Kill it on your QBR  

QBRs are a part of the job. Right? Wrong.  

You want to develop a certain flow and dynamic for each client. However, you most likely have buckets of types of clients and have established touchpoints for different types or sizes of clients. You should certainly have at least a quarterly session with your client, but it may not be a quarterly business review. 

QBRs can be perfunctory, a box to check, or they can be a highlight of your relationship with your clients. It can be your chance for breakthroughs and setting forth new ideas and growth opportunities.   

This is NOT a pitch meeting. Celebrate the wins and identify upcoming challenges, opportunities and strategies. 

The best way to ensure that your QBR is not a bore is to not treat it like one! Have fun! Mix it up! Imagine you are planning a party and go from there. 

Party Checklist: 

  • Guest list: Make sure the right people are in the room- be it virtual or in person. (In person is always ideal for a party.) 
  • Refreshments: Best way to kill a mood? Fill a room with a bunch of people dying to take their lunch break. The key to anyone’s heart is through their stomach.  
  • Swag: No matter how many things you have or how deep your pockets are, everyone loves swag. Spread the love. This is an especially nice touch if you have to go virtual.  
  • Theme: Okay, you don’t want an Under the Sea themed QBR (I mean…if you do no judgement!) You should determine what the point is. Is this a celebration of a huge win or a presentation of what is coming up? Once you know the aim you can go ahead and brand it with a theme. Why not? 
  • Venue and Décor: Identify a space that suits the needs of your gathering. Do you want to allow for movement or AV devices? Is this virtual? Prep a nice personalized on theme background! 

Name It:  

You CAN call it a QBR, but you can also call it whatever you want. 

What do you want to accomplish? Is this a check in? A review? A workshop? A strategy session? Choose a title that properly reflects the content and/or modality of the event. Whatever you title this event will reflect the tone and point of the gathering.  

Once you’ve got that down, goal and tone, name it accordingly. If it is just for execs include the word “executive.” Want to discuss strategy? Use the word “strategy” or “strategic.” Want to encourage a collaborative team dynamic? Call it a huddle or a pep rally. Go with whatever language will work for you and your client. Don’t feel confined by the standard QBR language. 

Rahi Jain, Customer Retention Specialist at RetainUP, explains that he has biannual reviews with his retainer clients.

“Reviews done right are an effective strategy for client retention. They give us the opportunity to talk about our learnings, celebrate successes, and demonstrate and reaffirm ROI for the client. Also, the discussion opens up a possibility for additional services, higher budgets, and finalizing the next quarter’s action plan.” 

rahi jain, customer retention specialist at RetainUP

Andrea Galvez, VP of Client Success at the Financial Health Network, varies the frequency of what she refers to as “Check-ins” based on the customer tier.

“We have themes for each check in based on the agenda. For example, Q1 is the Annual Kickoff and Q3 is the Renewal Check in.”

Andrea galvez, vp of client success at the financial health network

Have an Agenda?  

You better! If you’re including your champion’s manager or other execs, have a session in advance with your champion to best position them to look good along with you and your company. Check out our list of questions to ask in advance to make sure that you are hitting the right stops with the right tone. Create a run of show together and keep it tight! Be on the same page and team with your champion.  

Send your proposed agenda in advance to everyone who is coming. This allows everyone to provide feedback well in advance and come to the gathering with the right mindset. Include questions, concerns, discussion topics, and anything that you want people to have thought about in advance. 

There is No “I” in TEAM  

This is a Group Activity! Keep it engaging. Don’t stay totally frontal, this is not a presentation. This is your big picture meeting, not general housekeeping. Have fun! Mix it up! 

  • Don’t read slides. Exercise your mad storytelling skills coupled with group participation.  
  • Get creative! Use images, clips or diagrams to infuse excitement and draw out creative ideas. 
  • Break up your time with small group discussions and sharing findings with the full group. 

You have gathered everyone in the room. Benefit from the wisdom in the room. Give people opportunities to participate by speaking, voting, drawing, writing, etc. Think out of the box.  

Highlight the Scoreboard 

Want to build up your relationship with your client? Share successes in a compelling way.  

Present benchmarking data using your customer health index. Illustrate your company’s ROI for your customer. Your client will probably want to know what other customers are doing and how they compare. Be prepared for that line of questioning too and use it to discuss what should be on deck for your client. Use it to ignite the “what’s next for you?” group discussion.  

Show them how they scored this round and convince them to step it up next quarter. Challenging your client is a good thing! You are demonstrating that you really care about their success and see yourself as a true partner. You can share upcoming product improvements that will help them with their new stretch goals. 

Don’t Forget! 

  • Remind everyone of the next steps and who is responsible  
  • Schedule the next meeting 
  • Thank them for their active participation  

You’re Not Done Just Yet 

Meet with your team after for a debrief and quality follow-up conversation. Send materials from the meeting including the next steps and calendar invitations to everyone. The event is just the beginning. Use the energy and excitement from your QBR (yes! I used those adjectives intentionally) to build momentum moving forward. Well done mate! 

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