Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at DemandFarm
Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are an essential tool for driving success in any organization. These regular meetings provide a platform for you and your customer to review progress, assess the performance of your product or service, identify areas for improvement and discover growth opportunities.
By conducting QBRs, your company can stay on track to achieve your goals, stay competitive in the market and ensure you’re meeting your customers’ needs. You can use this platform to listen to feedback from your customers and then use this information to make improvements to your offerings. You can thus remain relevant to your customers and build closer ties with them.
One of the key benefits of QBRs is that they provide an opportunity to quickly identify and address problems or challenges that may have arisen. You can promptly address these, thus avoiding bigger problems and a negative impact on your business. It also helps with retaining your best customers.
QBRs are a great tool for communication. By inviting and encouraging open and honest feedback and allowing your customers time to address concerns and challenges you build trust and foster collaboration. Through these sessions, your customer can share their ideas and concerns and you can work with them to develop workable and relevant solutions.
They are a great way to compare progress against the goals and objectives set. You’re able to demonstrate how your product or service has helped your customer achieve success in their goals. By understanding their future plans, you can tailor your product so it continues to be a part of their triumph.
Quarterly business reviews when done right are time-consuming and need a lot of planning and preparation. After all, you want to make the most of this one-on-one time with the key stakeholders of your customer’s business. If their only interaction has been with your product, you will want to establish a connection and develop a long-term relationship with them. So, make sure you are prepared to impress them at that meeting.
Here are 10 best practices that will help you make your quarterly business reviews effective, impressive and productive.
- Choosing Your Customers
- Defining Objectives And Goals
- Inviting Participation From Key Customer Stakeholders
- Creating and Circulating An Agenda
- Effectively Using Data and Metrics
- Encouraging Active Participation
- Reviewing Progress Against Previous Goals And Objectives
- Sharing Updates From The QBR Session
- Leveraging Technology and Data-Analytics
- Planning For The Next Quarter
Learn more: QBR Playbook for Sales and Account Management Leaders
1. Choosing Your Customers
Since you need to invest time, energy and resources in planning and conducting quarterly business reviews, you need to make a wise investment. Choosing the right customers is an important step in ensuring the success of these meetings because they can provide valuable feedback and help you identify areas for improvement.
When choosing who you want to conduct quarterly business reviews for, you can consider the following:
- Your most valuable customers. These can be your oldest customers, those that generate the highest volume or those who have a high lifetime customer value. These key accounts can provide valuable feedback and insights, and their opinions are important to the success of the company.
- Highly engaged customers. Choose customers that have recently been in contact with your company, those that have heavy engagement on your social media or have a history of providing relevant and helpful feedback. Engaged customers are more likely to actively participate in the QBR process.
- Customers with diverse perspectives. Look for customers across industries, geographies and company sizes. Getting feedback from different perspectives will give you a more comprehensive view of your product and will help identify areas for improvement.
Make sure to get permission from your customers before inviting them to participate in a QBR. Emphasize that the session presents an opportunity for them to be heard and to influence product upgrades and improvements.
2. Defining Objectives And Goals
You need to clearly define the objectives and goals of your quarterly business review in advance and share them with all those you expect to attend.
Having clear objectives and goals helps to ensure that the QBR is focused and productive. It provides structure and direction to the discussion. All attendees understand the expected outcomes and this ensures the review stays on track and doesn’t veer off into tangents or unproductive discussions. Clear goals and objectives also provide a framework for evaluating the success of your QBR.
Sharing the goals and objectives with all attendees in advance helps them come prepared for the meeting. Thus resulting in more targeted and efficient discussions during the meeting.
It’s important to set specific and measurable objectives and goals. For example, the goal of ‘increasing customer satisfaction’ is too broad and generic. It can be better defined as ‘increasing customer satisfaction by 10% within the next quarter’. This makes the goal easier to measure and progress easier to track.
3. Inviting Participation From Key Customer Stakeholders
Inviting key customer stakeholders to participate in QBRs is an excellent way to ensure the success of these meetings. Stakeholders can include decision-makers, key influencers, product users and other individuals who play an important role in the relationship between you and your customer. Don’t be afraid to invite people across the company. If they can provide relevant and helpful feedback on your product and service, invite them! Different perspectives only mean more robust feedback.
Key stakeholders can provide valuable information about the usage and perceived value of your product. You can gain insight into your customer’s experience, their priorities and needs, their future goals and plans. This allows you to better shape your strategy and plans and tailor your products to meet the needs of the market.
The QBR helps foster better relationships with your customers. Highlighting the role your product played in achieving success for your customer will help them better appreciate your alliance and product. Seeing their opinions and feedback given due attention and incorporated makes them feel valued. This leads to stronger customer loyalty and advocacy, ultimately driving business growth.
4. Creating and Circulating An Agenda
It’s important to be respectful of your customer’s time and conduct your QBR in the most effective way possible. One way of doing this is to create an agenda which serves as a guide to having focused discussions and keeping the sessions on track.
The agenda should include a clear outline of the topics that will be covered during the QBR. It could also include the specific goals and objectives of the review, as discussed earlier.
Distributing the agenda in advance allows invitees to prepare and come to the meeting with relevant and well-thought-out feedback, relevant information, questions and concerns. They could also address challenges and problems anticipated. This results in the discussions being more productive.
An agenda also helps to ensure that all attendees are aware of the expected time frame for the QBR and can plan accordingly. This is especially important in cases when attendees have to travel or have other commitments.
5. Effectively Using Data and Metrics
Metrics like customer satisfaction, loyalty and engagement provide valuable insights into how your customers perceive your company and your products or services. They can be used to guide the review and make informed decisions about the business.
Measuring customer satisfaction is essential to understand how well the company is meeting the needs of its customers. This can be done by conducting surveys, interviews or using customer feedback platforms. The data collected can be used to gauge where company performance is at its best and which areas can be improved.
Customer loyalty provides insight into how likely customers are to return to you and recommend you to others. This can be measured by tracking repeat business and customer retention rates.
Customer engagement is also crucial and offers perspective into how actively customers are engaging with the company. This can be tracked by activity on your website, social media engagement and email open rates.
By using data and metrics to measure customer satisfaction, loyalty and engagement in QBRs, companies can make informed decisions about the improvements and innovations to be made in products, how to deliver better customer experience and drive business growth. The data collected can also be used to identify and address potential issues before they turn into bigger problems.
6. Encouraging Active Participation
Even if your QBR agenda includes a presentation to review the last or previous quarter, make sure you allow enough time for open discussions and questions. By doing this, and fostering a collaborative atmosphere, you could gain valuable feedback and insights from your customers and build stronger relationships with them.
Encouraging customers to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns can help you learn a lot about customer experience and provide valuable feedback on your product. You can achieve this in your QBR by engaging with the customers rather than just talking to them. Make them feel comfortable enough so they don’t hesitate to share feedback.
A collaborative session will help you work together with your customers to develop solutions to any issues or challenges that may have arisen because the business environment is never stagnant. You can also develop a plan to address the problems. This can lead to better outcomes for both you and your customers.
7. Reviewing Progress Against Previous Goals And Objectives
Take the time to review performance against any goals and objectives set in the previous quarter. This will allow you to assess your progress and identify any areas where you may be falling short. Identifying the problem areas may require an assessment of how your product is being used v/s how it’s meant to be used. It may also require an analysis of whether your customers’ goals have changed or the business environment in which they operate has been altered.
Use the outcomes of these analyses to decide whether your product needs to be tweaked or changed to meet the current business demands and remain relevant. Listen to the perspectives, opinions and ideas of all attending your QBR and incorporate them to come up with a solution.
Rather than placing your product in the spotlight, remember that the focus of the QBR should be to highlight how your product has helped the customer achieve their goals and grow successfully. In such an instance, having a tool to keep track of all your goals, strategies, objectives and targets easily accessible comes in handy.
8. Sharing Updates From The QBR Session
When you’ve conducted your QBR session with intention and proper planning, you are bound to come out of the session with a lot of insight and feedback.
QBR best practices include sharing customer feedback and insights with relevant teams in your organization to improve products, processes and overall customer experience, as well as identifying and addressing issues that have arisen. This includes developing a plan to address these issues and to ensure that they do not negatively impact customer experience in the future. The plan should include specific actions that can be taken, timelines for completion and clear measures for determining success.
Any future business plans or goals of the customer that are shared during the meeting should also be discussed. This will help you align your business plans and strategies with theirs. In this way, you can continue to help and support them and contribute to their growth.
Through regularly conducted QBR meetings, all stakeholders can review actions taken based on feedback received. Regularly sharing feedback received from these sessions will also help keep internal teams informed, aligned and working towards common goals. Encourage team members to take ownership of their responsibilities and hold them accountable for their performance.
9. Leveraging Technology and Data-Analytics
By using technology and data analytics, you can streamline the QBR process and make data-driven decisions.
One way to leverage technology is to use software or platforms that can automate the data collection and analysis process. Data analytics tools can also be used to analyze the data collected and to identify trends and patterns. This information can be used to guide the QBR discussion and to set specific, measurable and actionable goals for the next quarter.
Data visualization tools, such as dashboards, help organize data simply and clearly. Thus making it easier for teams to understand and interpret the data collected and make decisions based on it.
Demand Farm has excellent resources that can greatly enhance your business planning and development toolkit. Check out Grandstand – The Executive Dashboard – an excellent way to make the most of your QBRs. It provides a comprehensive view of key accounts, enabling you to monitor performance, adjust plans, and stay informed. With this business tool, you can manage your sales pipeline more efficiently, identify patterns, and generate reports with actionable insights for informed decision-making. It is a powerful asset to maintain momentum in your customer management program.
Using Grandstand as part of your business strategy will bring several benefits, including:
- Being able to monitor and analyze your sales prospects. This gives you more control and up-to-date information to help you make quicker, more confident decisions.
- Being able to spot patterns and changes across multiple accounts. You will be able to see issues that lead up to customer turnover and can plan for consistent income and business expansion.
- Having access to uncomplicated reports that provide detailed information. These reports can be used to make better decisions for your organisation and to ensure that your customer management program stays on track.
10. Planning For The Next Quarter
One of the key best practices for conducting effective and productive quarterly business reviews is to set specific, measurable and actionable goals for the next quarter. This ensures that the quarterly business review is not just a report of past performance but a tool for driving future growth and improvement.
Goal setting must be specific and the goals set must be clearly stated, with clear and measurable outcomes. When goals are quantified, tracked and reported on, progress can be easily tracked. For example, if the goal is to increase customer satisfaction by 10% by the end of the next quarter, teams should be able to measure customer satisfaction levels at the beginning and end of the quarter and track progress towards the goal.
Finally, goals should be actionable i.e. there should be a clear plan of action that can be taken to achieve the goal. This can include identifying specific tasks, assigning responsibilities and deadlines, and tracking progress.
By setting clear goals based on the insights and feedback gathered during the business review, internal teams can focus on what needs to be done to drive future growth and improvement.
In conclusion, conducting effective and productive quarterly business reviews (QBRs) is essential for any company looking to build and improve long-term relationships with valuable customers. The best practices outlined in this article can help you conduct successful QBRs that drive growth and improvement.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your QBRs are not just a report of past performance, but a tool to drive future growth and improvement. They will also help participate in the growth and success of your customers.
Choosing the right customers and inviting their participation helps you gain important insights into how your product is used and how its value is perceived. It will also help you make changes and improvements based on market feedback.
Defining your goals and objectives and creating and circulating an agenda ensures that all topics of discussion are efficiently covered. You can use data and metrics effectively to guide the QBR discussion and set specific, measurable and actionable goals for the next quarter.
You can streamline your QBR process and make data-driven decisions with the help of technology and data analytics. By tracking and measuring the success of initiatives defined in the QBR, you can ensure that you’re delivering the desired results.
By following these best practices, you conduct highly productive QBRs that drive growth and improvement for your company and your best customers.