Just to recap, a QBR is a quarterly meeting you hold with your clients to review all the progress made in the last quarter and to share a plan. The plan is about how you can help clients derive more value from your product.This sounds straightforward, but it’s easier said than done. When you set out for the actual preparation and execution, there are many nuances you discover like: What metrics to use? Which section to expand? And which ones to keep short? The list of questions is endless.No matter how immersive your presentation is, the end goal of this meeting is to strengthen the relationship with the client. This meeting is the most important occasion to win their confidence and, thereby, ensure their contract renewal.So, let’s get straight to the tips that will help you successfully conduct this meeting.
1. Invite the right personnel.
The QBR meeting should be with the key, customer-focused stakeholders. In a nutshell, it should be someone who can make informed decisions on strategic initiatives in the best interest of the customer and business.The importance of QBR can only be realized by giving an abstract view of the whole quarter’s performance. This meeting doesn’t go into the day-to-day details but gives a holistic picture of the path traversed.
2. Start with the client’s goals.
If you are setting up a QBR meeting and are unaware of your client’s goals, you are unlikely to be successful at driving value. After sharing the Quarterly Business Review meeting agenda, client goals must be the first thing you should talk about. Ideally, these are set during the strategic discussions in the onboarding phase between the client and CSM.If your client does not have a specific, measurable goal, it’s your job to bring it out. If they say they’re happy with the increasing customer engagement, ask them for more details. You should ask specifically about the increase in the number of their daily active users, the increase in product adoption rate, etc.Consider the metrics you must compare between their goals and accomplishments.
3. Next, consider the KPIs.
Once you have recapped the goals in the meeting, your next job is to show your performance toward achieving them. Use the right key performance indicators to offer only the most valuable insights.It’s easy to get lost in vanity metrics especially when dealing with loads of quantitative data, but be patient and avoid showing them all. The impact you can achieve with just two or three KPIs can be far more significant than the cumulative effect of multiple metrics. Keep it clean. Keep it simple. And most importantly, keep it value-focused!
4. Show achievements.
Besides showing them how they’re reaching their goals through your product, you can also boost their confidence by showing them the achievements they’ve made as well. Explain how they achieved those results through your product, including what worked and what didn’t work.
5. Inform them of challenges ahead.
You must also inform the clients of what challenges you face while helping them achieve their goals. And explain what measures you took to overcome them.Also, demonstrate why you couldn’t overcome certain challenges. What collaboration and support do you need from them? This should be explained clearly so that they get a clear sense of their responsibility in achieving business outcomes.
6. Share underlying opportunities.
The challenges discussed in the previous steps must be succeeded by opportunities ahead. This is the chance for you to cover up the gaps identified. Explain the ways you are going to transform those challenges into opportunities. Also, go into detail on the added benefits of overcoming the challenges. State all your needs from their end required for future opportunities.
7. Outline a roadmap for the future.
Take cues from achievements, challenges, and opportunities, and create a roadmap for the future. Show your clients what areas you will be working on in the next quarter.This roadmap is a crucial step, especially if you’re in a subscription-based business. A roadmap keeps the customer aligned with your plans and ensures contract renewal. Without it, they may have nothing solid to bank on for further renewals.
8. Discuss value rather than tickets.
A common mistake most professionals make in QBRs is that they discuss some specific ticket or features of their product. And this doesn’t interest your customers.They want to understand the value you are delivering to them. The best example would be to show saved costs through your product, the net increase in their customer acquisition, etc. These are the numbers they care about and they also care about the results and goals obtained in the whole quarter. So, don’t waste their time; keep the meeting focused on the value received.
9. Identify new opportunities.
Pay close attention to anything a customer shares about their experience. It could be challenges, feedback, or maybe even a complaint. Avoid becoming defensive and open up a positive space for further understanding. These discussions allow you to upsell or cross-sell them on a different solution or plan you offer that can solve their problem. But keep in mind, it should feel natural, not forced or out-of-touch with your customer’s experience.
10. Leave some time for questions.
If the session is 60 to 90 minutes, then it’s better to leave around 20 to 30 minutes for a short Q&A session. This time will help you gauge the happiness index of your customer.Get a sense of how likely they will renew their subscription for the next quarter. If there is a red alert, it acts as an early warning of churn for your company. Based on that, you can take proactive measures to prevent churn.On a positive note, it can also help you know how much they have absorbed from your Quarterly Business Review presentation and how motivated they sound for the future roadmap you have shown them.
QBR Meeting FAQs
Q 1: What makes QBR important?
A 1: Here are some of the reasons that make QBR important for a B2B SaaS organization:
- It strengthens the customer relationships by touching base and reinforcing the business relationship with the customers. This is not just an occasion to socialize; it is also an opportunity to have a crucial exchange of information that can result in real action and desirable outcomes for the customers.
- When you conduct regular QBR, it becomes easier to scrutinize the business requirements and objectives by doing necessary adjustments. Customers are also updated about your business and product development, making it easier for you to plan for the future.
- By strengthening the relationship with the customers, you ensure better customer retention. It can even result in a far better outcome if you are doing it for the first time. The additional attention to the customer needs will make them stick around for a very long time.
- By conducting QBR, you depict your need to be adjustable when it comes to achieving your company objectives.
- Conducting regular QBR results in insightful details of the business. In the QBR meeting discussions, you can make necessary adjustments to ensure better customer experiences for everyone.
Q 2: What is the major difference between QBR and Sales QBR?
A 2: When we talk about the term QBR, we are referring to sales QBR. A customer success QBR also has the same purpose; however, it consists of a different hierarchy of people. In the customer success QBR meeting, the customer success team hosts the review with the customer. The objective of the meeting is to comprehend the different ways the products and services of the organization have benefitted the customer in the last quarter, the different issues they faced (if any), and how they can enhance the benefits even more in the next quarter.
While sales QBR is the leadership teams’ opportunity to connect with the sales reps, it indulges in significant sales metrics, scrutinizing the numbers, deciphering the things that went the right way, and what can be improved moving forward in the next quarter. The person running such a QBR will ask each sales rep to provide information about their quarterly results and briefly explain what and why it happened. The leader will also ask to enquire about their forecast for the next quarter. They will discuss the team strategies, objectives, and other critical information about the forthcoming months.
Q 3: What needs to be covered in QBR?
A 3: Here is a list of things that need to be covered in QBR:
- Past objectives
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Future steps that need to be taken
Q 4: Can you enumerate the common QBR meeting agenda items?
A 4: Here are some of the common QBR meeting agenda items:
- Review past goals and KPIs
- Showcase the achievements
- Educate stakeholders about the forthcoming challenges
- Share the opportunities that lie ahead
- Prepare a roadmap for the future objectives to be achieved in the next quarter
Quarterly Business Review Mistakes to Avoid
#Mistake 1: Monologue Meetings
It’s no good to see meetings that are nothing less than a scripted monologue, and it’s not only exhausting in nature but isn’t beneficial either. And that is why most top-level customer success managers try to adopt two-way communication. They ask the ‘especially silent’ ones to actively participate in the discussion.
#Mistake 2: No Verdicts or Course of Actions
The primary target of the QBR meetings is to assist a customer in getting a solution. It’s crucial that you get a consensus on the next course of action. Your customers shouldn’t be left without any clear direction. And as a Customer Success Manager driving the meeting, it’s your responsibility to brainstorm ideas, suggest recommendations, eliminate irrelevant options, and finally call for action.
#Mistake 3: No or Inadequate Pre-Plans
If you have an upcoming QBR meeting, it would not hurt to check with some pre-plans in advance. To achieve this, send a short email on the top priorities to cover. This will help you create an engaging atmosphere and a stellar QBR meeting, steering away from unnecessary confusion.
#Mistake 4: No Follow-Ups
The whole point of the QBR meetings simmers down into nothing without follow-ups. It’s a follow-up that shows the customers that the CSM is thoroughly engaged and can provide a reliable review of the meeting. Also, look at it this way: A meeting is complete only after a successful follow-up.
Using PowerPoint Presentation for a Quarterly Business Review (Templates)
The Quarterly Business Review is a vital tracker that checks whether the goals discussed have been met in the previous quarter and what else can be incorporated in the next one. That’s where an outstanding PowerPoint Presentation comes into play. Here are some notable templates and links to give you the bigger picture.
Peruse this customizable QBR slide sheet to present your business performance. It has been carefully designed to showcase the valuable data and information upfront and sums up the key objectives and results. It suits perfectly for remote online meetings that use video conferencing software. More on that here.
Answer the most crucial elements of your QBR with this template. This PowerPoint Presentation contains Sales Review, Team Review, and KPI Review templates to help you showcase a detailed Business Review to your senior management or client. More on that here.
Use this customizable QBR slide sheet outline with your team members and get a chance to shine and augment performance. You can seamlessly modify each slide to portray vital bits about the market or customers or the succeeding plan for the next QBR meeting. More on that here.37
These are a few of the most essential tips to keep in mind while preparing for a QBR meeting. Ultimately, you want to remember that this meeting isn’t for your benefit and to list all your good work; it’s for your customer and the value they want and have already received. And if you go into your meeting with this as your driving point, it can be a success for all parties involved.
Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of experience. He loves tech products and book reading. He writes on philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.
Published September 10, 2020, Updated September 27, 2022