Marketing

Customer success and quarterly business reviews

Sohan Karuna
June 16, 2022

Customer success lends to B2B business success

There’s no two ways about it, customer success is crucial to B2B success. Especially because  it is 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain existing ones. Accordingly, quarterly business reviews or qbrs have emerged as a pragmatic solution to the challenge of customer churn in modern B2B organizations.

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What is a quarterly business review?

A quarterly business review (qbr) is a strategic review meeting with your clients and their executives that occurs (usually) every quarter. In this meeting, which is usually led by the customer success team and their managers, businesses review the efficacy of their services on the client’s business, discuss any improvements, future plans, redress client concerns, present the business’s progress, and all in all perpetuate good customer relationships.

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A productive QBR is designed with the client’s goals in mind, and to strategically align them with the customer success team’s goals. The most important aspect of a qbr is to open a dialogue between business and clients, and not to make a sales pitch to them. emphasizing too much on presenting the business’s progress will overshadow that agenda.

 

Setting up an effective quarterly business review (QBR):

1) Review frequency: though present in the name, a quarterly business review does not have to occur every quarter. Sometimes, businesses might require a longer time interval between meetings to ensure adequate value. One of the reasons could be that your business might require more time to produce quality content and data for effective reviews. Another reason may be the logistical challenges in arranging meetings with the right audience/stakeholders required for a meeting. If a business cannot produce consequential insights for a review, then there is no reason to hold one.

 

2) Meeting agenda: creating an agenda forms a structure for your review, upon which your clients can base their expectations and questions on. A missing agenda risks your meeting attendance.A well-planned agenda that is organized and ahead of time for the clients is an essential component of a QBR. The contents of an agenda might include:

 

  • Previously discussed plans
  • Innovations and improvements to product/services
  • Previewing upcoming products
  • Customers’ future business plans
  • Business near future roadmap
  • Reporting progress, roi and other analytics
  • Redressal of challenges

 

3) Transparency: as discussed in the last point, having your attendees pre-approve your agenda before the review shows a great deal of transparency and builds trust with your customers. But besides that, being honest about your failures and shortfalls shows your business’s willingness to improve. At the end of the day, the goal of these reviews is to build your relationship with your clients, and sincerity goes a long way.

 

4) Presenting the data: when it comes to presenting your business’s progress, showcasing your ROI could be at the cornerstone. Highlighting your ROI shows growth and the value retained in procuring your business’s services. It's also the perfect metric to underscore your track record & other progress in conjunction with your future goals.

Outside of ROI, presenting benchmark data is vastly appealing to your clients as they’re interested in learning where your business places itself among competitors every quarter. specific metrics that clients might require based on questions and the discussion from previous quarters also come in handy.

 

5) Progress and future QBRs: After highlighting your business’s progress, putting forward the plans for your next qbr is a great segue. This could also be a good time to pitch in some future milestones, along with previews of new products and services. This is even a good opportunity to present innovations at a conceptual stage. Just remember to seek your client’s approval for your plans and future changes.

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Common QBR mistakes:

  • Lacking a plan: QBRs are value-added reviews. The most important element here is time, the review cannot afford to be haphazard, and it must have clear objectives that allow for value to be transferred. The quality of the content & discussions need to leave the attendees, and especially the executives, with more than what they had before the review. The main focus of a QBR is not to just present reports, but to have them done ahead of time and to emphasize on business value.
  • Lacking feedback: The bottom line isn’t that you’re listening to feedback during a review, but that you are not asking for more. Being proactive, and presenting the chance for your clients to provide valuable feedback is an opportunity lost if you don’t make use of it. running a customer satisfaction survey or having a q&a after every review is an example of being proactive about feedback. 
  • Beating around the bush: keep your meetings brief and avoid fluff in the form of irrelevant data and discussions. Most qbr meetings are scheduled to last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. This isn’t a lot of time once you have allotted a good chunk of it for a q&a. Ensure only material points are being discussed, and don’t forget to schedule and plan out the next meeting.

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Planning a QBR comes with its own host of problems. distinguishing your goals from your client’s. managing different expectations, adding value to your reviews and so much more. but to truly win over your clients, you would have to go over and beyond. go as far as asking your clients what it would take for them to opt out, for them to choose another service. and while most businesses wouldn’t ask that, you should, because your customer is another business’s prospect and if you don’t stick your neck out, your competitors will

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