Aug 27, 2021

Read Time 4 min

From Burnout to Balance: Reinventing QBR Workflows for CS Leaders


This is a guest blog post by Tamiracle Williams from PandaDoc.

Customer Success (CS) is a core business function, and for some B2B companies, CS is a growth engine.

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are responsible for collecting and analyzing customer feedback, managing customer communications, and setting up self-service resources. Among all of the responsibilities of a CSM, their number one priority is to have high-value conversations with customers.

These conversations happen throughout various stages of the customer’s journey. Some of the key touchpoints include onboarding and renewal. One of the most critical touchpoints between a CSM and the customer occurs during the quarterly business review (QBR). QBRs are a well-established practice across Customer Success teams.

A QBR, as the name suggests, happens four times a year. During the QBR meeting, the CSM highlights product usage and performance compared to the original success plan created during onboarding.

The QBR meeting is an opportunity for the Customer Success Manager to deliver real value through success KPIs, product updates, and actionable next steps.

Like their sales counterparts, CSMs who follow the traditional QBR model may have a quota looming over their heads. This quota is met based on various metrics such as retention, expansion, and net renewal rate.

Touchpoints like the Quarterly Business Review have a huge impact on these metrics, so it should come as no surprise that CSMs can spend anywhere from one to four hours manually creating the perfect QBR for a single customer.

Spending countless hours on a single deliverable is not sustainable and leads to burnout. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help your CSMs save time to touch more clients in the long run. 

Eliminate Manual Data Digging

Preparing decks for customers goes beyond just designing the slides. CSMs spend the majority of their time mining for valuable data and success KPIs.  

CSMs have to secure information from disparate sources and craft that data into a compelling story that adds value to their customers. The average CSM has between 16 and 200 active accounts at a time.

Let’s say that it takes your CSM a solid two hours to prepare a QBR deck. Multiply that by 30 active accounts, and you’ve lost 60 hours to manual data digging.

As a Customer Success leader, you are always looking for ways to cut down on the time it takes to create meeting deliverables and refocus the CSM time and energy into booking more meetings.

Cutting the time spent on repetitive manual tasks can be done by adopting new technology and automation. Using automation tools can help you eliminate human error and manual data entry and enable CSMs to reallocate resources to other proactive and reactive initiatives.

Define Unique Success KPIs

One of the biggest challenges Customer Success teams face is demonstrating value to their customers.

Picture this: You’re giving a quarterly business review to a client, sharing a series of metrics that show your product’s impact and your client’s success. Their response? “I don’t buy it.”

Client perception of success can fall into several buckets.

Then there are more custom situations, where a client’s perception of value changes based on their unique circumstances.

When identifying ways to showcase your product’s value, it’s critical to assess the situation through the lens of your customer. “How will they find value in our app?”.

It was so important to us at PandaDoc to know the answer that we decided to ask our customers: How do you find value in PandaDoc?

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Ask customers how they find value, ingest the answers, and develop a way to demonstrate that value to them.

Well, that’s the general idea, but it was definitely a labor of love.

This tip requires a little more legwork upfront, but you’ll save a ton of time during future QBRs when you don’t have to waste time explaining how your product brings value to your customers. It’s one of those ‘slow down to speed up’ kind of things.

Create a Template for Customer Deliverables

We mentioned earlier that the preparation of a QBR could be time-consuming. Between data and design, it can take hours. However, many Customer Success teams, including the team at PandaDoc, have found success with templates.

PandaDoc CSMs cut their QBR prep time by 83% with the help of this automated Quarterly Business Review template. What once took 45 minutes to an hour now takes a max of 10 minutes.

Creating a template is fairly easy. Identify the QBR decks from top-performing CSMs with the most impact and replicate those templates for the entire team. To eliminate the need for manual data entry, try integrating your CRM with a software solution that can auto-populate data into your document.

When creating templates, it’s important to give your CSMs flexibility to create customized templates tailored to their specific customer. This can include giving them the ability to make minor changes to the logo and color scheme. Or adding optional slides to show customers how they stack up against the competition or highlight the latest products and services offered by your company.  

With a customizable template, you can create a consistent customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. As a CS Leader, you have the ability to eliminate low-value, manual tasks and empower your team to focus on more rewarding aspects of their work.

Now that you’ve got your templates nailed down, find out how to have more strategic conversations during your QBRs and customer meetings by asking these 9 disruptive, open-ended questions to get customers talking and thinking.


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