Comprehensive Guide to Quarterly Business Reviews [Customer Success]

Charles Connell
April 1, 2023
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CSMs conducting a QBR

What is a Quarterly Business Review (QBR)?

A QBR is a strategic meeting that takes place (approximately) every three months between you and your client. Unlike regular check-ins, the QBR focuses on the broader picture of the client's business, understanding their needs, and strategizing on how best to support them. The end goal? To collaboratively identify ways to propel the client towards their business objectives. This meeting underscores your commitment to the client's success, positioning you as a business advisor rather than just a service provider.

Why Conduct Quaterly Business Reveiws?

QBRs are pivotal, regardless of how the quarter has unfolded. Whether it's been a period marked by high retention and customer satisfaction or one with challenges, QBRs offer a platform to analyze, strategize, and improve. Here's why they're indispensable:

  • Reinforce Value: Highlight the ROI and value of your product or service.
  • Strengthen Client Relationships: Foster a deeper connection and show genuine concern for their business success.
  • Understand Expectations: Gauge what clients anticipate from your product.
  • Assess Customer Health: Get insights into the client's overall satisfaction and potential areas of concern.
  • Revenue Opportunities: Delighted clients can open doors to upselling or cross-selling opportunities.

Should all Customers Get a QBR?

While it would be ideal to conduct QBRs for every client, it's often impractical, especially for SaaS companies with a vast clientele. Instead, prioritize QBRs for top-tier customers, focusing on those who bring significant business, are in crucial lifecycle stages, or have potential for growth. For others, consider Executive Business Reviews (EBRs) that follow a similar format but without the strict quarterly cadence.

Laying the Groundwork for QBRs

The foundation for successful QBRs is laid during the sales process. Clear communication of the solution's value proposition ensures clients have realistic expectations. Both sales and customer success teams should be aligned on the desired outcomes for each client. This alignment minimizes potential mismatches between product offerings and client needs.

Who Should Attend a QBR?

From your side, the customer success manager (CSM) and an account manager or executive should be present. On the client's side, aim for an executive or key decision-maker. Remember, QBRs are strategic, so the attendees should be those in decision-making or strategic roles.

Preparing for QBR:

Gather Data

Understand the client's product usage, stakeholders, and past interactions.

Set the Agenda

Define the topics of discussion, share them in advance, and stick to the schedule.


 Prepare concise slides that cover product usage, metrics, goals, benchmarks, and strategic plans.

Conducting the QBR:

Whether in-person or virtual, ensure the QBR is engaging, positive, and value-packed. Limit the meeting to an hour, focusing on strategic discussions, feedback, and setting clear next steps.

Post-QBR Actions:

Reflect on the discussions, address any raised concerns, and track the performance metrics discussed. Consistently achieving the set goals will build trust and show clients the tangible benefits of QBRs.

QBR Mistakes to Avoid

  • Avoid dwelling on negatives.
  • Stay open to feedback without being defensive.
  • Ensure clarity on next steps.
  • Always express gratitude for the client's time and input.
  • Avoid tactical discussions; keep the focus strategic.

QBRs for Success

The efficacy of a Quarterly Business Review hinges on thorough preparation and follow-through. With tools like a customer success management platform, staying updated on client accounts becomes seamless. By consistently delivering on the promises made during QBRs, you not only retain clients but also position your business as an indispensable partner in their success journey.

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