Quarterly Business Reviews — B2B SaaS Customer Growth Fundamentals
Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) or Executive Business Reviews are an essential part of the customer journey in SaaS. QBRs help remind your customer why your solutions add value to their business and how you can help them in the future.
Here is a blueprint on how to run effective QBRs that create tangible action plans and a template deck (Template QBR Deck) that you can use with your customers as a starting point.
The blueprint framework was designed by the WinningByDesign team and includes highlights from my experience. The template QBR deck was designed by SuccessCoaching.
The 🔑 objectives of a QBR are to:
- Verify and document the customer’s goals.
- Benchmark the customer to best practices and their peers.
- Identify how your solutions and team can positively impact their business.
- Create a shared action plan for the next steps.
The QBR Blueprint Highlights
- Intention: Positive, prompt, and professional from the start.
- Suggestions: Repeat and/or mirror your primary stakeholder’s first comments to acknowledge how they are feeling and build rapport.
- Objective: Confirm the key stakeholder(s) are present. ‘Read the room’ for the current mental and emotional sentiment of your key stakeholder(s).
- Intention: Set expectations for what to cover during the meeting.
- Suggestions: Review the draft presentation and agenda with the primary stakeholder(s) before the meeting. Ask if the stakeholders have any thoughts on what to include. During the meeting, ask “Is there anything you’d like to get out of this call?”
- Objective: Figure out what and where they would like to be at the end of the meeting.
3. Verify Goals
- Intention: The key stakeholder(s) identify how your company’s products and solutions will add value to their business over the next six months in quantitative and qualitative metrics.
- Suggestions: Review what your sales team collected in the pre-sales process and any notes on ‘why’ your specific products/services. Often times the customer’s goals are only qualitative and they will need help to identify the financial impact of their goals. For example, try to turn “we have fewer complaints” or “I don’t have to spend five hours a week on these reports” into a financial metric that the customer agrees with.
- Objective: Validate how your company adds value to your customer in their own words. Document their specific use cases and how these tie into the business outcomes they are looking for your products/solutions to solve for.
4. Impact Review
- Intention: The customer stakeholder(s) are delighted (🤩) by how you are able to communicate the value added to their business.
- Suggestions: Can you share a few reports or a dashboard that directly connects your products or services to revenue or cost savings goals? Is there a story that you can share your partnership when the customer thanked your team or your team went above and beyond for them? Tie together measurable results and soft results to paint the total impact of your partnership.
- Objective: Highlight the ‘wow’ factor of your product and services with your customer.
5. Benchmark Review
- Intention: Highlight trends and best practices of similar companies or peers in their industry to find future impact opportunities.
- Suggestions: Benchmark the customer on the percentage of your solutions leveraged in their current subscription. Compare their use cases and strategies to their peers or competitors in the space. Your product road map can be highlighted here or thought leadership references (ex. Sirius Decisions or TOPO in B2B Marketing & Sales Operations).
- Objective: Tie the customer’s current challenges, pain points, and upcoming goals to the features, products, or services they are not using today.
6. Impact Discovery
- Intention: An open discussion with the customer on how your company can provide additional value to their team and business.
- Suggestions: Focus on listening to the customer talk based on the topics discussed in the Benchmark Review. Help your customers figure out how they can validate the need for additional investment in your company. Make it easy for the customer to identify the next steps to move into a business case or investigation phase.
- Objective: The customer talks more than your team. Afterward, you will have a list of projects to work with the customer over the next three to six months that include new features, products, or services.
7. Joint Impact Plan
- Intention: Review the Impact Discovery to create a shared action plan for driving value to your customer over the next three to six months.
- Suggestions: Write out this plan in real-time during the meeting. Ask the customer to prioritize and organize the action items collected to fit their timeline(s) and constraints.
- Objective: The customer and your team have a mutually agreed-upon plan for the next steps with who is responsible for what and by what date.
8. Next Steps
- Intention: The customer agrees to the immediate and mid-term next steps for their team and how your team can help.
- Suggestions: Highlight what action items from the Joint Impact Plan can be done by your team and what your team needs help from the customer to do. When is the next QBR? Have the customer confirm a date on the call before ending the call. Are there are any other key dates upcoming that need to be called out here?
- Objective: The customer is aligned on what your partnership will focus on over the next few months. Have the next QBR scheduled before the call ends.
- Intention: Proactively end the meeting at the right time.
- Suggestions: Express appreciation in your voice for their time and end the meeting on a positive note. Give the customer time back in their day if you can end the meeting early.
- Objective: End the meeting in a positive and professional manner.
If QBRs are conducted on a regular basis the customer’s renewal date can become just another project date. I hope this blueprint and template is able to help you to add value to your customers and drive growth for your company.