What’s New For 2018? The Quarterly Business Review Is Dead.

What is a QBR?  Like Unicorns, I’ve heard of them but they are really, really hard to find evidence for.  The QBR, or “Quarterly Business Review”, is something a lot of sales reps and companies talk about doing for their customers but rarely ever do.  Why is that?  When the QBR offers so much opportunity for a service provider to engage with their customers, to deliver benchmark measurements, suggestions for more improvement, and new revenue opportunities, why don’t they get done? There are a host of reasons.  Here are a few:

  • Inertia: Sales Reps get busy doing what they are paid to do and move onto the next opportunity.  They aren’t trained to look for additional, high-margin opportunities within the account, nor are the given the necessary tools to seek them out.  We all know that it’s much easier to upsell an existing customer than it is to get a net-new one, so that’s not the problem.  The problem is usually tied to training and compensation. Reps do what they get paid to do which leaves a lot of  money on the table for our competitors to come in and scoop up.

  • Lack of automation:  I’ve worked with a lot of sales reps who actually start doing QBRs for the first couple of quarters only to give up on them halfway through the first year.  This usually happens because they are manually creating every QBR which, like a manual business needs assessment, can take a great deal of work.  The last time I checked, the abacus and long form maths for business were replaced by spreadsheets and accounting software.  So why are we leaving something as important as customer reviews (which unearth new financial opportunities) to outdated manual practices?  The reason we all have cars in our driveways is because Henry Ford understood the principles and benefits of automation.  We should too.

  • QBRs aren’t always necessary:  First let me state that business reviews are ALWAYS necessary to ensure we’re servicing our customers properly.  But they don’t always have to be once every 3 months.  For many customers, once a quarter is too much.  For others, they need reviews monthly.  If we are servicing our customers properly we need to do a better job of finding out what kind of review window works best for them.  So instead of a QBR we should be doing PBRs (Periodic Business Reviews) that are spaced according to our client’s needs.  As business owners and sales reps we need to remove the word “QBR” from our vocabulary and replace it with “PBR”, for our own sakes and that of our customers.

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So why should we make doing PBRs a fundamental part of our offerings?  If you are a services led organization these next points are going to be important ones for digestion:

  • We’re leaving money on the table:  Often when we “win” a deal in highly competitive situations, margins are slim and profits are low.  The good news? The customer’s needs aren’t all fulfilled in the first contract.  Now that you own the contract and competitors are out of the picture you can use PBRs to uncover more profitable and margin-rich opportunities that will help both you and your customers.

    • We’re leaving the door open for competitors:  In business, distance does not make the heart grow fonder.  If you aren’t visiting your customers on a regular basis and giving them attention above and beyond the bare minimum of the contract terms I can guarantee that your competitors are.  Don’t let your relationship be ruined from neglect.

    • We’re not really helping our customers: Requirements change, and business needs change.  A 3 year contract is nice, but not knowing when it needs adjusting or modification is a dangerous thing.  Show your customer that you are more nimble than your competitors, that you actually listen, and you may avoid the dreaded RFP altogether.

So what are you waiting for?  Roll up your sleeves and start building a PBR practice that will be easily repeatable and filled with meaningful information for you and your customers.  Make a resolution in 2018 to use the PBR to uncover additional revenue opportunities for your sales reps!  Develop a solid and repeatable methodology, use the right tools to automate and enrich the process, and make this year your best one yet!  The QBR is dead. Long live the PBR.

Looking for further inspiration and tips for your PBR initiatives in 2018? Visit www.docassess.com.  

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