QBR (Quarterly Business Review) vs. EBR (Executive Business Review): And the Winner Is…

Are you aware of the difference between QBR and EBR? If not, check out this blog today!

QBR (Quarterly Business Review) vs. EBR (Executive Business Review): And the Winner Is…
QBR (Quarterly Business Review) vs. EBR (Executive Business Review): And the Winner Is…

Most businesses must get this a lot- Are you implementing QBRs and EBRs regularly? While some may be doing these reviews, the bottom line is whether they are necessary. What are QBRs? What are EBRs? Why do some experts consider QBRs to be a waste of time? Why are they important? These are the primal questions you will find answers to in this article.

What is QBR?

The Quarterly Business Review is a quarterly business meeting where stakeholders meet to discuss KPIs and goals. A QBR meeting helps determine if the strategic goals were met over the last quarter. It involves the customers mainly to discuss how their business works and the value aspect. QBRs have the CSMs collect insights and record how products worked for them. QBRs aim to determine whether business goals are met or not. The core professionals included into-

  • Business consultants
  • Human resource
  • Consultants
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants

Why are QBRs important?

QBRs ensure that companies deliver customer outcomes in a timely manner by encouraging meetings and conversations. In a QBR meeting, customers can voice their concerns, measure their success, and scale to meet the goals they choose. For businesses, QBRs are a terrific way to ensure smooth renewals and focus on overall development.

Build strong relationships

QBRs help reinforce positive relationships with customers. You are connected to customers and so know what they face on a daily basis. You can customize your approach and strategy with customers. Quarterly business meetings help build strong foundations and encourage excellent communication between all stakeholders. This will encourage trust and establish stability for both the vendor and the customer.

Spot problems and issues

With QBRs, it is easier to spot and identify problems with customer usage. You can prevent customer churn before it actually happens. QBR meetings can serve as an early-warning system to pick up any negative issues or problems. Only when some metric goes off the benchmark can you know something is wrong. In QBR meetings, you can notice any signs of distrust in the brand. Customers can voice their issues with the usage, feature, or support process of the product.

Keep goals on track

Customers choose a product with one goal, and this goal evolves over time. Initially, the customer’s goal could be managing a particular problem that might have changed over time. This shift needs to be matched with product performance. When these goals are known, it is much easier to chalk out an action strategy. Goal setting is much easier. Since you know what can be achieved in a quarter, it is possible to encourage such progress or more.

Collect customer feedback

You can know customer feedback through conversations that give you a clear picture of the product trajectory. You can respond to negative feedback and have a clear plan to recover the customer’s faith. Do not focus only on the negative aspects of the relationship. If you allot separate time at the end of the meeting for customer feedback, there is time to discuss. This sets clear expectations and goals in place.

QBR Template

Title of the Meeting
Vision
Customer Name
Challenges faced by the customer
Challenges we are addressing
Key stakeholders
Overall Review
Key milestone
What worked for the customer
What could have been better
Overall recommendations

What is EBR?

An executive business review is held annually to understand the company’s service path and whether the C-suite leaders are aligned with the goals. Companies choose EBR meetings to showcase what they learned, what has worked, and what has not, and prioritize opportunities and improvements. The primal difference between EBR and QBR is executive participation and executive sponsorship. EBRs help the executives know whether they are on track with the results, understand progress, and decide the next steps. EBR meetings will help you know what the revamped goals are and how to focus on them.

Why are EBRs important?

Highlight ROI to C-suite executives

One of the primary reasons why EBRs are important is how they cater to the knowledge bank of C-suite executives. You reinforce the value of the product to the c-suite customer making it the best way forward for the company. When the customers know the output the product offers, they will want to stick with it. ROI is a great factor in ensuring one understands the credibility of the product.

Encourage Honest Opinion

In EBRs, C-suite customers can openly discuss their experience with the company, their requirements, and their health. They can also talk about aspects of improvement and the upcoming journey. If C-suite executives have notes from their teams on how the product works and what features need to be customized for them, it will be helpful to the vendor company. For example: If a specific niche of companies needs a specific feature, they can honestly communicate that.

Discuss terms of renewal

These annual executive business meetings are a wonderful time to discuss contracts. All things renewal, upsell, and other expansion formats can be considered. You will know if the customer or key customer is keen on being associated again with the company when their subscription expires. You can show your customer what is possible within the 90-day period. This will lead to add-ons, additional items, and more.

EBR Template

The parallels between an EBR and QBR are many. You can even equate the format with a school scorecard where you need to tick off items.

Goals
Measurement Parameters
Plan
Results

Aspects of Delivery with DateROI
Run playbookReceived x% increase in …..
xyzabc
Time periodGoals: What you want to achieveStrategy: Tactics used to achieve goalsReturn: Outputs from the action and strategyOutcome: Results from the strategyMeasurement: Calculating how each aspect fared
      

Top Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind for QBRs and EBRs

Things to Do while holding a QBR/EBR session

  • Involve top executives or CSM of the customer in the BR meetings
  • Get your executives onboard as well
  • Keep the ROI at the core of all discussions
  • Communicate a clear plan of action
  • Have a meeting agenda in mind
  • Indicate parameters with the customer health index
  • Set clear communications and interactions
  • Have 90 days plan

Things you must not do while holding a QBR/EBR session

  • beat around the bush
  • Defend your stand if there have been challenges at your end
  • Ensure the meeting is timed as planned
  • hold the representatives responsible if things do go as planned

Top Metrics You need to Consider for EBR/QBR sessions

Every EBR/QBR session needs to have a detailed process. This process needs to include aspects like overall customer health score and a bunch of other metrics. These metrics will be instrumental in creating an overall process.

  • How much product is being used? The product usage metric discusses how the product is used in quantitative terms.
  • How many support tickets are being raised for a feature? Is one feature attracting more tickets? If yes, why?
  • How good is the relationship mutually?
  • What do customers feel about the company in their surveys?
  • Are they offering sufficient product feedback?
  • Are the customers posting about the product on social media?

Why may QBRs not be the right choice for you?

While QBRs are traditionally a fantastic way to connect with the customer’s CSM, they are also being viewed as fluff. This can be attributed to the overall outcome of QBR meetings compared to the time spent. Some customer success experts opine that QBRs are meant to fulfill the supplier requirement as opposed to the actual need. For example: Would a customer complain if there was no QBR meeting? Would it be wise to take time from customers for what can be done over a survey?

Source: LinkedIn

Simply put, these customer meetings are supposed to exist for mutual benefit. However, the underlying reason is always to retain the customer. If one holds a business review meeting for 1 hour every quarter, it means the customer needs to provide them with enough information to go on.

The idea is to provide customers with value to keep them invested with the company. If customers were to attend QBRs, they need to put in time for every application or tool in their tech stack. This comes when the number of apps being used increases daily.

Leaning towards EBR

EBRs make a mark from QBRs in just one aspect – they have executive sponsorship. This can help with a trickle-down effect around the product benefits. These interactions with premier executives will help achieve desired outcomes. It is a moving target for customers, and the main idea is to keep track of the customer’s target.

You must hold business reviews based on customer engagement and form the right cadence. This can be weekly, monthly, fortnightly, half-yearly, or even annually. Whatever suits the customer would be the right time. Outcome attainment needs to be the main goal of business reviews. If the product is very technical, you can even include the CTO or such C-executives to get the best outcomes. It need not always be the chief customer officer.

For example: If your product is a finance solution, the main users would be the customer’s finance team. Getting the CFO to attend the executive business review is much better in that case. If a chief customer officer comes in, they may not be able to understand the multiple use cases of the product and its depth.

Another example is if the product or feature in question is complicated with the need for some technical jargon understanding, inviting the CEO over makes no sense. The CTO or chief product officer who understands, uses, and appreciates the products must come on board.

This is why business reviews must not be boilerplate.  

Calling this customer meeting a business review with top executives would suffice. The key is to keep decision-makers in the loop about these reviews and inform them about the progress.

Focus on meaningful data – brief data-driven predictions on the product, what was met or achieved, and the recommendations to improve the present benchmarks. The key idea is to keep correlating the metrics and seeing how business is likely.

How Business Reviews Add value to CustomersHow Business Reviews add value to the business
Provide value by driving customer health by improved Customer Health Index or CHI metricsFor a business, business reviews help reduce customer churn and business churn
Improve product adoption and drive expansion revenue by increasing product stickinessBusiness reviews drive net retention in terms of customers
Drive enhanced outcomes for customers with follow-upsThere is also increased expansion revenue for businesses
Improved ROI in the long termCustomer feedback for product improvement

Best foot Forward: Keep the Customer at the Center

Whether the reviews are quarterly or annual, engaging with customers is important. You need to meet customer needs and hold meaningful conversations with them. This is why looking at alternatives to business reviews will depend on the customers in question. The best way to do that is simple: keeping the customer at the core of all activities. It is imperative to keep the customer health index, goals, current benchmarks, and data points while demonstrating the rate of return.

Final Thoughts

With a customer success tool, you can present all the data and information in a simple, feasible manner. This also allows you to engage with customers and focus on people and their success. You can communicate with customers at a deep level and identify their problems to match them with solutions. For example: If your company is into HR tech and the customer has subscribed to a mandatory version of the product, you can upsell other products such as social engagement and employee experience management.

You can reach out to top customers or champions and congratulate them regularly instead of holding an elaborate session. For example: If a customer posts a happy message on social media, you can instantly connect with them and show that you are happy. This is not an event that requires a quarter-delay or more

In business reviews, you can connect digitally with customers. You can give them a list of recommendations that work for them. This can range from product best practices to health scores, feature utilization, product usage, behavioral aspects, and more.33

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