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Your Can’t-Fail Quarterly Business Review Agenda

A good quarterly business review agenda mean the difference between a long relationship and a short one. Here’s what you
Patrick Icasas
August 24, 2021

Don’t you love it when you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot in a meeting, and you got out early? We’re going to give you the secret sauce - what you should include in your quarterly business review agenda to make it truly valuable for your customer, minus the fluff.

It’s time for your QBR. Now what? 

Quarterly Business Reviews, also known as Executive Business Reviews, are a crucial part of any Customer Success Manager’s toolkit. As essential as they care, they can also be boring, unengaging, or redundant for your customers if done poorly. 

The “why” that needs to flow through your quarterly business review agenda 

We’re going to go one-by-one through the elements you should include in a QBR or EBR agenda. However, there’s one main thread that weaves every point together. Everything you share should involve you making the connection between your customer’s business and the product or service they bought from you. They should walk away from the meeting knowing what vital role you play in their success. However, this needs to be done without the meeting turning into a bragging session or a sales pitch.

While you craft an agenda, focus on what the customer wants, how it aligns with what you’ve provided, and what you could do in the future to be even more indispensable. 

1. Review of past or and/or current goals 

The first step to making the connection between you and your customer is to talk about goals upfront. Remind them at the top of the meeting what you’re trying to accomplish together, or what you’re monitoring in regards to the goals. What are we shooting for now, in the next quarter, or the next year? Give your attendees a preface of what’s to come in the rest of the meeting - start by setting that unified goal. 

Depending on what you offer, your goals may be different, but here are some examples you could think about: 

  • Reducing churn by 10% in a year 
  • Increasing the lifetime value of a client by 5% 
  • Bringing in 12% more revenue this year

2. Review product performance and adoption 

Using the goals as your guide, share product performance and adoption metrics with your customer. A good way to keep meetings as short and effective as possible and ensure focus is to only include metrics that are most relevant to their goals. The rest is padding that will pull focus away from the story you’re trying to tell and may lead down time-consuming rabbit holes. 

Adoption rates help put all of the other metrics in perspective. Later on, when you’re identifying gaps or opportunities for improvement, you’ll want to weigh this in relation to current adoption rates. 

3. Comparison of current performance against goals 

An unwritten rule that has been around since the dawn of time says that as soon as you start sharing metrics with a customer, they will respond by asking, “Is that good?” 

To more effectively answer the question of what “good” looks like, include how your customers are currently performing against the goals that they have set. You could also choose to benchmark against similar businesses in their industry and/or with direct competitors. 

Again, focus on what speaks to ROI in goals. Speaking to the goals that were set up previously also lends credence to what you’re sharing - you’re not backing into a goal you created afterwards to make what you’re sharing look more impressive than it is, for example. Calling back to previously agreed upon goals can help establish a benchmark, consistency, and trust. 

4. Discussion of gaps and/or future goals 

A quarterly business review agenda can’t be just sunshine and rainbows. After all, you can’t get a rainbow without a little rain. 

Identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. Is your customer reaching goals #1 and #2, but #3 is falling short? Talk to them about how they might be able to move the needle. 

Are things going according to plan? Awesome! Still, there’s always room for improvement. If your customer is meeting and exceeding expectations, talk to them about potential future goals. How can they maintain or keep momentum going? 

5. Action plans  

We all have that one friend or family member, don’t we? The one who identifies problems in their life, complains about them, but does nothing to fix them? You don’t want to be that kind of friend to your customers. Do not end the QBR until you talk about actionable steps that you or they can take to improve on gaps or work towards new goals. This is also the place, after identifying areas for improvement, to start talking about upselling in a way that is tied to goals. 

6. Upcoming features 

What’s on your roadmap? Are there things you’re developing that your customers have been asking for specifically? Make room on your quarterly business review agenda to mention any upcoming features, especially if you know they will be relevant to your customer. This is your chance to show how proactive, responsive, and caring you are. 

7. Notable incidents, tickets, and wins 

What turns an OK meeting into a great meeting? Tell a story. The more you can share examples and add context to your numbers, the more likely your customers will walk away remembering what you said and finding it valuable. You could include a section of the agenda for these stories, but better yet would be to thread them throughout the meeting. And yes, this is the time to brag, just a little. Take time to talk about any customer complaints that you resolved here as well.

Remember, the closer you tie to customer goals, tell a story, and make the connection between your customers and your offerings, the better your QBRs or EBRs will flow.

Better relationships. Less churn.

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