What are Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) and How do you make the Most of them?

Learn Liongard Pro-Tips for Enhancing Your QBRs

Many managed services providers (MSPs) and customer success managers either dread quarterly business reviews (QBRs) or doubt that a QBR presentation is even necessary. However, a QBR is more than just a formality to get out of the way. As an MSP, you can leverage your quarterly business review to grow your relationship with your clients, solidify your customer base, and boost customer success.

Keep reading to find out what a QBR is (and isn’t), how to make your QBRs interesting and useful, and how smart QBR practices can contribute to business growth and customer success.

What Is a Quarterly Business Review?

As you may surmise, a QBR, sometimes called an EBR (executive business review), is a type of regular meeting that MSPs and Software as a Service (SaaS) companies hold with their clients on a quarterly basis.

Quarterly business review presentations are a valuable opportunity to touch base with your customer, review the last quarter’s performance, and discuss plans and projections for the upcoming quarter.

Your quarterly review may include:

  • An overview of key performance indicators
  • Key learnings from the past quarter’s statistics
  • A business plan for the next quarter
  • A sales forecast for future quarters

A QBR isn’t a time to act like a sales rep and pitch additional services to the client. Also, while it makes sense to talk about a boost in sales, revenue growth, and other company accomplishments, a good QBR should have more value than merely showing off.

Your QBR conversation should be primarily about your customer’s business: Think about it as an action plan for amplifying customer success.

Is Your QBR Boring?

Conducting QBRs takes some practice. You need to deliver all critical information without exhausting the company executives’ attention span. To do that, your QBR must have structure, conciseness, and purpose.

If you notice people tending to stare into space or fiddle with their phones during your QBR meetings, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Read on for tips that provide a good starting point for making your QBRs more engaging, useful, and conducive to a strong relationship with your top accounts.

The Secrets of a Successful QBR

Don’t Call It a Quarterly Business Review

Saying “QBR” can be enough to make people nod off. You can improve people’s attitude toward QBRs by coming up with a more appealing term, such as a “customer success workshop” or “business performance meeting.”

Keep It Short

Don’t be tempted to cram a deep dive into a QBR meeting. Stick to the core points:

  • Discuss product performance in the past quarter
  • Compare performance to past goals
  • Point out gaps and highlight aims for the upcoming quarter
  • Outline a plan for future customer success

Tell the QBR as a Story

A QBR process doesn’t have to be a lackluster compilation of dry statistics and facts. You can make your report more compelling by turning it into a story. Find a narrative: “The sales team used to work hard but lacked the tools to maximize customer success. When product X stepped into action during the past quarter, the company’s sales managers began to leverage information more easily, resulting in a more efficient sales process.”

The Rule of Three

You can help your audience retain information more effectively if you group it into three brief, powerful segments such as:

  1. Past performance or sales QBRs
  2. Future customer success goals
  3. Business and sales strategy

Use Pictures

Images have a powerful effect on the human mind. Use accompanying pictures, charts, and graphs to illustrate your message.

Stick to Strategy, Not Tactics

A QBR should be a high-level overview. If you zoom in too closely, you’ll get lost in operational details while missing the big picture. Stay focused on major business elements such as:

  • Product performance and sales
  • ROI
  • Results vs. goals
  • Broad plans for the next quarter

Make the QBR an Event

QBRs must deliver enough value for companies to justify attendance in person once a quarter. You don’t want people to think an email could have covered it. Present informative, enlightening content and make sure to involve the relevant top executives.

Send the QBR in Advance

Promoting customer success is easier if the key people, like the sales management team, read your quarterly report in advance. Their feedback can give you valuable ideas on what to include in (or omit from) your presentation. This tactic can be especially useful before your first QBR with a new customer.

Read the Room

Your QBR’s success hangs on capturing your audience and holding their focus. Pay attention to the people in the room: Are the sales managers nodding off? Does the production team look disengaged?

If you feel like the meeting is about to disintegrate, try to break the monotony of a one-person speech by asking a question or listening to customer feedback.

Some helpful techniques are to preface with a story, weave in a joke, or skip to the more captivating parts of your presentation. Don’t miss this golden opportunity to engage with a customer you might only meet once a quarter.

Elevate your Quarterly Business Reviews with Liongard Reporting

As a managed services provider (MSP), your customers won’t need to contact you very often if you’re doing everything right. They might even forget about all the ways your company adds value and saves them headaches every day. That’s why QBRs are a great opportunity to build long-lasting partnerships—they give you a way to build trust by showing your contributions to their organization. It’s also a chance to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR)—but only if you’re able to demonstrate your value.

Whether you’re new to QBRs, schedule them consistently, or need to get back on track after the pandemic, you can always streamline your preparation and enhance your approach as your role as MSP and your access to data grow.

Gather the Key Players

Getting the right people together will set your QBR up for success. Make sure to include:

  • Your technical account manager or vCIO
  • Your point of contact on the customer side
  • The customer’s CEO or another relevant, high-ranking company executive
  • The person who “signs the checks” for your services
  • Other department heads that would benefit from hearing the value your MSP provides

Coordinating multiple busy schedules can be tricky, so set things up in advance and aim for a morning meeting (in person or virtual) when everyone’s fresh and receptive.

Prepare a Thorough Report, Efficiently

Don’t operate in stealth-mode—the more ways you can show your value, the more your customer will value your work. Successful MSPs know it all comes down to DREAMS—Data Rules Everything Around Managed Services—and Liongard’s advanced automation puts all that data at your fingertips. With just a few clicks, our reporting feature turns mountains of data into actionable insights for your QBRs.

Using Liongard’s integration with Power BI, plus 55+ other integrations and counting, prepping high-quality, visually appealing, data-driven reports is easy. With all the drudgery taken out of assembling your data, you can focus on hitting all the necessary points of the QBR.

Your QBR Checklist

You may only get in front of this group of people once a quarter, so make it count. A QBR should provide a transparent overview of operations and pertinent details on specific areas of service. The following represents typical areas of an MSP’s QBR, along with some tips to maximize your impact for the highest customer success.

Executive summary
A high-level, easy-to-read report of recent events, successes and issues that occurred in the past quarter, along with opportunities for the future. Colorful charts, graphs and numbers make a huge visual statement in just a glance.
Liongard tip: Run a Liongard Report of the most important data points you want to highlight to create a snapshot that decision-makers can easily understand and refer to.

Service ticket review
Review how your team has handled the volume of tickets coming in.
Liongard tip: Did you have a huge outlier for time to resolution and can’t remember what happened? Use Liongard’s timeline feature to go backwards in time and see what happened.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) review
Compare the service you agreed to provide against the actual service your company provided over the last quarter, highlighting higher performance levels or discussing issues or disputes.
Liongard tip: Liongard’s automation will help you address problems before they become big issues and our unified visibility will empower your team to resolve issues faster and improve your SLA performance.

Technical review
This is where you really show your MSP’s value, discussing what you’ve done to “earn your keep,” including major issues you’ve thwarted or problems you’ve solved for your customer.
Liongard tip: You have the data from Liongard’s Inspectors, so use it here; but explain the real-world effects of your services and actions in a way that non-technical attendees can understand.

Endpoint management review
What has your MSP done to ensure that endpoint devices remain secure and up-to-date? Your customer probably doesn’t know (especially if you’re doing it well), so now’s the time to share details.
Liongard tip: Viewing endpoint data is a cinch in Liongard. Simply select the environment, then the Inspector for your RMM and the data you want to see. Then, run the report. You can even make templates to use across all customers to save even more time in the QBR process.

Network security and management
With security more top-of-mind than ever, your customers want to know exactly what you’re doing to manage and protect their networks from security breaches.
Liongard tip: Setting Actionable Alerts helps catch security concerns before they become fires. Just choose the data point, set the parameters, and apply it across customers. The software will notify your team when it detects any deviation from your standards, automatically creating a ticket in your PSA and adding a little extra peace of mind.

Looking ahead
A QBR shouldn’t be the first time that your customer hears about an issue, so this is the time to start discussing solutions and options—including projects currently underway—along with related budgetary and timeline details.
Liongard tip: The data you’ve provided in the QBR eliminates the need for a ‘hard sell,’ so focus on how proposed projects or services will ultimately help the customer grow and bring them a return on their investment.

Reframing the QBR

As you continue utilizing data and facts to back up your recommendations, your customers will trust you more and more as their IT Trusted Advisor who has their best interests at heart. While increasing MRR is a natural side effect of solid QBRs, the focus should come back to: “What’s best for my customer?” A holistic view of customer systems, accessible in one central location via Liongard, makes it much easier to find and communicate the answers to that question.

Book a demo today to get an in-depth look at how Liongard’s streamlined reporting and automation can enhance your QBRs and strengthen your customer relationships.

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