Defining Cadence: Letting the Customer Decide

kmulhalljr Member Posts: 40 Navigator
5 Likes First Comment Name Dropper 2023 Success Network - Supporter
Question to the group: our team has long struggled with setting/maintaining a QBR schedule with our strategic customers. I've long held the position that in our industry (the nonprofit sector) they are essentially pointless; as IT staff and other key decision makers are typically overwhelmed by other work-related duties and obligations - as they often serve the role(s) of several employees at once. My thought: give these high value customers the option of how they want to be engaged, with a minimum deliverable from us of a curated monthly email built around the products and services they value the most. I've started working on a template and will eventually begin writing the code to scrap the web (and search out internal platforms) to push down information that will 1) provide concrete value and 2) not take more than 5 +/- minutes of their time. I did a soft launch of this through a Yammer Community, and it was fairly well received...but unfortunately, I had to pull the plug on that group in favor of another community effort that was recently pushed (and unfortunately pay-walled). 

Thoughts, feedback & strategic insights are welcomed!


  • Mhayes0716
    Mhayes0716 Member Posts: 5 Navigator
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    As an account manager, I allow my clients to tell me the cadence of the business reviews, unless there are significant changes and impacts to their business that is important to discuss regularly.  For those that do not desire a quarterly meeting, I will send them a "blind" business review that will outline the most important metrics to them to disburse among their teams and they will follow up and ask more questions if necessary.  For those that need/request a more regular review, I make them part of the review and they participate in presenting some of the material to their leaders to showcase their winning efforts and our collaboration.  They will also take part in helping develop the executive overview (quick one-pager) that we will send to the leaders who do not have time to attend or review a long discussion.  I have learned to give the clients what they want not what I want them to have.  This has led to strong relationships being built.  Hope this helps!
  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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    Customers do not care how and who they are engaged and managed as long as they are meeting key business objectives. 

    I had a role long ago where we were required to have a monthly meeting with every assigned customer in our portfolios. The managers decided that this was the way to show value and if you did not tick that meeting off, you were penalized. Some customers where happy to do it, others not so much and some refused, showing no interest and claiming no value. Do not be like this. The CSMs with the most meetings were the ones lauded and held in high regard. They also tended to be the bottom performers: strong arming a meeting was a strength. Actually listening to customers, understanding their needs and being able to creatively respond to what they needed were often weaker skills. Renewal, growth rates and advocacy was higher from the less celebrated team members portfolio customers. Eventually someone figure it out. 

    I am a big advocate of being very flexible and letting customers drive the cadence and how they are engaging. Very large, very savvy and very successful customers with high ARR who do not need, or want, a regular meeting cadence (and who wants more meetings, ever?) get the tech touch approach with an assigned CSM from the pool team owning the status and state, but not owning every interaction or meeting. If things change, flip them to the one to one model. Change again? Flip them back. One size does not fit all and do not hamper your resources, team members or customers with a rigid, inflexible solution. 
  • kmulhalljr
    kmulhalljr Member Posts: 40 Navigator
    5 Likes First Comment Name Dropper 2023 Success Network - Supporter
    @Mhayes0716 - love the idea of a summary. We could define who the respective individual we're engaging with reports to an offer to curate a 1-pager (overview) that meets their superior's communication style. This would probably result in an increased positive perception of our 'brand'. @Brian O'Keeffe glad to read flexibility is something other teams are deploying. Just had a call earlier today about an additional initiative that was being purposed - which I didn't feel was necessary as we continue to be challenged by manually quantifying our current KPI's and other measurables.
  • Marc Phillips
    Marc Phillips Member Posts: 13 Contributor
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    If there is pressure to increase certain activities you don't feel are the best path toward your business goals (and you're not able to change that now), try working toward approval of experiments based on segmentation of types of CS engagement (ex: full court press for QBRs, monthly meetings, 'push' emails with reports that customers can choose whether or not to respond to, etc) for at least 2 quarters and measure retention/expansion rates. Obviously results will depend on types of customers and your products/services, but let the data point the way.