How to Conduct Valuable Quarterly Business Review Meetings (QBRs) in 2023

Cassy Aite
January 12, 2023
How to Conduct Valuable Quarterly Business Review Meetings (QBRs) in 2023

Companies have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer. But how do you increase customer retention? That's where QBRs come into the picture. 

Quarterly Business Reviews or QBRs give you a bird's eye view of your customer's problems and opportunities to create better products and/or services. But structuring and conducting these sessions can be tricky, as you need to solve customers' problems while highlighting the success of your product. 

Luckily, you can follow a pattern to ensure success. 

In this guide, we’ll dig into the fundamentals of conducting effective QBRs and how you can extract the most value from these meetings. 

What is a quarterly business review?

Group of people holding a meeting

A quarterly business review is a meeting conducted with your customer once every quarter. The purpose of this meeting is to: 

  • provide value to the customers and connect with them on a deeper level. 
  • help business leaders put forward their vision and mission to their customers 

These face-to-face meetings are arguably the most important tool in your toolbox for improved customer success. But to master QBR, you need a strategic mindset.

To earn your customer's trust, you need to position yourself as an adviser — not a salesperson. QBRs give you a chance to understand your customer's future plans with your business, helping solidify your relationships. 

Why should your company conduct quarterly business reviews?

If you’re a large company, you may find it harder to maintain individual relationships with your customers due to the lack of time. But that doesn't mean maintaining customer relationships at every stage of your growth should be an afterthought. 

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

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

Aside from this, there are many other benefits of conducting quarterly business reviews:

  1. Strengthen customer relationships
  2. Build deeper executive relationships
  3. Show off ROI
  4. Develop a straightforward direction for growth
  5. Reduce contract questions
  6. 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, thereby hindering your company's growth. 

What to include in your QBR: 6 key elements

Man and woman high-fiving each other

Heading straight into meetings with no preparation can be 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  

The best QBRs follow a simple strategy. 

Here are the six core elements of an effective QBR meeting:

Share performance data

QBRs let you review your product's performance in the past quarter. 

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

Ensure your presented data is targeted to your customers. Instead of presenting all product features to your customers, include data about customer acquisition. 

Suppose your customer purchased your tool to schedule social media posts. 

Show then 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 the data for the past 90 days to compare the customer's social media handles from previous engagement to the new engagement your software has bought. 

Then show how your software has created a positive impact on your customers' business. 

Set goals for the next quarter

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

If your customer wants to focus on lead generation, for example, set a goal to increase their quarter-per-quarter leads generated by 20 percent during the QBR. Then guide the customer through your plan during the meeting. 

Or, if you want to increase their email list subscribers, you can set a goal of collecting 5,000 email subscribers from their website — and 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.

Create space for feedback

You should express your thoughts, data, and goals during a QBR — but without depriving the customers the chance to share their thoughts with you. 

For 15-20 minutes of your QBR, you can 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 also help you understand how to enhance customer service. 

Send an agenda

A detailed agenda helps ensure your QBR content matches your customers' expectations during the meeting. Plus, sending ones before the scheduled meeting loops your customers into what you’re going to be presenting and discussing at the meeting. 

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

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). 

Not sure what a CHI is or how can you calculate it? Don’t worry. That’s all covered in the next section.

Set yourself and your customer up for success

QBRs help you stay connected with your customers and understand exactly how your product makes things easier for them. They show your customers you genuinely care about their business and not just see dollar signs.

How to avoid common QBR mistakes

A man presenting a meeting

Now that you know what to cover in your QBRs, let’s talk about some general no-nos.

Keep the conversation overall positive

Contrary to popular belief, QBRs aren't meant to solely focus on identifying and focusing shortcoming or failures. While you do want to discuss negatives, don't forget about celebrating the positives. 

This will ensure you have the opportunity to solve customers' problems while reminding them of your product's benefits.  

Acknowledge criticism

Don’t go all defensive on your customers if they criticize your products. Rather empathize with them to understand where their problems come from and how you can solve them. 

Think of the criticism as an opportunity to create better products or add new features. Leverage those customers' conversations about problems 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. 

At times, 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.

You can use Hoppier to treat customers to delicious food and beverages to get them to participate more actively during a QBR. From hearty breakfasts to energizing coffee/tea and snacks, we've got you covered. 

Sign up with us 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 up the next steps

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

What questions should you ask at a QBR?

Two women talking to each other

Here are the 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 and how
  • Things that could’ve been done better or differently
  • The losses you incurred and how we can reverse them 

Focus on asking 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 be asking 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 ICP with your sales reps.  

Be sure to 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 also keep an eye on your reps’ plans and help them feel confident for the following:

  • In best and worst cases they can commit to their deals
  • 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.

Final Thoughts

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'll be on the right track to creating valuable quarterly business reviews.

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


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