Many IT managed services providers are doing some type of Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) and most have trouble delivering it with the right cadence and voice. It’s too technical and fails to shows business value to the executive team. Introducing QBRs poorly can backfire and land the MSP into a more technical role. Let's take a look at some cool techniques to engage clients with Quarterly Business Reviews.
Hint #1 - Talk business
Challenge: Whereas it is not a significant challenge to talk business with most owners as they are fluent with marketing, can connect the dots with typical business process issues and understand the overall pains of the client, this is not the case with tech people.
Solution: We cannot give every account manager an MBA but we can help them to ask the right questions. Questions make magic happen in this process, especially if they discover a problem related to the customer’s business. We have put together Executive QBR Power Questions that discuss relevant business issues during the meeting. Asking the right questions can engage the client and allow you to offer technical solutions for most business problems.
Hint #2 - Find out some bottlenecks
Challenge: We all know clients who could do with a better document management system, better task management or a better general management system for the company. The trick is to qualify them quickly and get them on the same page during the QBR.
Solution: Graders can be used to qualify clients for a defined IT solution. For example, we can ask seven relevant questions with possible Yes/No options about their general productivity. The seven questions lead to 7 solutions/best practices/features and so on. Where they have low scores a ready productivity application can help solve their issues. This helps start a business conversation based on real needs. Graders about security, document management, SaaS applications are a great way to introduce this conversation.
Hint #3 - Proactive Development
Challenge: If we keep checking the warranties, antivirus subscription, bomb reports, risks and hardware replacements during the QBRs, it can become a boring technical conversation. We’d rather show them we would like to proactively develop their business and elevate their maturity.
Solution: Proactive Customer Development is an expression we use to truly assess where they are and the needed next steps in becoming more competitive with IT. It can be to implement IT Budgets, to better manage their vendors, to invest in an IT strategy workshop or just focus on NIST cyber security. We can pre-package 10-15 QuickWin IT management projects and typically sell these easy to fix low hanging fruit items. It can be a Disaster Recovery Plan, a Mobile Security Project or training the staff in going online securely. We use a questionnaire to measure many different elements, to learn what’s missing and to offer prepackaged projects.
Hint #4 - Internal Compliance
Challenge: If we do not set some goals or achieve mutual vision with the clients, it will be hard to be on the same page down the road. Setting the stage for what we mean about being competitive with IT is important. Without that, we are missing the business context of our services. It can lead to conversations of costs instead of investments.
Solution: The QBR is a questionnaire and report determining the IT benchmark by which we measure the progress for our clients. It sets standards and constraints of internal compliance with which we suggest to them. The questions are business rather than technology related, designed to understand the ‘what and why’ needed to be in place to be competitive with IT. Why does it matter to have an IT strategy? Why does it make sense to manage the vendors and check the budget? Why does it make sense to manage every device from a security point of view? It helps you to use the QBR to set goals and deliverables for the next quarter, and then track progress. This exercise can generate many opportunities with your clients.
Business focus need not be so complicated...we have the tools needed to make it easy and engaging for both you and your clients.