demonstrate the positive impact your SaaS solution has made on their business. This could include metrics such as increased revenue, cost savings, or improved customer satisfaction scores.

D. Discuss Obstacles and Challenges

Listen more than you speak. Understand any challenges your customers may be facing and find solutions with them. For instance, if your customer is facing attrition in the team that uses your product, offer to train the new members.

E. Product Roadmap Discussion

Engage in a dialogue about the product’s roadmap and future enhancements. Seek customer feedback, understand their needs, and explore opportunities for collaboration and co-innovation. This helps foster a sense of partnership and shows that the SaaS company values the customer's input.

Best Practices for QBRs

A. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare!

Gather data, metrics, and insights about the customer's usage and success prior to the QBR. Understand what they’ve been doing right, what features they are using, and what potentially useful features they are missing out on. This demonstrates professionalism and helps facilitate more meaningful discussions.

B. Keep it Interactive

Make QBRs a two-way conversation. Encourage customers to share their experiences, challenges, and suggestions. This promotes engagement and fosters a sense of ownership and collaboration. According to a study, 43:57 is the golden ratio between talking and listening that makes brilliant conversation.

C. Focus on Value

Emphasize the value your product brings to the customer's business. By no means I am asking you to brag about yourself but discuss tangible benefits and outcomes achieved.

D. Actionable Takeaways

At the end of each QBR, ensure there are clear action items and next steps for both parties. Assign ownership, set deadlines, and follow up on progress. This ensures accountability and drives execution.

Beyond the Usual - How can you use QBRs as an opportunity for other company objectives?

A. Customer Advocacy and Testimonials

QBRs provide an opportune moment to engage with satisfied customers and request their participation in case studies, testimonials, or customer advocacy programs. Positive reviews and success stories can serve as powerful marketing assets, bolstering the company's reputation and attracting new customers.

B. Referral Opportunities

QBRs offer a chance to identify satisfied customers who may be willing to refer the SaaS company to their network. By fostering strong relationships and delivering exceptional value, SaaS companies can leverage QBRs to generate referrals, expanding their customer base through trusted recommendations.

C. Product Feedback and Enhancement Ideas

QBRs create a conducive environment for customers to share product feedback and enhancement ideas. SaaS companies can gather valuable insights, understand customer pain points, and incorporate their suggestions into future product roadmaps, ensuring continuous improvement and innovation.

D. Strategic Partnerships

Through QBRs, SaaS companies can identify customers who may be potential partners in strategic initiatives. Collaborative discussions during QBRs can lead to partnerships for co-marketing opportunities, joint ventures, or even beta-testing new features, fostering mutual growth and expanding market reach.

E. Continuous Customer Education

QBRs serve as an avenue for ongoing customer education and training. SaaS companies can use these sessions to provide updates on new features, share best practices, and offer additional resources to help customers maximize the value of their solutions.

But are QBRs still relevant?

I may have spoken extensively about QBRs however, there is definite debate on the relevancy of QBRs today. As customer-centricity evolves, there is a growing shift from Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) to Continuous Business Reviews (CBRs). CBRs emphasize ongoing, proactive customer engagement rather than limiting touchpoints to quarterly meetings. This shift recognizes the need for real-time feedback, regular check-ins, and agile responses to customer needs.

CBRs allow for more frequent and informal interactions, enabling the SaaS company to stay in tune with the customer's evolving goals and challenges. They empower both parties to adapt quickly, foster a culture of continuous improvement, and strengthen the partnership.

So are QBRs still relevant? It's a question that has sparked debates among customer success professionals. While some argue that QBRs have lost their luster in today's fast-paced business environment, others still find value in them. While continuous business reviews offer benefits in terms of agility and ongoing engagement, there is still a need for structured, strategic reviews. QBRs provide a designated time for companies and customers to reflect, set goals, and align strategies. They offer an opportunity to step back, evaluate progress, and make informed decisions.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to do Business Reviews – quarterly, weekly, or monthly, you aim to foster deeper customer relationships that will help drive success and unlock new growth opportunities. These reviews are not just meetings; they are valuable touchpoints that can strengthen bonds, uncover insights, and pave the way for long-term customer satisfaction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Nikita Kalra

Nikita is the Head of Marketing for ZapScale with a love for startups. When not working, she likes to read and gets a particular joy out of game nights!

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