QBR/EBR - When you have no data

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Hi all,

I work for a hardware company currently. Our sale is a piece of video equipment to the customer, of which right now we have no data. So once they get the piece of hardware set up we have no metrics to measure whether they are using the product or not.

Currently, I meet with our biggest enterprise customers on roadmap and betas. Sentiment of the customer is completely subjective at this point since we have no real data.

I have a customer that requested a QBR. In the past, when I was working in SaaS this would be pretty easy to show value, etc with the data we would have when they used/or didn't use the product.

Question is what other things would you discuss in a QBR if you did not have data available? A couple things I was thinking is their business objectives or plans for FY23, going over support tickets (not in a dry way, but how we are improving on our end with their help)....anything else??

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  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
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    As soon as I started reading this, I thought, @Bob London would be good to help out here. I agree with Bob, and my first question actually is, "Why did they request the QBR?"

    Meaning, if you don't typically hold these sessions, what made them ask for it? Are they from the SaaS world themselves? Why are they engaged to this level when other customers are not? Does this add to your ICP of who you'd want to work with? Do they know other similar companies out there that they can refer you to? Would they be able to act as an advocate for your company to recruit other customers? Those are opportunistic questions in this situation that I would suggest thinking about. 

    This also seems like an opportunity to know what metrics they would like you to be tracking, helping you to build that data out for future meetings. 

    In general, getting them talking about their business, their market, their concerns would be valuable, as Bob points out. More specifically, taking this time to clearly understand how they are deriving value from your product would be my North Star for the conversation.*

    Let us know how it goes/went! 

    *Even if you had a bunch of customer data, a discussion around that data could fall flat without knowing what metrics they use to track what is most important to them. 
  • ashley_martin
    ashley_martin Member Posts: 30 Navigator
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    Thanks @Bob London and @Brian Hansen great insight. I believe they probably requested us doing one as this is what they have seen in other SaaS companies. We are not a SaaS company and tend to have more business driven conversation anyway. And Brian I agree that even with data it can be a flat conversation.

  • Kirsten DiChiappari
    Kirsten DiChiappari Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    I echo @Bob London and @Brian Hansen.

    We see new opportunities come out of QBRs about 50% of the time on average, usually because the customer is just learning about capabilities, functionality, or products that we offer that they didn't realize before the call.

    More importantly, when they get to do the bulk of the talking, our responses (which we wanted to share anyway) are better received because they're contextualized and aligned with the customer's inquiry or pain.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 199 Expert
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    This is tough and I was in this position years ago working at a legacy company that was migrating to SAAS. It is not easy and I got called out for not knowing what professional services was doing by one customer. How can I trust you when you don't even know what your own team is doing, my contact said.

    Scrape, scour and scurry to find data points that matter. Review all cases. Community posts or contacts. Start with what you have. Most of what you are going to be doing is reactive, there is not a lot you can do that is strategic. When you do have the data, if that ever happens, you have to shift to being more strategic and it will be really hard.

  • Mhayes0716
    Mhayes0716 Member Posts: 5 Navigator
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    I just came home from a QBR with one of my best clients. They have been around for over 20 years and know their metrics like the back of their hands. They had the entire executive committee in the meeting so I knew that spewing metrics would not be important to them. Over the course of a month, I worked with my day-to-day contacts to develop a story of success we accomplished in 2022. I asked my daily contacts to be part of the business review and present to their leadership what they were able to accomplish from our partnership. We provided the "executive one-pager" upfront that have VERY brief metrics, and simply focused on the accomplishments and then 2023 goals. Because they are a publicly traded company I was able to review their quarterly and yearly financials as well as learn what they (as a business) were most concerned about and was able to bring those concerns up and discuss how our partnership can help the company address those concerns.


    At the end of the day, few metrics were used and higher-level conversations with the client playing a part in the business review was an absolute success. I was so happy to hear the feedback from the executive leadership that they got more out of this review than they had with any other provider of services that they manage.

    Bottom line takeaway: Focus on successes, get the client involved and presenting in the review, looking forward!

  • KimberlyReneeKnowles
    KimberlyReneeKnowles Member Posts: 21 Navigator
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    I love all of these ideas here! @Bob London - especially the UBR concept. @Bob London I"m curious - how to make sure that a UBR session still delivers value to the customer and doesn't turn into just a dreaded "check-in." Do you frame it in such a way up front that emphasizes to the customer that it will be worth their while?

    I imagine the disruptive questions certainly help with the value delivery - and then maybe a follow-up message providing resources to help with issues that came up in their responses?

  • Bob London
    Bob London Member Posts: 53 Expert
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    Hi, @KimberlyReneeKnowles. My answer to this is pretty detailed - why don't we connect on LinkedIn and I'd be happy to share guidance and resources.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/boblondon/

    - Bob

  • KimberlyReneeKnowles
    KimberlyReneeKnowles Member Posts: 21 Navigator
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    @Bob London - that sounds wonderful - I'll send you a message now - thanks!