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Quarterly Business Review (QBR) for Key Account Managers

QBRs are sometimes known by different names – Business Reviews or Executive Business Reviews – but no matter what they’re called,¬†they’re incredibly important¬†and the agenda and flow are largely going to fall on the CSM, so it’s critical to help them prepare for and perform QBRs, the right way.

Executive Involvement

For your Quarterly Business Review (QBR) to be the most effective, you will want to have executives on both sides in attendance. This is one of the best reasons to create an executive sponsorship program, at least for your key accounts.

The QBR will be one of the key points of participation for your executive sponsor, so the participation of an executive on your side will generally make it easier to get the sponsoring executive on the customer’s side to attend as well.

QBRs are Strategic, not Tactical

A QBR should be a strategic event, not a tactical one. This is not the time to discuss the details of a particular issue or how you are going to train the new admin. Those kinds of meetings can happen without executives in the room.

The kinds of topics that are appropriate for a QBR might include:

  • Return on Investment (ROI) in your product
  • Expansion of the value proposition from their perspective
  • Additional use cases they’re exploring or you’ve noticed
  • Phase 2 (or 3 or 4) of the implementation
  • New products or features they might be interested in
  • Results from the previous 90 days
  • Major roadblocks or obstacles to success (and how to get back on track)
  • Customer Segmentation is Critical

QBRs are usually reserved for your most significant clients. The planning can be frustrating and, with a sizable variety of customers, it probably will not make sense to attempt to do them for each customer.

If you recall the debate around segmenting your visitors, QBRs is going to be reserved for only the very best portion of your customer’s bottom. These are the customers who need, and deserve, the special attention from you and from your business. They are often your best recommendations and also represent the greatest growth opportunities. Good reasons to review the business quarterly and make sure you are in sync.

Business Review Frequency

The within joke in Customer Success Management circles is “how often do you perform your Quarterly Business Reviews?” suggesting that, while the name implies “quarterly” or 4x per year, the reality is that they simply don’t happen as often or on a reliable cadence.

But all joking aside, and while the timing may vary depending upon your customers, the complexity of your relationship, etc., as the name implies, one of the intentions of a QBR is to review the previous quarter’s results. If done regularly, the output of a QBR should include the stated goals for the next 90 days with the intention of reviewing and comparing results against those goals at the next QBR. So the starting point for preparing for a QBR is to review and assess the goals and results for the past quarter.

Strategic Account Planning

One thing you should have for each tactical customer is an account plan. An account plan will usually outline the tactical goals for a given customer. It might talk about the opportunity to roll your product out to additional organizations or divisions for example. Those kinds of goals will translate to your QBRs and that executive meeting is a great opportunity to move the customer in the direction you desire.

In addition to the aforementioned topics, there are some specific elements of a QBR that may become a standard part of your delivery:

  • Support review
    • How many cases were opened and closed
    • Breakout by type and severity
    • Average time to resolution
    • Any currently outstanding
  • Health scorecard
    • Overall health score
    • Scorecard methodology and results
    • Health score trends
  • Lifecycle stage
    • Where is the customer today
    • Where were they 90 and 180 days ago
    • What will it take to get to the next stage
  • Benchmarking
    • How does this customer compare to others
    • Where are they falling short and what needs to happen to get them up to, or past, the benchmark
  • Product usage
    • What does usage look like along with trends
    • Which features are being used, which aren’t
    • Most active users
    • License deployment and value received
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