Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs): Everything You Need to Know

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Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs): Everything You Need to KnowYou just began your job in Customer Success (CS), received your customer list, and have been told that you need to set up quarterly business reviews (QBRs) with each of them as soon as possible.

There’s only one problem – you have no idea about QBRs.

What are Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs)?

Quarterly Business Reviews are regularly-scheduled meetings between Customer Success teams and their customers. As the name implies, they typically occur every three months, or once each quarter, of the calendar year.

The primary purpose of these meetings is to ensure that the customer and the vendor are aligned.    

Why do you want to have QBRs?

We touched upon one of the primary reasons above; ensuring alignment between customer and vendor is critical. These regular meetings allow all stakeholders to review if the customer is achieving the goals for which they bought the solution.

Often, the lead salesperson, the account executive in many cases, is less involved after the deal closes. Especially in SaaS sales, the customer is usually handed to the Customer Success or Onboarding team after the paperwork is signed and the AE becomes less involved.

In SaaS businesses and all others, you have to ensure your customer gets results when they buy from you. If they bought your solution to solve a specific problem, they better be able to solve that problem or: A) They will leave you, and B) They will tell everybody they know.

In most businesses, point B is the one that will destroy you the fastest.

QBRs are an important practice for companies working to reduce customer churn.

How do you set up your QBRs?

We are firm believers in the need to run Quarterly Business Reviews with every customer every quarter.

But we are also realists and understand this is not always possible.

There are countless ways to rank your customers:

  • Potential Lifetime Value
  • Current ACV
  • Current satisfaction level or NPS score
  • And many, many, others

Work with your leadership teams, sales, and other parts of the business to identify the appropriate scoring/ranking system for your business, and use this to prioritize which customers you will meet with and on what cadence.

Who should you include in the Quarterly Business Review?

Your Customer Success Manager should run the review in partnership with the primary contact (s) on the customer side. They should include:

  • The AE who sold the deal.
  • If an Executive helped close the deal, include them.
  • Key decision-makers in the upcoming renewal process from the customer side.

What do you cover in a Quarterly Business Review?

The QBR Meeting AgendaNote: Build your QBR deck in collaboration with your primary customer contacts. When you present the Quarterly Business Review to the customer, the customer and vendor must be on the same page.

We recommend using a template similar to this one for your meetings.

Executive Summary

Spend 2-5 minutes highlighting the state of the project. Keep this very high-level and use this to review who is involved and the objectives for the project.

In addition, raise any high-level items that have changed since your last QBR.

Successes

Cover any project-level successes that have occurred since the last review.

Roadblocks and Challenges

Discuss issues with any aspect of the project but always:

  • Clearly articulate challenges that have arisen and steps to overcome them.
  • If you are asking for help, be clear about what is needed, how it is expected to help, and who is responsible for resolving the challenge.

Projects will always encounter challenges. How you present them, and your willingness to take ownership to get them resolved is what matters most.

Key Project Metrics

Customer Success should have metrics that the customer has agreed to for this project. These metrics should be the focus of this part of the meeting.

Your buyer, your customer, wants to know you are focused on their business problems; make sure you demonstrate that focus.

Summary and Next Steps

Note: If the project meets the business objectives, you may have the opportunity to discuss additional business challenges you can help the client overcome. Add a slide for this ONLY if you are delivering results at this point.

Just like you would expect, summarize what you’ve already covered. Do it briefly and succinctly.

If action items have come up during the meeting, ensure they are clearly noted and identify who is responsible and when they will report back.

Great quarterly business review questions

The QBR is not a status meeting where you simply dump information on the customer. The QBR should be a bi-directional business review.

To guide the conversation, consider these quarterly business review questions as prompts.

  • How are we doing?
  • Are we meeting your expectations?
  • What’s working well?
  • What can we do better?
  • What roadblocks do we need to clear?
  • Are there business changes ahead we should be aware of and discuss?

QBR Insights from CSM Practice (Video)

This excellent video is from the team at CSM Practice.  It’s 20 minutes long — and worth your time investment.

Technology to Scale

PandaDoc document automation solutions can help you scale customer success effectively.  This includes for QBRs, Success Plans, and more.

Their free trial gives you enough time to evaluate and see if it’s the right solution for your business.

PandaDoc Customer Success Document Automation tools

A few final thoughts on the QBR

Send a summary of the meeting, along with your slides and the action items.

If you are on track and demonstrating positive business results, make it clear in the follow-up.

If you are not yet where measurable outcomes are visible, be clear about where you are on the journey and timeline to begin seeing results.

Remain focused on your customer needs, and the rest will work itself out.

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