Maximizing Customer Value: Unveiling the Power of QBRs and QSRs

As companies grow, and customers grow with them, eventually their sales efforts will evolve as well. Initially, they’re happy to have customers. Eventually, as the company matures, they realize a truth: not all customers are equal. If you want to maximize customer value, you need to start treating them differently.

What Is a QBR?

A Quarterly Business Review (QBR) is traditionally tailored toward delving into the operational aspects of the company’s relationships with its customers. During my tenure as a Global Technical Account Manager (GTAM) assigned to General Motors, this operational focus made sense, given our high volume of engagement. The QBRs served us well with customers who relied on regular updates on our day-to-day engagements, such as purchases, deployments, evaluations, and more. They were instrumental in maintaining robust relationships by ensuring there were no business or technical impediments to ongoing success.

Introducing the QSR: A Strategic Perspective

Now, let me introduce a similarly named sibling, the Quarterly Strategic Review (QSR). The QSR offers a different tone and scope. As the name suggests, it takes a more strategic approach, aiming to uncover long-term strategies and goals. A QSR prompts us to ask where we envision the overall relationship heading. If our aspiration is to nurture customers deeply committed to long-term value creation, innovation, and strategic collaboration, then the Quarterly Strategic Review may be the better choice.

Why Does the Distinction Matter?

The distinction between QBRs and QSRs may appear subtle to many, but it’s crucial to recognize that these approaches can yield distinct outcomes.

Choosing Between QBR and QSR:

  • Customer Needs: The choice between QBR and QSR, as noted previously, should align with the specific needs and preferences of your key customers. Consider: Do they prioritize operational transparency or desire strategic collaboration? Some customers simply want daily business to run smoothly and have a list of key contacts, while others seek a long-term partnership.
  • How Do You Value the Relationship: Evaluate the nature of your relationship with each key customer. Do you view them as long-term partners with whom you want to foster strategic alignment? Or, are they primarily transactional?
  • Goals: If you haven’t already, define your objectives for these reviews. Are you aiming to address immediate issues, enhance operational efficiency and profitability, drive long-term growth, and/or foster innovation?
  • Hybrids: Some customers may warrant a hybrid approach, conducting both strategic and operational reviews each quarter. Larger enterprise customers may benefit from one of each. Consider the specific needs of different stakeholders, such as IT, purchasing, operations, senior executives, development teams, or product planners.

Tailoring for Success

Ultimately, whether you choose QBR or QSR, each should be tailored to the individual key customer, considering their unique characteristics and the outcomes you seek to achieve.

Recognizing the value of your customers and customizing your approach through QBRs or QSRs can lead to stronger relationships, greater customer satisfaction, and enhanced business growth.

Image credit: Austin Distel