modern leader qbr
Lauren Sickel

Lauren Sickel

A Great QBR Starts Here: The Modern Leader’s Playbook


A quarterly business review (QBR) can go a long way in strengthening a company’s relationship with its top customers. QBRs are usually run by customer success managers and involve active participation from the product or service provider and customer teams. Participants discuss the past and upcoming business quarter — how the company has been able to add value for the customer and how services can be improved going forward.

QBRs are not for discussing plans around customer support, fixing bugs, setting workflow issues right, or conducting additional training. They are strategic meetings with a plan and purpose, and they’re most effective when participants think through their roles ahead of time.

How to Prepare for a QBR

QBRs require a lot of preparation, tangible goals, and a well-defined structure to be successful. Here are a few things you can do to get ready before the meeting:

  • Draft the agenda and share it with all attendees well in advance so everyone’s prepared. Also, ask the customer if anything’s missing that they’d like covered during the QBR — it can help drive participation.
  • Evaluate returns on investment (ROI) you’ve provided so far for the customer. Analyze why the customer is investing in your offerings and how well you’ve fulfilled customer expectations in the last quarter.
  • Perform competitor analysis to show how successful your customers have been in comparison with market competition as a result of using your offerings.
  • Jot down future goals. QBRs are a good time to nurture customer success stories and win more business with strategic upselling.
  • Prepare insights based on customer success metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs), and customer health scoring.

8 Steps to Turn a Good QBR Into a Great One

QBRs show your top-segment customers how deeply you’re invested in their success. It’s meetings like these where “good” might not be good enough. Following these QBR tips can help you have a great, fruitful discussion that increases future sales and improves overall customer satisfaction.

1. Invite the Right People

Since the QBR will be an opportunity to discuss the customer’s journey with your company over the last quarter and align customer strategies with your offerings and plans, be sure to invite participation from the right stakeholders. Invite decision-makers from the customer’s team, including the right C-level execs.

2. Begin the Discussion with Customer Goals

To run a meaningful QBR, you need to be aware of customer goals and discuss how you’ve been helping in achieving them. Tangible goals such as increased product adoption, a higher number of daily active users, and improved conversions can help quantify customer success. Begin the discussion by recapping customer goals so you can measure real accomplishments against set goals during the meeting.

3. Discuss Customer Success Metrics and KPIs

You may have prepared and calculated plenty of customer success metrics and KPIs ahead of the meeting. These numbers are great to have, but don’t overwhelm the customer with data — present only the most valuable metrics. Keeping it short and simple with meaningful insights derived from your calculations can be more impactful than presenting hundreds of numbers.

4. Highlight Achievements

If there’s an area where you exceeded customer expectations, this is the time to grab the spotlight. Being transparent and explaining your success story — how you overcame challenges to deliver an achievement for the customer — can show the customer that you value the relationship and will go the extra mile to strengthen the bond.

5. Communicate Barriers in the Road Ahead

Even if you’ve been able to resolve tons of challenges for the customer, there are likely still a few roadblocks that could use smoothing out. You may need the customer’s help to address them. If there’s something you could have done differently to improve ROI, highlight that so you can consider it in the future. Clarity on what can and cannot be achieved and the kind of support and collaboration you’ll need to overcome certain barriers can make achieving better business outcomes in the next quarter easier.

6. Pitch Underlying Opportunities

If you’ve got the right solutions for challenges discussed in the previous step, show the customer how you can bridge the gap and add value, improve conversions, or fuel business growth. Also, listening to customer requirements during the discussion can reveal possibilities of upselling or business expansion.

7. Chart the Future Roadmap

Discussing the upcoming quarter is a crucial part of a QBR. Based on already touched-upon accomplishments, challenges, and opportunities, show customers the path you’ve planned for their success for the next 90 days. Well-defined roadmaps help the team align with customer goals and can subsequently help validate and achieve contract renewals.

8. Make Time for Questions

Though the QBR is meant to be a two-way dialogue throughout, set aside a few minutes in the end for questions. The Q&A session can give you a feel of how your customer feels about your services. If they’re unhappy, it could also be an early indicator of customer churn, and you could begin proactively working toward preventing customer attrition.

Gauging the Performance of a QBR

If you’re looking for clear signs to validate that you’ve had a successful QBR, here are a few indicators.

Active Participation from All Attendees

Was there two-way communication and mutual participation? An impactful QBR will offer both parties the opportunity to put forth their perspectives on all topics in the agenda.

Meeting Measurable Goals

When you’ve been able to accomplish customer goals and can clearly demonstrate achievements during the discussion, that’s a sure sign of a great QBR.

Contract Renewal?

A QBR that ends up with a contract renewal with minimal questions or pushback is a clear indicator of a successful QBR. 

Testimonials or Referrals

Did your customer tell you how valuable you are to their business? Get approval to use the quote. Marketing will love you. If you get a referral to a new customer, that’s even better!

QBR FAQs?

Now that you have a better understanding of how to do a QBR, here are answers to some frequently asked QBR-related questions that you may have.

Should You Conduct a QBR for All Your Customers??

It depends on the size of your company, but that’ll be a lot of work and effort. Reserve QBRs for your top-tier customers, so you’re more focused on quality versus quantity.

Where Should You Hold Your QBR??

While in-person meetings are ideal, it can be challenging to work on the logistics every quarter and for multiple customers. A video conference is an equally good option to run a QBR. It will add a personal touch and you’ll have the ability to share visual information in real-time.

What’s the Best Time to Schedule the First QBR with a New High-Value Customer?

An ideal timeframe would be a quarter after solution rollout or go-live. You should, however, monitor their progress throughout the quarter and engage where necessary to ensure your first QBR shows great results.

Get the Right Insights for Your Next QBR with Quala

Quala combines insights from frontline teams with customer data to provide a complete view of customer health, driving the right actions for the right customers. Having these insights can help you run a successful QBR — and stay ahead of problems before they arise.

Quala is built by customer success leaders for customer success leaders, so it includes all of the right dashboards and reporting for every team and every level to have you ready for your QBR. It can be live in a day and has a beautiful interface designed to keep Customer Success Managers engaged.

Quala also makes tracking performance and identifying opportunities easy. All of that great data can trigger proactive customer workflows so you are a step ahead of opportunities to better serve your customer, resolve at-risk customer situations, or take advantage of upsell opportunities.

Interested in learning how you can get the right customer success metrics and insights to make your next QBR great? Contact us for a live walkthrough.


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