“Hey, you wanted to see me?”
-Oh, yes, sit down. It looks like a lot has changed since we last talked. We have a lot to cover and consider.
“Am I in trouble? Am I getting fired?!”
-No, no, you’re not in trouble, and you’re not getting fired. Take a seat. It’s time for your QBR.
Let’s back up a little. We must understand what a QBR is to understand why we need them.
QBR stands for quarterly business review, which involves scheduled meetings every quarter between the primary contact(s) for the business and their customer success or account manager. The purpose of this conversation is to ensure that the business’ efforts are aligned with the customer’s needs, and everything internally is working effectively to meet the company’s goals. This meeting will highlight the business’ strengths and weaknesses, to take inventory of where the business has been, is currently, and where it’s going. That way business leaders can draft the best plans for improvement.
A QBR can definitely feel a bit scary and make a person feel vulnerable. However, if they know what to expect and understand the honest intentions of this tradition, it won’t seem so daunting.
Today I offer you a simple explanation of how a QBR works. So, let’s imagine TechBarbie is administering your QBR.
I would kick off a QBR with a high-level summary of what the company’s goals are, who the key players involved are, and if there have been any meaningful changes to the company’s structure since last time. It’s important to start out positive, so expect some praise for the wins the company has seen this quarter!
The purpose of the QBR is to hold businesses accountable and push the bar to be greater than ever. Unfortunately, this could mean being the bearer of bad news when discussing what obstacles or weak points the business must overcome. However, it’s not about just discussing what’s wrong, but also brainstorming next steps on how to recover from these setbacks.
Have you ever heard of a “compliment sandwich”? You start off with building the person up and emphasizing how great they’re doing, quickly followed by a recap of where they’re falling behind or have room to improve, and then close it out by reminding them how capable they are of overcoming these obstacles. For the best results, a QBR should flow with the grace of a “compliment sandwich”.
Remember that talk is cheap, but the numbers don’t lie. Simply telling someone where the problem areas are won’t be as impactful as letting them see where their money and time are going.
For that reason, I would illustrate my points to the client through key project metrics. This can be statistics related to customer satisfaction, the actual cost of the project, how much money has been spent, the difference between revenue and cost, return on investment, the ratio of profit to cost, and more.
Before ending the meeting, I would offer a summary of what was discussed, making sure to focus on the steps to be followed before the next meeting.
Businesses of all types engage in QBRs to stay on top of things and remain aware of the areas that are flourishing and those that are failing. You shouldn’t be afraid that you’ll be judged or put down when you sit down for your QBR. The meeting is designed to help you realize the full potential of your business by increasing what’s working and eliminating what’s not.
For a company like Klik Solutions, we happily provide QBRs to all our customers, for them to understand if their technology and managed services are up to par with their needs and goals. Sometimes technology becomes out of date, needs to be replaced, fails to meet the customers’ goals efficiently or the services themselves need to be rescaled to better fit the business at that time. QBRs are the perfect chance to have these in-depth conversations and make the necessary changes to keep the company on track for its projected goals.
Now that you understand how a QBR supports and improves your business, there’s no reason to be afraid to have one.
Quit being ridiculous, schedule your QBR.