QBR, also known as a quarterly business review is a meeting that allows you to strengthen your relationship with customers by gathering feedback and using it to better your product.
This makes it essential for product development and customer success. The only problem is, it can get boring real quick.
So in this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about running an engaging QBR meeting. We'll look at some best practices while reviewing an example agenda you can implement today.
A QBR is a meeting you hold with customers every 90 days. During this meeting, gather constructive criticism and find how you can develop your product to better suit the needs of clients.
QBR meetings are commonly used by startups looking to build relationships with customers and develop their products.
The three most common types of QBR meetings are:
Pre and post renewal meeting
With onboarding meetings, you're sitting down with customers who just signed up and helping them learn how to use your product to its full potential. You're also getting an idea of the pain point behind why they signed up, allowing you to optimize marketing campaigns.
Businesses that offer a subscription service run pre and post-renewal meetings with customers every quarter. They'll ask questions like:
How has our product empowered your life?
What part of our product would you like to see us improve?
Why did you choose us over the competition?
This strengthens relationships with customers and helps you understand product limitations.
The last type of QBR meeting is exit meetings. You sit down with customers who canceled their subscription, and you find out what led them to that decision. Maybe the interface is cluttered, or customer success didn't ensure they used the tool to its full potential.
If you see a specific problem popping up multiple times, you'll want to fix it since it's costing customers.
Here are some benefits of QBR meetings:
It strengthens relationships with customers
You get insight into product weaknesses and customer sticking points
You keep track of progress made
It acts as an early warning
Having quarterly meetings with clients about how your product can improve shows you care about their needs.
This way, you aren't viewing customers as one-off deals. Instead, it's a long-term partnership that ensures continual growth on both sides.
By holding quarterly meetings, you learn about product weaknesses and how to improve. This allows for continual growth.
So instead of stagnating or introducing upgrades customers don't need, you'll be able to use real-life feedback to better the user experience.
It's easier to keep track of progress when having meetings every 90 days. Use the notes from your last meeting to see how your product improved. It's also important to consult your customers about changes made over the last three months and find out if it's positively impacting their work processes.
A sudden increase in customer churn rates surprises many companies.
But it doesn’t happen overnight. These customers suffer in silence because your product isn't meeting their needs. And after a few months, they’ll cancel their subscription. Without QBR meetings, it's almost impossible to pick up on this.
Quarterly meetings act as an early-warning system that lets you adapt. If you notice a pattern of customer problems, you still have time to fix it before your churn rate increases.
Now let's look at some QBR meeting best practices.
These are seven tips for making your QBR meetings more effective:
Prioritize the client’s goals
Don’t call it a QBR
Keep it short
Use the nine-minute rule
Highlight the results your product achieved
Use pictures in your presentation
The golden rule to running a productive QBR meeting is to prioritize the client's business goals. Your entire QBR should be relevant to the goals of your customer because it keeps them engaged. If a particular topic isn’t relevant, there's no reason to include it. It'll just distract you from what matters.
So when writing a QBR meeting agenda, ask yourself if the subtopics help clients reach their goals. This ensures you stay on track.
If it's your first QBR meeting with a client, ask about their business objectives after the introduction. This allows you to base the rest of the meeting on how you can help them achieve this goal.
A QBR sounds boring, and most customers won't even know what it is without Googling it. So avoid calling it a QBR.
Instead, get creative and rebrand your meeting by giving it a title that engages customers and gets them looking forward. If you're short on ideas, consider these alternatives:
Business planning review
Partnership development workshop
Strategy and performance workshop
The easiest way to make QBR meetings dull is to drag out the length.
Length doesn't equal effectiveness, and the longer your meeting is, the lower customer engagement will be.
So keep it short. 30 minutes to an hour should do the trick because you can cover all the essential topics like product usage goals and sticking points.
This is where meeting productivity software like Airgram can help. It allows you to create meeting agendas within minutes and set timers for individual topics. This optimizes productivity and removes side discussions.
The nine-minute rule states we lose interest when something doesn't catch our attention within nine minutes. So if your QBR meeting introduction is tedious, customers become unengaged, negatively affecting feedback.
This is why it's crucial to divide your QBR meeting into two parts: an engaging yet quick summary under nine minutes and a detailed discussion. This way, you hook the customer's attention and get them invested before covering finer details like KPIs and constructive criticism.
Even though you've grabbed your customer's attention with an engaging introduction, you don't want them to mentally shut down halfway through the meeting. So cover your product's results shortly after the introduction.
Look back at the sticking points your customer brought up 90 days ago and discuss how you're working to fix these problems.
During QBR meetings, stick to real-life data and KPIs (key performance indicators) because it provides a more accurate measurement of progress. These KPIs could be:
Customer satisfaction scores
Customer effort scores
Net promoter scores
This way, you can compare current KPIs to those taken 90 days ago and see how your changes affect the customer experience.
We're visual creatures, so we respond better to images than text. Studies show visual presentations are 43 percent more persuasive than those without pictures.
So if you're using several charts, consider adding a few visuals to spice things up since it prevents your presentation from becoming monotonous.
Here's an example QBR template for your quarterly meetings:
Meeting title: Don’t call it a QBR. Give it a more creative title like business planning review.
Date and time: When is your QBR meeting taking place?
Roles: Who’s joining the meeting?
Introduction: Welcome your client and thank them for taking time out of their schedule.
Meeting summary: Summarize the entire meeting within nine minutes and show how it’ll help the client achieve their goals.
Recap the last 90 days: Review feedback the client gave you during the last QBR meeting and show how you’re improving your product.
Customer goals questions: Ask your customer what goals they have and if any new business objectives popped up over the last 90 days.
Account review: Use KPIs to review your client’s account.
Customer feedback: Ask your customer what they’d like to see more of, and where you can improve.
Action items and summary: Summarize the entire meeting and assign action items to your team so they know what to do after the QBR is finished.
Although these seven tips and example agenda are a good starting point for running your first QBR meeting, it's still easy to get sidetracked. This negatively impacts productivity and the client experience.
This is where productivity software like Airgram helps.
With this tool, writing a meeting agenda only takes a few minutes, and you can set timers that help participants stay on track. This significantly reduces meeting time and enables you to achieve goals faster.
Airgram even allows you to transcribe meetings in eight languages.
And once your meeting is over, use the highlights feature to grab important snippets and create a short highlights video. So if anyone missed the meeting, simply forward the video summary to them via integrations.
Running an effective QBR meeting is about helping your client reach their goals. This means you'll have to structure the entire meeting around how your product can do this and ask for constructive criticism.
In future meetings, analyze progress and find out how it's benefiting your client. You also want to ask for feedback during every QBR because it helps iron out sticking points.
QBR meetings allow you to build stronger relationships with customers by tailoring your product around their needs. You understand your customers' goals, which gives product development a clear target. If there are any weaknesses, you'll find out about them, meaning you're continuously improving.
Cover product usage goals, strategic challenges, future development plans, and questions on how you can develop your product to better suit customers' needs.
Running a QBR meeting is essential because it builds relationships with customers and allows you to better position your product as the solution to their problems. With the insight you get from QBR meetings, you can develop your product in the right direction.
However, running QBR meetings is tricky, and getting valuable feedback is almost impossible if you don't have clear objectives.
This is where Airgram can help. It lets you optimize QBR productivity and lower time spent in meetings. So if you're looking to get better insight into client goals, sign up for a free Airgram account.
Ranee has worked in the SaaS industry for nearly ten years. She loves working with, learning from, and helping develop effective leaders and is willing to share her thoughts through words. Outside of work, you can find her dancing, hiking in the mountains, or reading in a cafe.