Your Guide to QBRs that deliver real Customer Success

Charles Connell
July 28, 2023
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Customer Success Managers building a QBR deck

Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) have long been a cornerstone of customer relationships, a platform for proving value, upselling, and renewing contracts. But, in the rapidly evolving landscape of customer success, this sales-centric approach is becoming increasingly outdated. If we truly want to align with our customers' vision and goals, it's high time we redefine QBRs, turning them from one-sided sales presentations into engaging, collaborative discussions. But how do we make this fundamental shift? Let's explore.

QBRs of the Past: The Disconnected Approach

For many years, QBRs (Quarterly Business Reviews) have traditionally been leveraged as platforms for sales pitches. These sessions have been often filled with substantial slide decks, aiming to underscore the value that a company offers to its clients and also to exploit upselling opportunities. This approach, while standard, has consistently skewed the focus away from the individual needs and challenges of the customers, turning QBRs into sales presentations rather than consultative discussions aimed at promoting customer success.

The conventional approach to QBRs fails to create an environment conducive to meaningful dialogue about the customer's business goals, their achievements and challenges, and how your service or product can assist them in their journey. These meetings, in their original design, were intended to be customer-centric—focused on understanding the customers' needs and finding ways to meet them. Yet, the sales-oriented approach often results in one-sided conversations that leave little room for addressing specific customer concerns or for proactive planning around customer outcomes. This misalignment often makes QBRs ineffective in driving real customer success and nurturing long-term client relationships.

QBRs Redefined: The Customer-Centric Approach

Imagine a QBR where the customer is genuinely at the center of the conversation. Instead of a scripted monologue, it's a dialogue that focuses on the customer's progress towards achieving their desired outcomes. This approach transforms the QBR from a routine checking-in exercise into a strategic, focused discussion about real customer success.

1. Aligning with the Customer's Vision

Reinventing QBRs starts with aligning with the customer's vision. This involves understanding their strategic objectives and crafting a plan that aligns your product or service with their goals. It requires active listening and empathetic engagement to identify their expectations, challenges, and desired outcomes.

2. Developing Actionable Success Plans

Success plans are the guiding light of this new form of QBR. These plans are not merely about feature adoption or usage statistics, but about providing a roadmap to achieving the customer's desired outcomes. They provide a tangible way to track progress and measure success based on metrics that matter most to the customer.

3. Enhancing Collaboration and Partnership

This customer-centric QBR encourages collaboration, turning customers into partners. By focusing on their unique needs and objectives, you position your company as an ally in their journey towards success. This partnership approach deepens customer relationships and fosters trust and loyalty.

Using the Right Tools

Leveraging the right tools is crucial to streamline your QBRs and make them more effective. Collaborative success planning tools, specially designed to address customer success, are vital assets. They don't just simplify collaboration, but also offer real-time customer insights and actionable data that fosters a more tailored strategy. By utilising these tools, you gain a comprehensive understanding of your customers' journey through data consolidation across various touchpoints. Good QBRs are born out of this understanding, focusing entirely on customer goals and how best to achieve them. Moreover, these tools provide automation capabilities that drastically reduce the need for manual work, freeing up your team to focus on strategic initiatives that support your customers' unique needs and goals. The importance of using the right tools in QBRs is twofold - not only do they make these reviews more effective, but they also contribute significantly to fostering long-lasting customer relationships.

QBRs for Success

Reimagining QBRs is about making a fundamental shift in our perception of customer success. It’s a move away from sales-oriented approaches to one that puts the customer in the spotlight. The future of QBRs lies in leveraging these meetings as opportunities to deepen customer relationships, heighten customer satisfaction, and steer customer success.

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