Digitizing Traditional Quarterly Business Reviews

Digitization of traditional QBRs

The need to drive continuous value and success for customers is accelerating the digitization of QBRs. As a result, Digital Business Reviews are rapidly finding adoption for audiences where traditional quarterly business reviews for stakeholders (QBRs) and their bosses (EBRs) don't meet the needs of businesses and their customers.

The digital equivalent of a QBR has several differences and commonalities with the traditional QBR. I'll discuss a select few here, and a table comparing the two is linked at the end of this blog post.

Change of focus from an account to the user

During a QBR, a CSM presents — strategic content like past quarter achievements, next-quarter goals, the action plan to achieve the outlined goals, and tactical content including support, feedback, and health trends — to an account as a whole.

However, digitally produced DBRs are presented to each user at an account and are highly relevant to each individual. Relevancy is significant because DBRs accommodate different users' specific needs, goals, and expectations. For example, a C-level exec may be interested in the difference between various lines of business. An operator may be drawn to the variation between the commercial and enterprise segments for a specific line of business. And finally, an individual contributor may find the comparisons between two cohorts or segments helpful.

Since Digital Business Reviews are scalable to each user, they provide directed value, increasing product stickiness and adoption. Further, you can provide 2-3 relevant recommendations to each user instead of overwhelming the account with numerous suggestions, many of them meaningless to several users.

Expanding the reach of QBRs, digitally

Imagine the lift if you could provide QBRs to your low-paying segments or even the free users. Digitally produced DBRs are affordable, have a high ROI, and can be readily made available to all your account segments. In effect, they make it possible to provide value and success to non-CSM-led accounts that would not qualify for a traditional QBR.

Accelerate Time to value and product adoption

Since we provide relevant recommendations to each user in a DBR, we can save a user significant time and increase their time-to-value and time-to-product-adoption.

Digitizing the Before, During, and After of a QBR creation

CSMs put in a lot of work both before and after a QBR presentation.

Before the QBR, a CSM typically runs reports on 3-6 systems of record products, collects insights, puts them in a PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, or Google Sheets template. In addition, they collect data from CRMs, Customer Success platforms, Support Systems, Customer Satisfaction or Advocacy systems, Data warehouses, Product Analytics systems, and more.

After the QBR, a CSM typically enters up-sells, cross-sells, renewals, add-ons in CRM and CS platforms. They may also need to record additional items in various systems of record.

DBRs automate the repeatable work before, during, and after a business review.

In the case of a Digital Business Review, a Virtual CSM automates everything a CSM does before, during, and after a QBR.

So the amount of time a CSM would spend, i.e., three to eight hours, creating one QBR for one customer for one quarter, you can create DBRs for every customer account in a perpetual manner. And these are always up-to-date.

Other Differences between QBRs and DBRs

  1. Traditional QBRs are typically 45 minutes long and shared once a quarter. Digital business reviews, on the other hand, are much shorter. They're three or four minutes. They're hyper-relevant — hyper-relevant to each user.
  2. QBRs are presented in person or over zoom. DBRs are presented digitally and consumed asynchronously. You don't have to set up a meeting to get people in the same room at the same time.
  3. The cadence of a DBR can be custom to each user's role, interest, and preference. So you can reach out to the champions weekly, the operators every month, maybe the C-level executive quarterly. And the individual contributors can look at this digital business review on-demand — for instance, every time they log in to your product. Or whenever they feel like learning more, they go into your product and click on a button to access an always up-to-date DBR.
  4. In a Digital Business Review, you give recommendations based on the health scores, product analytics, behavioral usage, and utilization. You can have a rules-based system or machine-learning system to come up with recommendations. Most customers end up using a combination of machine learning and a rules-based approach.
  5. QBRs are planned and scheduled. DBRs are also generated based on a triggering of an anomaly; for example, customer health index changes from green to yellow for a specific feature or product.
  6. Part of the reason QBRs are successful is that they are thoughtfully researched and explained by a CSM. DBRs similarly are meticulously explained by a Virtual CSM, who also automates what CSMs do before and after the presentation. a) Collect the material needed to present (insights and recommendations), b) Contextualize, explain, and recommend actions to each user individually, c) Convince users to take action urgently using benchmarking, comparisons, and gamification techniques. d) Capture actions, feedback, and sales leads within a digital video presentation.
  7. Value for your customers: CSM-created QBRs and automatically-generated DBRs provide similar value but to different customer segments. Human CSMs provide value to high-value CSM-led accounts. DBRs provide scaled value to the long tail to CSM-unmanaged accounts.
  8. Value for the business: Reduce churn for segments not managed by CSMs, drive expansion revenue, and increase Net Revenue Retention.
  9. In addition to the unmanaged accounts, DBRs make sense for CSMs managing more than 22-25 accounts and CSMs working as part of a pool or pod of CSMs.

The dynamic nature of DBRs, the asynchronous consumption, high relevance for each user at your customer account, and the ability to bring the power of QBRs to every segment of your customer base make automatically generated DBRs powerful for both you and the users at your accounts.

Digital Business Review is used here loosely.  CSMs have several conversations with customers during their journey from pre-boarding, onboarding, adoption, retention, renewals, expansion recommendations, advocacy, references, and more. All of them can be digitized for the long-tail.

A tabulated summary of the differences between a traditional Quarterly Business Review and an automated Digital Business Review is available here.

This blog post is by Dickey Singh, CEO and co-founder of cast.app, focused on scaling customer success and post-sales. Cast automated Virtual CSMs drive the same value as human CSMs, but for accounts without 1:1 dedicated CSMs. Cast.app sources data from CRM, CS, Feedback, Support, and related systems of record to generate video presentations that are meticulously explained by an automated virtual presenter. You can find the original post here.

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