What Is a Quarterly Business Review? (Tips and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 22, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Quarterly business reviews (QBR) are meetings between a business and its clients, used to assess progress toward goals and discuss future outcomes. Customer success managers often conduct and present these reviews. Learning more about QBRs can help you create an effective one. In this article, we share a definition for a quarterly business review, discuss its benefits, highlight how you can prepare for one, examine what to include, compare QBRs and EBRs, see what to discuss in an annual review, and outline tips for conducting a QBR.

What is a quarterly business review?

A quarterly business review is a meeting in which business professionals present progress from the previous quarter to their clients and discuss goals and achievements. Often, a customer success manager (CSM) is responsible for conducting these reviews. Quarterly reviews go over progress from the last 90 days and discuss plans for the following 90 days. In these meetings, CSMs are able to show customers how they're providing value and learn what customers expect from the business.

Related: How to Write a Customer Success Manager Resume in 10 Steps

What are the benefits of QBRs?

A QBR offers many benefits to customers and businesses, including:

Strengthen relationships with customers

Quarterly reviews are a great way to connect with customers and discuss how you can help them. Meeting with customers also strengthens your relationship because they're able to associate a person with the company with which they're doing business. As a customer success manager, you're typically aware that client satisfaction is a top priority, and building meaningful relationships with customers helps to meet their needs. At these meetings, customers have an opportunity to update their goals or make special requests and this gives a CSM a chance to implement customer suggestions and exceed customer expectations at the next QBR.

Related: Guide: Developing a Customer Relationship (And Importance)

Review goals

During a review of a business quarter, CSMs discuss the progress toward customer goals and share plans for how the company can achieve more progress on these goals in the next quarter. Together, clients and a business can review the goals and adjust them if necessary. This helps ensure that the goals align with customer values and that the company can still deliver promised results.

Review: Goal vs. Vision (With Tips and Goal-Setting Techniques)

Shows the value of a product

CSMs can also demonstrate the value of the product or service they're providing to customers during a QBR. This is beneficial in keeping a customer's business and is a helpful reminder that the company is keeping its promise to a customer. In sharing the value of a product, the CSM may show sales or reveal how the product is achieving a customer's goal. QBRs are also a good time to discuss what added value a company can provide. This strengthens the business relationship and gives a company an opportunity to satisfy its customers.

Related: How to Craft a Proposition of Value (With Definition)

Aids in risk management

Another important benefit of a QBR is that it aids in risk management. During this meeting, a customer may express their dissatisfaction or share another concern about the product. After the QBR, a CSM can work to address the customer's concerns and ensure that the company provides the best possible product. Another risk that a QBR can identify is failure to meet goals. The review shows progress, and if a goal is behind, the business can identify what's slowing progress and ensure that they find a solution to meet the customer's goal by the next QBR.

Related: How to Write Risk Management Plans (With Benefits)

How can you prepare for a quarterly review?

You can prepare for a quarterly review by collecting information regarding a customer account. For example, if your product is an eLearning platform, you may collect subscription information, such as cost, total subscriptions, tier levels, and downloads. It's also important to gather information about important dates, including renewal dates, deadlines, and the duration of the product. Lastly, you may research strategy and goals. When collecting information, consider what questions a customer may ask during the meeting and find the answers.

As you're discussing goals and progress, gather key performance indicators that show the performance of the product. This may include sales, traffic, or subscriptions. Organize all the information you gather in a presentation to share with your customer.

Related: How to Define and Measure a Key Performance Indicator

What can you include in a QBR?

A QBR includes a review of how a product is performing or the performance of a service during the previous 90 days. It also includes a comparison of previous goals, a discussion of future goals, and a plan on how to accomplish these goals. If applicable, you may also include updates about a product or project and share potential issues from the quarter.

While the success of the product is important, during this meeting it's more important to focus on how you can continue to deliver results for the customer. Be sure to provide ample time for the customer to share their thoughts and discuss goals.

Related: Performance Review Goals (Definition, Types, and Importance)

Are QBRs and EBRs the same?

Both meetings review product value and are beneficial to customer success, but QBRs and EBRs aren't the same. An executive business review (EBR) is a meeting with higher-level business managers rather than reviewing individual products. During an EBR, the discussion is about overall organizational goals, whereas QBRs tend to be more specific.

What do you discuss in an annual review?

An annual business review is like a quarterly review, but it includes the performance of a product over the course of a year. These can be easier to prepare for because you can use the quarterly reviews to evaluate goals and progress. Often at these meetings, customers and CSMs may discuss contracts to continue or end their business relationship.

Tips for conducting a QBR

To have a successful QBR, consider these tips:

Practise your presentation

The presentation represents the work your company is performing for a client, so it's important to create an organized presentation and practise presenting so that you perform well during the meeting. It's a good idea to share your presentation with a manager or team member before meeting with a customer. Having another employee who's knowledgeable about the product review your report can improve accuracy.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Presentation Design (With Tips)

Be considerate of your customer's time

Try to keep your presentation short in order to provide the customer with more time to talk. Remember that the review is about your service to the customer. Showing consideration for their time can also help strengthen the business relationship. Depending on the time that you and the customer allot for the meeting, you can determine a suitable length for presenting the performance review.

Listen to the customer

A QBR is customer-based and allows your customer to share their ideas and thoughts about the progress of goals. It's important to listen to the customer to ensure you can align the next quarter's goals to theirs and meet any additional requirements. Listening is also a useful way to build a good customer relationship. You can ask questions to prompt the customer to speak, such as what their future goals are and if they're satisfied with your performance.

Related: 9 Ways to Improve Your Active Listening Skills

Anticipate customer concerns

Anticipating customer concerns may help you be more prepared for your meeting. Try to identify questions they may have so that you can conduct research and have an answer ready. Remember that how you conduct the meeting reflects on the company for which you work and can affect the customer's feelings about the business arrangement.

Customers are likely to ask questions about other offers or additional features they can get from the company. They may also ask about goals or how your team performs tasks relating to the product. Being prepared shows you're knowledgeable and can increase the customer's trust in the company.

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