A quarterly business review (QBR) is a focused one- to two-hour meeting each quarter with clients to review key business objectives, measure past accomplishments, and identify new solutions. QBRs sometimes go by other names—executive business review, technical review, etc.—but the goal remains the same: understand your clients business better so you can help them achieve their goals. For the purposes of this blog, we will refer to the meetings as a QBR.
QBRs are all about customer satisfaction and upsell. By doing these meetings on a quarterly basis, you are able to show value and become more of a trusted adviser to your clients. Beyond just a technical or sales conversation, QBRs should facilitate a business discussion. The goal is to understand the business challenges faced by your client and lay out a comprehensive plan to help them successfully overcome these challenges. This is a great opportunity to cross-sell and upsell products and solutions in your portfolio.
As a best practice, you should spend a lot of the time listening to your client (and documenting the feedback) so you really understand their situation—and then, make the solutions part of the two-way conversation. The list below outlines key topics as an agenda for the conversation:
- Where are they taking the business?
- Technical review
- Next steps
Where are they taking the business? Is the client adding 10 new employees next month? Do they have plans to expand to two new locations in the fall? The initial stage of the QBR should focus on goals and objectives your client has for the short, mid and long-term. During this part of the conversation, you should identify and discuss areas to help them address growth and changes they expect with the business.
Technical review - this stage of the QBR focuses on a review of tickets, outstanding issues, and the overall health of the client. If this is the first QBR, you can review all the items above and gather a data baseline to use as a benchmark for future meetings. If this is a follow-up QBR, you can compare numbers and show increase/decrease across key metrics. Also, if this is a follow-up meeting, be sure to review notes, action items, and open/closed items from the last meeting.
Next steps - the first thing to do before you leave the conference room is to schedule the next QBR. After that is on the calendar, document the list of agreed-upon next steps. Always share this list with the client after the meeting and use it during the next QBR to recap. You will likely have a list of open issues that you need to address after the meeting. You should also address solutions you uncovered during the conversation—and either close the deal or set the stage to go back for new business.
Ok great you say, how do I get started? In our recent experience talking with many MSPs, we have found that about sixty percent of them are actively holding QBRs with their clients. So, the other forty percent we canvassed are not taking advantage of these QBRs. So, if you’re in the forty percent group, the best place to start is by looking at your client list. You can start with the most strategic clients, but it’s a great idea to do these meetings with all of your clients. Develop a meeting agenda that works for you and get started by scheduling that first meeting. Moving to a consultive or business conversation enables you to really get to know your client, understand their goals, and work with them to help them achieve success.
There are many resources on QBRs that you can find to get more information. Research best practices, tips, and tricks to help you develop a plan. The end goal should be to develop a blueprint that is repeatable, useful and valuable for your IT practice and for your clients’ too.