Quarterly Business Review Best Practices: 9 Ways to Transform Your QBR From Boring to Brilliant

Quarterly Business Reviews don’t always come out of a box in great shape. Here are 9 best practices that transform a dull, boring QBR into an engaging, exciting one your client can’t wait to attend.

00:48 Don’t call it a QBR
01:49 Keep it short
02:47 Tell the QBR as a story
04:02 Use the “Rule of Three”
04:57 Use pictures
06:30 Strategy, not tactics
07:34 Make the QBR an event
10:07 Send the QBR in advance
10:52 Read the room
11:21 How to keep your audience’s attention
13:45 Summary
15:10 Quarterly Business Review PowerPoint template for The KAM Club members


Don’t call it a Quarterly Business Review.
QBR is dull. Use an alternative description that inspires and better reflects the objectives of your meeting.

Keep it short.
One hour should be enough for a Quarterly Business Review. 20 to 30 minutes to review the past, and 30 to 40 minutes to plan the future. No more than 15 slides. 90 minutes is OK for an annual review as there’s a lot more data and these meetings tend to be more planning focused. Move surplus data to an Appendix.

Tell the Quarterly Business Review as a story.
Find the narrative in the data. Present the QBR as a new, unexpected story of what is, what could be and how you are the guide that will get your client to the promised land.

The Rule of Three.
Working memory holds up to 9 items of data for 30 seconds. Improve recall by chunking your insights into groups of three short, powerful messages.

Use pictures.
Humans remember pictures better than words. Include a variety of charts, images, diagrams and icons in your Quarterly Business Review to communicate your ideas.

Stick to strategy, not tactics.
Keep the Quarterly Business Review a high-level review on supplier performance, return on investment, progress towards goals, potential roadblocks and emerging opportunities. Schedule separate time for operational matters or your QBR will dissolve into a problem-solving and complaint resolution mess.

Make it an event.
Make sure your client knows the Quarterly Business Review isn’t another meeting that could have been an email. Generate buzz with a series of emails showcasing the objectives of the QBR and invite A-list guests – those with authority to ensure a strategic review where decisions get made.

Send the Quarterly Business Review in advance.
Send the review to participants before the presentation and ask for comments. If everyone is better prepared you can spend less time in the meeting on the past and more time planning for the future.

Read the room.
While presenting your Quarterly Business Review, watch your audience’s reaction for signs you might be losing them. Use techniques like audience participation, pacing, volume and humour to re-engage them.

Quarterly Business Reviews are the greatest opportunity an account manager has to demonstrate the value they and their company bring to their client’s business. If you:

* Invest the time in preparation;
* bring new and interesting insights to the conversation to keep it fresh;
* Collaborate with your client on objectives that make a positive impact and get results.

You’ll have a successful Quarterly Business Review that will be the highlight of your client’s calendar.

What do you think about QBRs? Are they useful? Any advice on how to improve them? Let me know in the comments.

Warwick Brown
Founder | Account Manager Tips



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