How to Make QBRs Valuable for Your Customers
Quarterly Business Reviews are a common practice for B2B sales companies. They’re meant to provide value for the customer and also provide an opportunity for the sales team to discover ways to help customers be successful, but all too often they miss the mark. Most executives have been through countless lackluster or for lack of a better term, bad QBRs. That’s why your buyers may avoid these important discussions and opt to not come altogether. With a well-defined process on how your customer-facing teams create and capture value, you can differentiate your approach to these important meetings.
Understand the Common Misconceptions About QBRs:
Here are some of the common buyer perceptions on QBRs with their vendors:
- Very low expectation of value, a waste of time.
- A chance to share poor reports on implementation success and usage metrics.
- An opportunity to list their complaints.
- A veiled selling rouse, under the premise of “focused on their customer’s success”.
- Minimal focus on business-centric outcomes, solely a product- or services-focused conversation.
- A thing of the past that they can delegate to other team members, because the engagement has lost its importance, in relation to everything else going on.
These perceptions are an indicator that your buyer has engaged with poor sellers in the past or perhaps there was a lack of alignment between what the buyer thought they were getting and what they received so far from your company. This misalignment happens when salespeople neglect to focus on the business-level needs of their buyers in the initial sale, in a way that sets them up to validate solution success in the QBR. Course correct this situation by helping your sales team align with their buyer in the initial sale and ensure consistent alignment throughout the entire customer engagement process.
How to Make Quarterly Business Reviews a Differentiator for Your Company:
Make QBRs a valuable business driver for your company and improve customer retention by equipping reps to have buyer-focused sales conversations and establish what matters to their prospects and customers before, during and after the sale.
For most companies, the goal of a customer QBR is to solidify a business-level justification for keeping your solution as a line item in their budget, and possibly expanding it. To achieve this goal, shift your salespeople’s mindset around the process, from a “quarterly business review”, to a “quarterly value review.” Focus your sales team on uncovering and attaching to key buying criteria in the initial sale — so that criteria can be executed on throughout the rest of the customer engagement process.
Provide your sales team with a framework to execute a buyer-focused discovery and negotiation processes. The framework should help your reps identify and align the business deal to their buyer’s critical purchasing criteria:
- Positive business outcomes: the tangible benefits that result from a buyer implementing your solutions. (Reps need to uncover these PBOs, the related big business pains that cause them, and the before and after scenarios of implementing solutions.)
- Solution requirements: the requirements for achieving a PBO; what it will take from a potential solution to successfully achieve a PBO.
- Metrics: the metrics that will be used by your customer and your team to jointly measure the solution’s success and ability to create a PBO.
Having the above criteria solidified and agreed upon by the decision-makers in your buyer’s organization helps your account team build a roadmap to their success that can be executed by critical post-sale teams, and validated in QBRs.
Your sales reps' ability to successfully discover buying criteria and attach your solution’s value and differentiation to it, during the initial sale, will massively improve your account team’s ability to successfully execute a QBR. This improved ability to drive QBR success is a result of reps (1) successfully attaching to buying criteria that your solution can follow through on and (2) consistently communicating that criteria through handoffs to critical post-sale teams.
When sales and post-sales organizations focus on that criteria and execute accordingly, the QBR becomes an opportunity to communicate successes and consult on other critical outcomes. During the QBR executive-level buyers will understand the importance of participating, talking through where they stand on critical business outcomes.
Actions Steps to Get Started:
To make this shift in your sales organization and ensure successful QBRs — make sure every customer-facing team along that engagement process has a consistent value-based language and is aligned on how to communicate critical requirements, metrics and PBOs. From sales to implementation teams, customer success, and other post-sales organizations, improve consistency and ensure execution.
Ensure your reps can discover and attach your solution’s value and differentiation to their prospect’s buying criteria. Build consistency in your sales and post-sales teams’ ability to communicate and execute on that critical buying criteria throughout the entire customer engagement process. Consider these steps:
1. Equip salespeople to instill value in the initial sale that can be leveraged and validated in future QBRs
Improve your sales team’s ability to leverage your solution’s value and competitive differentiation, validate a premium price, and set your company and your buyer up for success during future QBRs. Take these steps and share these resources with your sales team:
- Train your sellers to ask discovery conversations with confidence and empathy to create a healthy tension in the conversation and urgency from the buyer.
- Provide sellers with effective questioning frameworks that enable them to repeatedly dig deep and uncover big business opportunities.
- Build out a negotiation framework your reps can use to ensure you can deliver on promised buyer outcomes. Consider working executive participation in your QBRs as part of your give-get strategy.
- Coach sellers on the importance of understanding and capturing a “Collective Yes” from those who will be part of the implementation and future QBRs.
If you are looking to make a robust improvement to your salespeoples’ ability to negotiate, compare your current negotiation process to an elite sales negotiation process that gets results.
2. Equip your customer-facing organization to consistently communicate buyer outcomes, PBOs, Metrics and solution requirements
Keep reps focused on a roadmap to your buyer’s success, not just closing the deal. Start by tightening up handoffs from sales to other critical customer-facing departments. Ensure there’s consistency around what the buyer was promised when they signed, the critical outcomes they’re aiming to achieve and the plan for how they’re going to get there. Use these action steps:
Consider implementing a buyer-focused framework that drives consistency around terms and improves post-sale team understanding of buyer PBOs, required capabilities and metrics.
See how other sales leaders successfully build organizational alignment around their value messages and critical post-sale buyer outcomes.
- Generate alignment between your customer success and sales organizations.
Integrate buying criteria (PBOs, metrics, required capabilities) into your customer databases and CRMs to improve consistency.
Align your entire company around your solution’s value and differentiation.
Assess for opportunities to refine customer handoffs at every critical stage, SDR to AE, AE to post-sale teams, etc. Ensure the handoff brings everyone up-to-speed on what the customer is trying to achieve and why certain decisions were made.
2x Conversion Rates & Other Benefits to Creating a Culture of Buyer Alignment
Sysdig’s sales organization recently put in the hard work to solidify alignment with their buyer and drive consistency across their entire customer-engagement process. Their reps are now better at creating a business-level justification for the initial purchase and setting their company up for success in helping their customers achieve their critical outcomes.
Sysdig now operates with a consistent, buyer-centric customer engagement approach, meaning everyone understands where the customer wants to go, what will need to happen to get there, and how they’re jointly measuring success. As a result of this buyer-focused approach, Sysdig has seen company-wide benefits, and—most importantly—they’re better at making their customers successful.
Sysdig’s customer-facing organization is driving 2x conversion rates and skyrocketing gross and net retention revenues. Watch the video to hear their CRO discuss how he operationalized a culture of buyer alignment.