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The 5 Most Common Mistakes Made in QBRs

In sales, the hardest thing to do is to sell a customer. The second hardest thing is to keep the customer.

Profitable growth begins with client retention. Gartner Group research indicates that 80% of your company's future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

A key component for client retention as well as expansion is holding effective Quarterly Business Reviews (or QBRs).

In previous articles, we've shared why it is the most important meeting, best practices for planning them, and critical success factors for holding effective QBRs. Yet, all too often we are seeing the same mistakes being made.

Can you guess what they are?

5 Most Common QBR Mistakes

1. Not holding them every quarter

You probably got this one. Holding effective Quarterly Business Reviews is important, but they need to be done consistently every quarter. People change. Priorities change. Technology changes and their needs change.

Regular Quarterly Business Reviews provide an avenue for key stakeholders on both sides to assess the current state of the relationship and provide a forum to discuss issues and opportunities, changes that are taking place, and to reinforce the value that is being provided.

2. The right people are not in attendance

Ideally, at least 3 levels from the client side are recommended. Do ensure that the executive sponsor is in attendance. The Key Decision Maker and Influencers participate along with anyone else that can help move the relationship forward (such as the counterpart over a different division).

If it has been difficult to get client stakeholders to invest time in participating in the QBR, it is likely that they do not see the value in it. See #3. Make a concerted effort to know the players and find out their critical concerns and objections in advance.

3. Go crazy with data

We've seen slide decks filled with financial information, operation and activity reports, order history, and fancy charts. No analysis of the information was provided in them. No impact from the customer’s operating reality was described. Efforts were not monetized.

The QBR shouldn’t be treated as a ‘drop by’ where reports are just dropped off. It is a strategic meeting. The QBR offers the opportunity to do a formal review of performance compared to client expectations, build the web of influence, and plan for continuous improvement.

4. It is not about the customer

Too much information is presented about the company, company history, etc. and not focused on the customer’s critical concerns and objectives.Use this sparingly and call out points relevant to the client or to the goal of the QBR.

Instead, learn about their strategic initiatives.Cover how you have helped achieve the previous quarter’s objectives.Illustrate the value have you created for them. If you can talk about the customer’s customer here, it is even more valuable. Review SLAs together and gain their perceptions. Discuss issues openly, develop action plans, and set new objectives for the quarter that you will include in the next QBR.

5. Not using it as a cross-selling opportunity

Asking questions about upcoming initiatives will help uncover other problems that your company can solve for them too. Never let a client say, ‘We didn’t know you did that.” Provide something “new” for the client each time to show innovation and continued value creation.

Research shows that it's 6 to 7 times more expensive to sell to new customers than to resell to existing ones. Great Quarterly Business Reviews are held quarterly, include key stakeholders from both sides, focus on the customer, their initiatives and how your company is helping to achieve them. Butler Street’s QBR training covers the framework, agenda and formats, and the training for you and your teams to leverage these strategic meetings to retain and grow in your key accounts. Contact us for help before another quarter goes by.

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