Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) Playbooks for Key Accounts

Streamlining Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) with Key Accounts: The Playbook Approach

Unlock the power of QBR Playbooks to enhance client relationships and achieve sustainable growth. Dive into our latest blog for expert insights and strategies.

Quarterly Business Reviews Playbooks
Quarterly Business Reviews Playbooks

In today’s competitive business landscape, retaining key accounts is crucial. Streamlining Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) with key accounts through a playbook approach not only strengthens client relationships but also fosters customer success. This approach ensures that both parties align on objectives, expectations, and value delivered, effectively driving account retention and expansion.

What are QBRs?

Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) are strategic sessions held every three months between your company and its key accounts. These meetings offer an invaluable opportunity to discuss performance, align strategies, and plan for the future. During a QBR, the performance of the product or service provided is reviewed, client feedback is gathered, and plans for the upcoming quarter are developed and agreed upon.

The primary objectives of QBRs with key accounts are to:

  • Understand the client’s changing needs and expectations
  • Review the value delivered in the previous quarter
  • Set goals and expectations for the next quarter

For more on QBRs read Quarterly Business Review: How to extract benefits beyond transparency

Navigating Critical Issues in Quarterly Business Reviews

QBR with key accounts are essential for any business growth. But doing QBR right can be tricky. There are several issues faced during QBRs. 

1. Lack of clear objectives

This tops the list of problems in conducting QBRs. Without specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, these meetings can quickly become aimless. Businesses need to precisely define what they intend to achieve through QBRs, ensuring that discussions remain focused and productive.

2. Preparation

Account managers or customer success managers are usually very well aware of all the client required outcomes, current state and others. Yet it is essential to give ample time to QBR preparation as articulating the value, the concerns and helping customer visualize the results is the key. It needs to be thought through and articulated well.

3. Time Management

Its not brainer that time management is the key here. We cannot let the QBR slip away by not being able to focus on what makes or breaks the relationship.

Read this Forbes article on time management tips.

4. Lack of engagement

QBRs are two-way discussions and client needs to be equally engaged. Here’s a valuable article on The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement.

5. Poor follow-ups

Poor follow-up mechanisms post-QBR can lead to unimplemented strategies and unmet targets. Establishing robust follow-up procedures, assigning responsibilities, and setting deadlines for action items ensure that the insights gained during the QBR are translated into tangible results.

6. Continuous improvement

Learning from all QBRs within the company should be assimilated to continually improve the QBR process. The process, playbook, targeted metrics, agenda everything needs to be reviewed in an ongoing basis.

Read this blog on How to Do a Successful Quarterly Business Review (QBR) Meeting: 10 Expert Tips

How Playbooks Can Be Used

Playbooks are step by step activities defined and tracked to active a defined goal. Based on organizations maturity playbooks can be lean, comprehensive or modular. Playbook strength lies in bringing consistency and trackability. If organizations are able to structure playbooks to achieve these, the objectives are met.

 Read more about playbooks here.

A playbook for QBRs may include:

  • Preparation Checklist: Clearly defined tasks to be completed before the QBR
  • Agenda Template: An adaptable agenda to structure the QBR efficiently
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Outline: A list of relevant KPIs to be reviewed
  • Client Feedback Mechanism: Structured way to collect and analyze client feedback

Playbooks help in conducting streamlined and effective QBRs. Creating, reviewing and optimizing playbooks help in achieving right results.

1. Create QBR Playbooks

Creating a playbook requires documenting the current process and improving it based on the expected outcomes. The playbook may/may not have milestones based approach, but it should be structured. A structured playbook allows easy tracking and also helps in improvement post feedback. Ideally playbooks should be crisp and should include all aspects of the process like creating, execution, engagement, review, feedback, etc.

2. Review and Refine Playbook

Playbooks should be reviewed and refined in an ongoing basis. Customer feedback, team assessment and management goals should be incorporated in the playbooks. QBRs with key accounts is critical for any business, thus, treating QBR playbooks as mere checklist is disastrous. Playbooks should be reviewed and refined to get highly effective over time.

3. Consistency in QBR Process

Playbooks help in bringing consistency in any process. For example, playbooks can guide the team to perform a list of preparatory activities for the QBR, resulting in a more predictable performance. The playbooks are highly advantageous in case of multi-geographic teams. Moreover, tracking of these activities helps in performance management and process improvement overall. 

4. Avoiding QBR Slippage

QBR is a strategic initiative in a customer relationship that should not be missed. As mentioned it helps realign engagement as needed. But in the hustle and bustle of daily operations, QBRs often get deprioritized or overlooked entirely. Playbooks act as a safeguard against this. These serve as a constant reminder and framework for these essential reviews. With a playbook at hand, teams can efficiently plan and execute QBRs, ensuring that these vital meetings occur without fail and deliver maximum value to both parties.

5. Tracking Team QBR Performance

Playbooks facilitate the tracking and analysis of team performance during QBRs. By documenting and reviewing the team’s approach, participation, and contributions in QBRs, leaders can identify areas for improvement and coach their teams accordingly. This continuous improvement cycle leads to more refined and effective QBRs, fostering stronger relationships with key accounts and driving customer success.

6. Metrics at Team and Portfolio Level

Playbooks enable the tracking and analysis of crucial metrics at both the team and portfolio levels. At the team level, playbooks help in assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the QBR process, identifying opportunities for improvement. On the portfolio level, playbooks aid in tracking the performance of key accounts over time, providing insights into account health, growth, and retention. This dual-level analysis supports strategic decision-making and resource allocation, ultimately driving better outcomes for both the company and its clients.

Read this blog on Customer Success Metrics.

Here is a sample QBR playbook outline

  1. Pre-QBR Preparation
    • List of attendees
    • Set objectives
    • Gather previous quarter’s data
  2. QBR Agenda
    • Introduction
    • Review of previous quarter’s objectives and achievements
    • Discussion on client’s feedback
    • Setting new objectives
    • Q&A session
  3. KPIs Review
    • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
    • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
    • Revenue growth
  4. Client Feedback Collection
    • Survey or interview
    • Analysis and action plan development

Conclusion

The playbook approach to organizing QBRs with key accounts is invaluable. While playbooks bring consistency and trackability, it also ensures that nothing slips through the cracks, management has visibility into the progress and hurdles, and feedback can be incorporated easily.

Like any other process QBR process also keeps evolving with change in customer profiles, business strategy, team maturity and others. Thus, its essential to capture these processes in playbooks, review and update continuously.25

As the renowned business thinker Peter Drucker wisely noted, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” The playbook approach to QBRs is a strategic tool in achieving this enduring objective.


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