Quarterly Business Review (QBR) Best Practices for Success

Ben Aflalo
Ben Aflalo

Head of Product at Gloww

Quarterly Business Review Best Practices Unveiled

Are quarterly business reviews (QBRs) keeping your customer success team up at night? Hitting the right note with QBRs isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve yet to build rapport with a new customer. You might not like running them, but QBRs are one of the most effective ways to nurture positive client relationships as you develop your product and grow your organization. Need a little help refining an upcoming QBR? Read on for a breakdown of the quarterly business review best practices that really count.

Quarterly Business Reviews Explained 

Sometimes referred to as an executive business review, quarterly business reviews involve meeting with key customers once every three months or so. Instead of engaging customers with status updates or getting into anything too complicated, you should be using QBRs to nurture richer relationships with your customers

If handled well, QBRs can help you secure those customer success metrics. However, pulling off the perfect quarterly business review requires finesse. Even the slightest fumble can damage a customer relationship for good. 

Quarterly business reviews allow you to delve deep into the needs of your customers. You can identify their current business needs and discuss what developments might lie on the horizon. While you capitalize on this information, you need to think about providing value to your customers, rather than focus solely on the bottom line. By giving your customers honest insights and helpful advice, you’ll secure solid foundations for a successful long-term relationship.  

Why Are Quarterly Business Reviews So Important? 

Younger organizations rarely see much need for quarterly business reviews. This is understandable. As companies take shape, there’s ample time for account managers and senior stakeholders to engage with customers. However, as the business grows and more customers arrive, those same people suddenly find themselves spread thin. 

Eventually, it becomes almost impossible to maintain the strong customer relationships that were a staple of the early days. You can overstuff your workforce with dedicated account managers, but this is cost-prohibitive. Quarterly business reviews provide a far more practical solution. A regular QBR meeting schedule will ensure customer relationships remain strong, while key information never slips through the cracks. 

Need more reasons to take QBR meetings seriously? Below are just a few of the benefits they can bring to your business. 

Identify Pain Points and Trends 

Are those customer health performance indicators moving in the wrong direction? QBRs provide you with constant insights into customer pain points. You’ll also start to see trends emerging between customers, giving you the push you need to make long-overdue improvements to your product. 

Underline How Much Your Clients Need Your Product 

If you’ve had the same customers for several years and there haven’t been any major hiccups along the way, it’s easy for them to become complacent. They might be happily paying for your product, but they might not realize just how much they depend on it. During a QBR, this is one conversation you’ll want to pursue. 

Use performance metrics to shine a light on the results your customers are getting from using your product. Once a customer sees how much value your product has brought to their business, you’ll find it easier to upsell. What’s more, contract renewal discussions should become far more straightforward. 

Increased Sales

While the main focus of QBRs is to nurture existing customer relationships and add value, there’s also scope for making a sale. If a client needs more than what your product delivers, don’t be afraid to upsell. Happy to report that you’re dealing with a satisfied customer? Strike while the iron is hot and secure a contract renewal now, rather than later. 

Plan Together To Avoid Complications 

Far from being a retrospective, quarterly business reviews let you talk about future prospects with your customers. Are you planning on updating your project in the near future? Preempt any problems by letting your customers know what to expect. When both sides are in proper alignment, secure relationships with your customers are the standard. 

What to Include in a QBR?

Is this your first time hosting a quarterly business review? It’s tempting to reach for a monthly business review template to plan for a QBR. However, a quarterly business review is far more involved. Need help putting together your next QBR? Use the following format as a general guideline.

Start with an Executive Summary 

Use this opening statement to get the big news out of the way first. If the past three months have been successful, highlight this. If things could have gone better, make sure you’re acknowledging it. By now, you’ll know what the key findings of the QBR will be, so make sure these are the most visible part of an executive summary.  

Outline Current Goals and Obligations

Even though customer needs can change over time, most are focused on a few key goals. You’ll want to refer to these early on in a QBR presentation. What’s more, you’ll need to reaffirm your actual obligations to your customers. Certain metrics will be out of your hands, so you need to draw attention to the things you can actually influence. 

Outline Current Goals and Obligations

Performance Review

Here’s where you can start showcasing just how much value your product is bringing to a customer. It’s okay to keep things succinct, but don’t actively avoid including essential information. To make the data more digestible, use visualizations. Even if numbers are moving in a downward direction, you can still salvage things by including your observations and introducing recommendations for next steps. 

What Comes Next? 

If you do need to resolve things to maintain a customer relationship, you’ll need to deliver more than a hollow promise. You can get fairly forensic here as you contemplate the findings from your performance review. Underline successes and the things you’ll carry forward. Identify weaknesses that need to be resolved and let customers know how you’ll do that. What’s more, you may need to offer a few suggestions for new strategies. 

Compiling all of this into an actionable roadmap is a good idea. It doesn’t need to be an exhaustive document but should contain enough information so that your customers know where things stand. 

Further Reading 

It’s also worth attaching an appendix to a quarterly business review. You might want to include links to more comprehensive data sets that couldn’t be included in the presentation itself. Alternatively, you may have sourced some external references that your customers will benefit from reading. 

QBR Best Practices: Things To Remember

Hosting a QBR for the first time doesn’t need to be daunting. Keep a few best practices at the forefront of your mind, and you’re bound to bowl your customers over. 

Lighten Up

The first few QBRs with a new client can seem awkward, but they’ll get a lot easier the longer you’ve been working with a customer. If you’re comfortable enough around your audience, there’s nothing wrong with a sprinkle of humor. 

Lighten Up

Customers Want To Hear Your Opinion 

To avoid your QBR sounding too monotonous, avoid simply describing what’s being displayed in your presentation slides. Customers appreciate honesty, so don’t be afraid of sharing your personal opinion on what could be done to resolve an issue or pursue an opportunity.  

Make a Strong Start with Your Executive Summary 

Don’t fall into the trap of burying bad news halfway through a QBR presentation. By that point, worrying statistics are likely to go over a disengaged customer’s head. This may save you from some initial awkwardness, but you can expect a headache down the line when the true scope of the problem is revealed. If you need to share big news, good or bad, make sure you’re leading with it and including it in your executive summary. 

Gloww’s Quarterly Business Review Template

Ready to wow your customers with a professional-looking quarterly business review? Rather than create an epic presentation from scratch, why not use Gloww’s QBR template instead? Thanks to our user-friendly interface, you can customize any of Gloww’s presentation templates with your own data and multimedia assets in moments. What’s more, you can bring the personal touch to presentations with interactive elements like polls and surveys, not to mention icebreakers and games

If you wish to record your meeting, here’s an article explaining exactly how to do it. Also, don’t miss our article on virtual meeting etiquette to make sure everything goes smoothly, as well as our virtual presentation guide.

You can get started with creating your QBR right now. Are you a business user looking for more? Explore our premium pricing tiers to see what Gloww’s advanced features can do for you. Want to talk more about the platform? Get in touch with the team today. 

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ben aflalo
ben aflalo

Ben Aflalo heads Gloww's product team with over two decades of leadership experience. Passionate about leveraging innovative technology, he is committed to building products for the greater good.

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