Reporting on partner performance during your next quarterly business review? Make it less painful with these practical tips.
Originally, a quarterly business review (QBR) was an enterprise tool used by companies to strengthen relationships with their customers. A QBR offered an opportunity to display how enterprises added value to the customer and aligned their products and services to their customer’s business goals.
The QBR meeting typically contains useful business performance statistics, ROI metrics, and more to showcase results to management or partners each quarter. QBRs have been so successful that enterprises have adopted them for internal functional reviews as well as partner meetings. Internally, QBRs can be powerful tools to align management and justify ongoing investment in ecosystem programs. Partner QBRs signal commitment to relationships and serve as a springboard for joint success.
Why hold QBRs?
QBRs serve a distinct purpose for both internal and external reviews.
- Communicate the value of ecosystems throughout the enterprise
- Maintain and build executive alignment and support
- Highlight the ROI (return on investment) of partnerships and ecosystem
- Share best practices and recommend remediation when needed
- Plan for the future
- Strengthen the partnership
- Foster executive relationships
- Highlight the ROI of the relationship
- Open honest discussions
- Set up planning for the future
5 Tips for Effectively Planning and Executing QBRs
1. Start with plans and measurement
The foundation for having meaningful QBR’s is planning. Partner managers should have a comprehensive, well-defined plan with clear objectives and timelines. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), growth statistics, and metrics should be defined to track and measure progress. Good partnership planning requires well-designed collaborative and integrated business processes.
2. Create an agenda
Creating an agenda will ensure that the QBR meeting stays on track. The agenda should contain a list of strategic topics to discuss and might include relevant data points. The agenda is your opportunity to:
• Outline the information you'll present
• Provide an overview of the areas you will want to research and be prepared to discuss in depth during the meeting.
• List the place and time of the meeting, then distribute the agenda to participants in advance so they can prepare for the meeting
• Set executives’ expectations of their time required, collect their concerns and questions, and communicate a plan to deliver on them
3. Decide who should attend
Collecting comprehensive information to report during the QBR requires the involvement and collaboration of people from diverse levels of the organization. The ecosystem manager, partner relationship manager, or ecosystem success manager are typically responsible for facilitating these meetings.
For a partnership QBR, executives from both companies should be present. That way, both companies can better assess how they fit into each other’s strategic business plans and objectives. Those who manage or analyze relationships or the ecosystem, such as partner business development managers or partner account managers, should also attend to support the discussion.
For internal QBRs, invite executive leadership including finance and functional managers that interact with the ecosystem program, including sales, product management, marketing, and customer success. Key functional members who manage or measure specific topics on the agenda may also be included.
5. Show wins in projects and in a broader context
QBRs should not only explain the success of individual projects, but should also be utilized to provide broader context, including competitors and the whole ecosystem. This is not only important for highlighting the importance of the partner’s contributions and value to the organization but also shows the ecosystem’s effectiveness.
Validate the individual investment and investment in the ecosystem by:
• Emphasizing ROI. Ask yourself: Why did your joint customers purchase your product in the first place, and over the last quarter or two, how well have you fulfilled their needs? Present numbers and data points that demonstrate the incremental value you have delivered in that period.
• Presenting benchmarking data. Compare your progress to that of the industry to show the relative pace of achieving of key business outcomes, building confidence in both your partners and your management team.
• Focusing on KPIs. Systematically measuring and tracking performance reduces the risk of negative feedback or questions about the relevancy of data.
• After completing a project, do an “after-action review.” The after-action review was developed by the U.S. Army and has been adopted by many companies as one of the most successful post-initiative learning methods. The process is an active discussion centered around four key questions: (1) What did we intend to accomplish/What was our strategy? (2) How did we execute relative to our strategy? (3) Why was there a difference between strategy and execution? (4) What do we do to adapt our strategy or refine our execution for a better outcome or how do we repeat our success?
If possible, avoid in-depth discussions about negative outcomes by highlighting successes. That said, you should give the participants the opportunity to ask questions and set up a subsequent meeting to solve any issues and work through challenges.
5. Set goals for next quarter
Commit to goals for the next quarter, or until your next QBR. In some cases, this might be a good time to bring up expansion opportunities (i.e. show the customer other products or add-ons that will help the company achieve the goals you set).
How Pronto can help ecosystems managers run QBRs efficiently
Pronto’s Ecosystem Management platform is a shared system of engagement to automate ecosystem operations and capitalize on your ecosystem’s full potential and ROI. Our unified, collaborative platform allows you and your partners to:
- Plan. Collaborate and develop shared plans with your partners, assign tasks, and track progress throughout to stay on top of planning.
- Track. Get a 360-degree view of each relationship and visualize key trends and patterns that enable you to enhance your ecosystem productivity.
- Measure performance. View key data at both the ecosystem and relationship level to accelerate productivity and ROI to provide narrow and broad views of performance.
- Simplify preparation. Customizable performance dashboards automatically measure progress and are exportable in various formats.