Part of your job as a Key Account Manager is to conduct Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) with all of your key account clients. These are not normal report sessions, but interactive meetings that need to be relevant and useful for both parties involved. You need to learn how to conduct a great QBR if you want it to succeed.

The Goal of a QBR

After the QBR is over, both you and your clients should be fully updated on the progress that’s been made towards mutual goals since the last meeting and how you both plan to proceed. The main goals of a QBR are to keep both sides updated on the progress of the strategic partnership, to re-evaluate existing goals, and to re-align company actions to a more useful track.

QBR Necessities

Each QBR will be run a little differently for every company, but the basic elements remain the same. Here are the essential characteristics of any successful QBR:

  • Client Focus
  • Detailed Feedback from the Client
  • Listening to the Client & Understanding Their Perspective
  • 50-50 Participation
  • Updated Voice of Customer (VOC)
  • Open-Ended Questions & Follow-Ups
  • Narrow Focus on Beneficial Topics for the Client
  • Feedback to the Client & Requests from You
  • Simple, Sophisticated Data Presentation

QBR Mistakes

There are a lot of mistakes that are commonly made in a QBR. These things can ruin the meeting’s usefulness and may sometimes lead the Key Account Manager and the client to walk away with different understandings of the partnership and progress. If the client and Key Account Manager are not on the same page concerning goals and commitments, this can lead to poor strategies and worsening relations between the two parties.

Here are some of the most common mistakes made in QBRs:

  • Focusing on Your Company for the Majority of the Meeting
  • Using a QBR to Pitch Products and Services to the Client
  • Presenting in a Show Up & Throw Up Sales Style
  • Looking Too Much on the Past Quarter and Too Little on the Future
  • Long, Drawn-Out Presentations without Interactivity

Tips for Conducting a Successful QBR

What can you do to make sure you’re doing a good job with your QBR? Preparations are important, but how you conduct the meeting will also have a huge effect on its success. These are my tips for conducting a successful QBR:

  • Review milestones and progress

Start off by looking at the past quarter, or however long has passed since your last QBR meeting. This is important, as it’s the best way to look at the progress that’s been made and if you reached your mutually set goals or not. Present easy to understand data and ask for their insights as well as providing your own.

  • Make requests to your customer

Based on what happened the past quarter, make any necessary requests of the client to help make future quarters go more smoothly and to reach goals.

  • Mutual feedback

Both parties should then provide feedback on how well the partnership worked recently. Ask the client how well they think you both worked together, and provide your feedback as well.

  • Discuss how to move forward

Turn your focus to the future. Discuss the goals and milestones that are ahead of you, and how you both plan to proceed to meet the mutual goals.

  • Make commitments towards future goals

Once you’ve discussed the way forward and decided on the best strategic option, commit to that decision and what’s been discussed. Ask your client to also commit to meeting the goals and milestones that were discussed.

  • Delegate goal responsibility to specific departments or individuals

Commitment isn’t always enough to create accountability, so it’s wise to designate a specific person or people to be responsible for meeting those goals. This creates a strong sense of accountability towards mutual success and gives each side a point of contact if things don’t get done as planned.

  • Send out the meeting minutes to all attendees

After the meeting has concluded, a summarized minutes document should be sent to each of the attendees of the meeting. You may want to send it out to a few others who are involved in the partnership but were not at the meeting, so they can be updated on progress.

Don’t Get Hung Up on the Word “Quarterly”

A tip to help make things easier for you and your clients is to allow flexibility in your meeting schedule. Although we call them Quarterly Business Reviews, they don’t have to be limited to every quarter. Some clients may want to hold these meetings more frequently or less frequently, depending on the scope of the partnership or the industry you’re operating in. This type of flexibility is beneficial and may allow the meetings to be more useful when they do happen.

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