Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
“Thanks Mr. or Mrs. Customer for making the time to review ‘our’ activities over the last quarter.
We saved you XX amount of dollars, reduced churn and disruptions by XX%, have improved productivity by XX% and have saved your business from near collapse. Aren’t we great?“
Of course, the QBR is a necessary evil, annoying exercise. In it’s best form it strengthens relationships. It solidifies partnerships and uncovers growth opportunities for all parties. Unfortunately, in its worst form it may have the opposite effect. In this blog, I address a sales strategy to enliven QBRs and improve account management.
How to Fix the QBR – Benefit You and Your Customers
The QBR is in desperate need of an overhaul. The core problem may not be the actual QBR itself. The real problem is in how we think about the exercise as a whole. Don’t think about it as checks and balances. Don’t think about it as an opportunity for you to showcase your value. Instead, think about it as a buyer-focused event.
To spice up your next QBR, get a copy of the QBR Joint Scorecard. It will uncover account strengths and weaknesses from the customer’s perspective.
If you’re not using a Joint Scorecard already, take the initiative. Start this type of QBR conversation. This approach flips conventional wisdom on its head. Similar to my last blog (5 Ways to Address Risk with Customers) this Scorecard will separate you from the competition. You demonstrate initiative and solidify yourself as a partner. It also helps with sales development. Few vendors are prepared, or willing, to do this.
7 Simple Steps to a QBR that Adds Value
Here’s a simple 7-step process to improve the quality and effectiveness of your QBRs.
- Develop: Four weeks before your QBR, develop the Joint Scorecard. Include the metrics you believe are most important to the customer.
- Setup: Schedule a prewire meeting with the customer to present the scorecard. Address and discuss your proposed metrics. The meeting can be face to face or virtual.
- Buy-in: Obtain confirmation from the customer on their KPIs and success metrics. It is critical to get the customer’s input on the weight associated with each metric. This is the type of buyer insight that will truly add value.
- Revise and Resend: With thecustomer’s metrics and weightings, revise the Joint Scorecard. Send it back to the customer to grade your efforts.
- Return: Instruct the customer to return the completed scorecard to you one week prior to the QBR. This will enable you and your team to review the results and incorporate them into your QBR deck.
- Engage: During the course of the QBR you will engage the customer by discussing the results of the Joint Scorecard. Avoid the temptation to become defensive. Be open to input and allow any gaps (low scores) in the ratings to direct your discussions. This shows the customer that you’re truly interested in improving.
- Repeat: Incorporate the Joint Scorecard into future QBRs. This shouldn’t be a “one and done” exercise. Apply data from the Joint Scorecard across quarters to show trends in performance. Develop collective plans with the customer to address and improve results.
Good customer service is about buliding relationships. Strengthening partnerships. Improving performance. The QBR is a great way to achieve all of these things. Don’t follow the old format. Break the mold and better it. Anyone can drone on and say, “look what we’ve done for you.” Instead, take a good hard look at the account. Then you can say: “Here’s what we should focus on next quarter to move the needle.”
This won’t only solidify you as a partner for years to come. It will also improve the status of the account overall. When your clients win, you win. Make it happen with the QBR Joint Scorecard.
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