I’ve been in this industry a long time and I’ve noticed that managed service providers (MSPs) are constantly talking about QBRs. Do quarterly business reviews (QBRs) work?
Since they take up a lot of time, they often get a bad rap. However, if done right, I believe QBRs are a powerful way to show your value and keep data organized.
If you’re a new MSP, or even a mature MSP looking to overhaul your review process, here are 4 considerations to make:
With QBRs, be formulaic, yet flexible. Tweak your process depending on your particular MSP and on your clients.
You shouldn’t be holding QBRs just to check a box, so be intentional and make them worth everyone’s time.
This might mean that instead of a quarterly review, you’ll hold a strategic business review every week, or month, or even just once a year. Figure out a cadence that works for you and your client.
I recommend working off of a template. Whether you prefer to conduct QBRs using a slide deck or an agenda, use your template as a starting point and modify as needed for each specific review.
Remember, these reviews take a lot of time, so using a template is a way to win back some of your precious hours.
MSPs like business reviews because they protect the client relationship. To build recurring revenue (essential for an MSP), it’s important to earn a client’s trust and loyalty.
At the onset of your relationship, set expectations. Find out how often your client expects to receive reports, what kind of data they find most valuable, and what their goals are. You can use this information to set the foundation for your QBRs and then expand upon it with additional data that you know will impact their business.
My colleague in the industry, Sam Boyer of Cure Solutions, asks his clients to fill in a portion of the QBR agenda ahead of their scheduled meeting. This allows the client to drive part of the conversation and gives Sam and his team the opportunity to do research and come to the QBR armed with answers.
Let’s be honest – every client interaction is an opportunity to win more of their business. An in-depth meeting like a QBR presents the chance to discover where your client has missing gaps and how you might be able to solve those gaps, so absolutely treat the QBR as a time to upsell.
This is not an excuse to be pushy. Instead, look at it as a way to assert yourself as a trusted partner. Having regularly scheduled conversations means you’re now part of your client’s cycle and will be there when they’re making decisions, versus being the last to know.
If you’re helping your clients make decisions that drive positive change to their bottom line via the services you provide, they’re likely to keep looking to you for more solutions.
In this era of working with distributed teams, leaders want to know what their employees are doing and they are using employee engagement tools to find out. Knowing that, I highly recommend including people data in every QBR.
The key is to have the right perspective. Don’t be a micromanager or use an employee engagement tool to punish anybody. Instead, use people data as a strategic way to influence productivity.
In your QBR, you can report on how utilized your client’s people are by department, not by individual. If your client has recently adopted a new tool, like an HR platform, look at how long people are spending in the app. Use data as concrete evidence that the tech you’re helping your client adopt or the IT infrastructure you’re helping to create is effective.
Again, this isn’t about keeping tabs on anyone, it’s about measuring outcomes.
We’ll continue to dive deep into the topic of QBRs with a webinar series all about business reviews. In our first installment, I sat down with my industry colleagues Sam Boyer of Cure Solutions, Daniel Mitchell of Alt-Tech, and Channing Tipton of VCS Technologies, to swap tips on QBR strategies that work. Give it a listen and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.
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