How to Conduct a Valuable QBR Meeting in 2023

Cassy Aite
October 20, 2023
How to Conduct a Valuable QBR Meeting in 2023

Companies have a 60% to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer compared to just 5% to 20% for a new customer. Businesses can take solace in this idea, but it ignores one vital question: How do you increase customer retention? That's where QBRs come into the picture.

QBRs — or quarterly business reviews — give you a bird's-eye view of your customers’ problems and provide solutions to create better products and/or services. However, structuring and conducting these sessions is tricky, as you need to solve customers' problems while also highlighting the success of your product.

In this guide, we’ll dig into the fundamentals of conducting an effective QBR meeting and how you can extract the most value from it.

What Is a QBR Meeting?

A group of employees smiling at the office

A QBR meeting (quarterly business review meeting) is a gathering of stakeholders conducted once every three months. Attendees include key stakeholders, such as executives, crucial employees, vendors, and most importantly, your customers. These face-to-face meetings are arguably the most important tool for improved customer success with specific purposes, including:

  • Provide value to the customers, build trust, and enhance your business relationship.
  • Learn more about customer goals and customer needs based on updated quarterly information.
  • Check-in on customer expectations, recap the previous quarter, and get customer feedback.
  • Help business leaders put forward their vision and mission to their customers.
  • Discuss action plans and keep everyone on the same page by discussing and planning new goals, timelines, and a budget for the upcoming quarter based on key performance indicators (KPIs), benchmarks, and metrics.
  • Identify new opportunities or expansion opportunities, as well as action items to achieve them.

A strategic mindset is the key to successful QBRs. To earn your customer's trust, you must position yourself as an adviser — not a salesperson bent on upsells. QBRs give you a chance to understand your customer's future plans with your business, helping solidify your relationships.

Why Your Company Should Conduct QBR Meetings

If you run a large company, maintaining individual relationships with your customers can prove difficult due to time constraints. But don’t use that as an excuse to ignore them. Customer relationship and account management are crucial at every stage of your growth and should never be an afterthought.

QBRs help you develop a structured plan to streamline your customer relationship efforts. These sessions also provide insights into what customers feel about your product and what their event experience looks like.

Learning more about these positive or negative customer experiences can help you deliver more value and create an overall growth plan.

Aside from value development, QBR meetings offer a plethora of other benefits:

  1. Strengthen customer relationships
  2. Build deeper executive relationships
  3. Show off ROI
  4. Develop a straightforward roadmap for growth
  5. Optimize business goals and initiatives
  6. Create clear direction for your customer success team and customer success managers
  7. Reduce contract questions
  8. Win customer trust

QBRs can help you lead your customers in the direction most beneficial for you and them. If your customers don’t enjoy their brand and product experience, chances of customer churn will increase, hindering your company's growth.

What To Include in Your QBR Meeting: 5 Key Elements

A man and a woman high-fiving in the office

Heading straight into meetings with no preparation is a costly mistake. QBRs are the best way to understand:

  • The value your product delivers to customers
  • What they expect from you in the future
  • How to increase your company's value to key stakeholders

Without proper strategizing and preparation for your next QBR meeting, you lose a key opportunity to improve trust and positively impact your client relationship. Here are the six core elements of an effective QBR meeting.

1. Share Performance Data

QBR meetings let you review your product's performance in the past quarter. From product usage and increases to your customer base to the less-than-ideal aspects such as declining revenue, all of these metrics are integral to your future planning and success.

Keep the performance data of your product ready. You should also have data sets that clearly demonstrate your product and/or service's impact on the customer's business, as well as the results it achieved for them in the last quarter.

Ensure your presented data is targeted toward your customers. Instead of presenting all product features, include data about customer acquisition and other important metrics.

Suppose your customer purchased your tool to schedule social media posts.  Show data that illustrates the ROI of your software in the form of more engagement, consistent social media marketing, and more leads — among other metrics. Use data for the past 90 days to compare the customer's social media handles from previous engagements to the new engagement your software has brought. Then, show how your software has created a positive impact on your customers' business.

2. Set Goals for Next Quarter

Develop a strategy to hit your goals for the next quarter. This will help you drive great results for your customers over the next 90 days.

If your customer wants to focus on lead generation to bolster your lead routing system set a goal to increase their quarter-per-quarter leads generated by 20% during the QBR. Afterward, guide the customer through your plan during the meeting.

If you want to increase their email list subscribers, set a goal of collecting 5,000 email subscribers from their website. Then, create a plan to improve their current landing page's copy and design and present it to your customer. This idea is to get customers excited about the coming quarter while buying yourself enough time to set goals and create a solid game plan to achieve them.

3. Create Space for Feedback

Express your thoughts, data, and goals during a QBR meeting, but without depriving the customers of the chance to share their thoughts with you.

For 15-20 minutes of your QBR meeting, allow your customers to share their viewpoints and feedback on:

  • What's working for them
  • What’s not working for them
  • What changes they would like to see in the next 90 days

Not only will this boost customer engagement, but it will also help you understand how to enhance customer service.

4. Send an Agenda

A detailed QBR meeting agenda ensures your QBR content matches your customers' expectations during the meeting. Sending an agenda before the scheduled meeting loops your customers into what you’re going to present and discuss at the meeting.

Doing so gives them time to discuss with their team, ask questions, or request any revisions. We recommend sending a QBR agenda to your customers at least a week in advance so they have plenty of time to go through the plan and make changes.

5. Count on Your Customer Health Index

Immediately after the QBR, the CSMs should transfer all important notes to that customer’s record and tag all important team members.

The new context will update their customer health score, which should also be shared with other team members. Provide your most insightful data in the form of a customer health index (CHI).

How To Avoid Common QBR Meeting Mistakes

Two women talking during a QBR meeting

Oftentimes, novice QBR leaders can stumble on their own words or fail to take criticism in a fair light. Remember, your poise and reflection only serve to make a QBR meeting more valuable for you and the customer. So now that you know what to cover in your QBRs, let’s talk about some general no-nos.

Keep the Conversation Positive

Contrary to popular belief, QBR meetings aren't meant to focus solely on identifying and focusing on shortcomings or failures. While you do want to discuss negatives, don't forget about celebrating the positives. This ensures you have the opportunity to solve customers' problems while reminding them of your product's benefits.

Acknowledge Criticism

If customers criticize your products, don’t get defensive. Empathize with them to understand where their problems come from and how you can solve them. Through empathy and active listening, you can discover shortfalls and holes in your product offerings, allowing you to improve upon them. Leverage critical customer conversations to brainstorm effective solutions and identify valuable features to add to your customer base.

Keep It Short

Don’t extend the meeting time limit more than needed. Sometimes, a specific story/problem may need more attention, but try to keep the overall meeting tight and focused. Don’t extend the time by more than an hour.

Provide Refreshments

Fact: your customers expect refreshments when attending your next meeting.

Use Hoppier to treat customers to delicious food and beverages and get them to actively participate during a QBR. From hearty breakfasts to energizing coffee/tea and snacks, Hoppier has you covered.

Sign up with Hoppier to create a customized virtual card, set a balance, and allow customers to choose their favorite refreshments from vendors like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and even Uber Eats!

Set the Next Meeting

Tell your customers about the next QBR meeting at the conclusion of the current one. This shows you’re ready to bring positive changes and follow up on the customer's problems. Plus, it'll motivate you to show results to your customers the next time you meet them.

Questions To Ask at a QBR Meeting

QBR Meeting with clients in a conference room

During a QBR meeting, a holistic approach to your product offerings and the problems of your clients is essential. But you’re not a mind reader — you need to ask the right questions to elicit the right answers. Here are three questions to help you extract the most value from your meetings.

1. What Happened?

Ask your customers questions related to:

  • The results you brought last quarter
  • Things that could’ve been done better or differently
  • The losses you incurred and how you can reverse them

Ask questions that open loops to stories, focus on deep thinking, and get valuable takeaways. Don’t confuse your readers with surprise questions. Instead, send the questions you’ll ask beforehand.

2. Can We Win?

Review your QBR health pipeline for the following:

  • Coverage for the next quarter
  • Balance long shots and low-risk sales
  • Contracts stuck in the sales process
  • Deals forecasted for the next two to three quarters
  • Prospects who match your value proposition and channels

Don’t wait for the QBR to discuss the health pipeline. In the first two to three months of every quarter, discuss your health pipeline and ideal customer profile with your sales reps.  

Communicate how to balance near-term selling with pipeline building and know your minimum pipeline coverage ratios. If a rep focuses exclusively on deals with a size far above your average, be cautious. They can jeopardize the next two quarters, which is something you definitely want to avoid.

3. How Will We Win?

Make forecast discussion and commitment a big part of your QBR meeting. In addition, you should keep an eye on your reps’ plans and help them feel confident about the following:

  • The results to date and plan to book
  • Prepare deals if some of the deals fail
  • How to find new deals that can be booked in the same quarter

Admittedly, asking questions about deals and activities can feel intimidating. But the key here is earning trust — both the manager's trust in getting the story straight and a rep's trust in the manager's ability to assist.

Helping Customers and Promoting Engagement: The Integral Parts of a QBR Meeting

There's no one-size-fits-all solution for your QBR meetings. You can make different choices for different customers based on the needs of one customer. When you plan each QBR with the intent of helping your customers succeed and promote engagement, you’re on the right track to creating valuable quarterly business reviews.

And remember — a QBR meeting with active participation is a recipe for success. Don't forget to give your customers a personalized Hoppier experience and treat them to healthy snacks, food, and beverages.

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Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

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Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
arrow point to CTA

Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo


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