How to design worthwhile QBRs

Quarterly or Executive Business Reviews (QBRs/EBRs) or are often a charter of Customer Success teams. Improperly executed, it is a point of stress for the CSM and a waste of time for the customer resulting in a weakened relationship. Skillfully planned and delivered with finesse, these business reviews become key milestones - strengthening your value and an appealing event to material influencers.


Inspired by CSM Practice’s 5 Rookie QBR Mistakes from Irit Eizips with a downloadable checklist.

1.     Have a customer-centric agenda: Recognize you are chosen to solve a problem, not to be another "cool tool" in their IT arsenal. What’s in it for them? Why prioritize this meeting? Avoid usage the data-dump. 

2.     Put in the time to plan: Memorable QBRs produce meaningful and actionable insights for the customer. Identify your internal champion and partner with them to get buy-in, confirm their current priorities and challenges, and getting the right people in the room. Avoid presenting a cookie-cutter template lacking real personalization. 

3.     Build in engagement: Structuring opportunities for two-way conversations and real-time feedback. As DoubleDutch's CCO Annie Tsai says, the richest feedback is usually implicitly shared and not what the customers explicitly tell you. Ask open-ended questions such as “What are…” or “How could we…” such as “How might [a recommended adjustment] help you get more value from our solution?” Avoid an exhaustive monologue.

4.     Decide on next steps together: Engaging conversations lead to brainstorming with your clients. These discussions also increase your perceived value as their Customer Success Manager and internal advocate. Use this occasion to offer best practices, recommendations, and gain agreement for next steps towards continuous improvement. Avoid ending the meeting with no forward momentum. 

5.     Follow-up is crucial: Wrapping the review with mutual commitments, from both sides, prevents these meetings from being a checkbox. These Business Reviews are bricks you lay in the customer relationship foundation. Continue to drive accountability and results. This consistent delivery of value makes renewal and expansion conversations natural transitions vs. blind leaps of faith.

Other resources to help build a strong QBR and Engagement

  • ClientSuccess CSM Sam Feil on Product Usage & Lessons Worth Learning Early
  • TheSalesHunter shares some good tips in this post including (1) call your customers and thank them for their business (2) Don’t allow your customers think you might have a year-end (or renewal time) sale.

If you liked this post, you might also like Create & Deliver Value in your next QBR/EBR.