Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You’re working through a never-ending list of priority tasks, and one of your vendors reaches out for an Executive Business Review (EBR). As you scan your calendar, you start to think about how much time you will lose to another vendor-focused meeting.
Learning about their new products and services is an additional burden to your already busy work schedule. On top of that, these aimless meetings are rarely about your business. The vendor comes in to tell you about added services and tries to figure out how they can retain you and your money. Their self-serving approach only adds insult to injury.
It’s fair to say that most people would dread this type of meeting.
We often approach business reviews with the misguided belief that we can prevent churn by simply meeting with our clients to review product usage. When we take this approach, the best-case scenario is that we have wasted our customer’s time. The worst-case scenario is when an EBR becomes a threat to customer retention.
While a poorly conducted EBR ― or quarterly business review (QBR) ― can be counter-productive, there is a way to make these meetings effective. A well-run business review can be a great way to gain insights into your customer’s business and add value to the customer experience (CX). Because of this, it is vital that Account Managers (AMs) and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) get these meetings right.
An effective business review centers around three pillars: be relevant, provide value, and be mindful of time and timing. In this first article of a three-part series, we will explore how you can better engage your customers by being relevant.
Be Relevant by Understanding Desired Outcomes
Customers don’t need help for the sake of help. They need support that is relevant to their business and will help them accomplish their goals.
When planning out the agenda for a business review, be sure to focus the meeting on the objective at hand and then tie it back to the customer’s overarching business goals. You need to share how all the information provided will support their business.
For example, if the customer has not yet operationalized certain aspects of the product within their environment, you need to investigate why they are not completing certain tasks and address the root cause. Perhaps there needs to be work conducted internally around change management. Maybe they need more training. And sometimes, they simply need a little push.
Keep the discussion at a higher level and explain why it is important that they execute the activities and how it will help them accomplish their goals. It’s not helpful to task them with a list of activities and then go into the details of each activity. You need to understand the “why” before creating a plan.
By centring the conversation around their overarching goals and identifying hurdles in the customer’s environment, the AM or CSM can use the EBR to strategically manage the customer to successful outcomes.
The Bottom Line: Relevancy Drives Successful Outcomes
Relevancy is understanding our customers specific objectives and helping them accomplish their goals.
So before you schedule your next business review, ensure the meeting is mutually beneficial. Do your due diligence and customize the meeting around your customer. Engage them by carefully listening to their needs and concerns. Present information that will aid them in achieving their goals or overcoming their obstacles.
Once you’ve set the tone, the next step is to help them elevate their business.
In part two of our Executive Business Review Series, we will look at what it means to provide value and how, in doing so, it advances the customer’s and your business.