How does your organization present QBRs / ABRs to SMB "Tech Touch" customers?

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Jeremy Donaldson
Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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edited July 2020 in Metrics & Analytics

To clarify, this would be for low volume, low spend, low touch customers that still need love and attention.

A few follow up questions:

  • How does automation play a factor in scaling QBRs / ABRs for SMB "tech touch" customers?
  • Are there overlaps between an enterprise customer QBRs and a SMB QBRs that make sense?
  • Given the account spend, who's involved in the discussion?

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  • Alejandro Sanchez
    Alejandro Sanchez Member Posts: 13 Thought Leader
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    edited June 2020
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    Jeremy before I give you my perspective, it is worth reading this post about QBRs with high level stakeholders and (not said there but I assume) for enterprise customers: https://community.customerimperative.com/post/deliverable-for-qbr-ebr-5ee7c445a2a73a6083ea78ad. 

    While for your long tail SMB, low touch, low revenue customers, you will not likely have actual meetings for QBRs (or at least not as frequently as quarterly), the topics that need to be covered are the same than in any other QBR. That's where the overlap with enterprise customers comes in. @Andreas Knoefel does a great outline of topics for a good, strategic QBR in the post I linked.

    To your other question, I have used automation before for the smaller, low touch customers. Usually those customers are not used to having a CSM and having people available to talk about strategy, but like any other customer, they want to be taken into account and hear how things are going. So what I did, was that I created a template (at that time I had no fancy tools so it was just a google sheet with macros to replace content that took data from a master spreadsheet) with those 3 to 5 points (review from last time, Business ROI/Goal review, business update, etc) in a way that when exported to PDF it was at most 2 pages and to the point. And at the end of each quarter (or maybe more often depending how often you have meaningful updates to share) I ran the scripts to grab the data from a master sheet, generate the charts and graphs, create the sheets, turn them into PDFs and I then used mail merge to send the emails. It did take a couple day to complete and was semi manual, but certainly less time that having calls with all those customers. And the great thing about this is that I heard from customers that either were not happy and I was unaware (not frequent but it happened) and this gave me the chance to address things proactively), or those that got excited about something that's coming and want to learn more and then I add them to a marketing list for updates or something.

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    @Jeremy Donaldson, here's an out-of-the-box idea. I admit I've never tried it but likely will in the future. You can combine @Alejandro Sanchez's idea of the short document for each customer with a Business Review webinar where you invite all of your SMB customers to attend. During the BR, you can address topics such as critical company updates, product roadmap and areas of feedback that you've received from the masses (if relevant).

    For the product roadmap piece, you can run a poll during the webinar that enables SMBs to vote on which roadmap items would provide the greatest value to their business. Feed that info back to your product development team as market intel.

    The process gives your SMBs a personal touch, warmer feeling and a "voice" in your future strategy without having any dedicated resources.

  • Alex Turkovic
    Alex Turkovic Member Posts: 61 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    I love the one-to-many approach idea that @David L Ellin brought up as there are likely a lot of similar challenges among the same customer segment. Perhaps running a few webinars in parallel based on customer segmentation would make it even more effective without having to invest a lot more time.

    I think that this is where analytics and insights come into play, not only internally to allow for segmentation of the groups, but also customer facing.

    I love the idea of customer-facing dashboards, where (I'll give you an example from SaaS-land as that's where I sit) a customer can easily go review their usage stats, feature adoption rates, user stats, etc. Perhaps building out a few intelligent insights based on that usage data. For example: "We noticed you're not using X feature. Doing so might result in X% efficiency gained..."

    I realize the above takes some investment of capital and product/engineering resources to establish. But once stood up, having these kinds of self-serve resources at the customer's disposal frees your headcount up to focus on those at-risk customers identified, again, via usage analytics.

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    @Alejandro Sanchez - Thank you for linking Andreas' discussion. I agree with his points about keeping it short, focused, and valuable to the customer executive stakeholder. The EBRs should follow the same format no matter the customer size and should be customer centric.

    As I think about SMB accounts, or at least those accounts with low ARR or low engagement, a once a year EBR would likely be all we get from most of these organizations. I agree QBR would be overkill, but there is where quarterly or monthly automation and technology can really be your friend.

    However, I struggle with the balance of automation vs. personalized experience. I believe an EBR is the one time in a customer journey for a tech-touch customer that should be hyper-personalized. Nothing can turn a customer off more than a bad presentation or engagement with your organization.

    How do you handle managing the meeting volume of EBRs with a large number of customers? if you have 200+ customers, that could theoretically translate to 1 EBR every working day each year.

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    @David L Ellin - I like the idea of a "mass EBR". Although I am all about hyper-personalization so I'd want to define the "what can be shared in mass" vs. "inviting these customers to a follow up discussion".

    Definitely going to noodle on this one for a bit. thanks!

  • Jay Thonour
    Jay Thonour Member Posts: 7 Contributor
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    edited June 2020
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    Let us say you have a set of 200 customers, presuming tech touch is used owing to the higher number of customer accounts.

    Create 4 buckets of 50 each. Send out simple questionnaire with 3 questions, every week, 1 set of 50 at a time.

    1. How are you using the product now? - you as a CSM may have access to their usage data, analysis etc. this is a good opportunity to understand what they think about your product. You could change the flavour of this, depending on your tier ing or 'bucketing' logic, if any . 
    2. What challenges are you facing? - This never gets old
    3. What inputs or help do you seek from me?

    You could get replies and they can then be further analyzed, personalized, and shared. The replies could involve specific best practices, analysis, process improvements, feature updates or feature know how's, peer analysis etc. I feel this could be fairly personalised. How hyper depends on the time you have :)

    Disclaimer: I do not have experience managing SMB customers or large number of accounts at a time. The suggestion is something I feel could be tried.

  • Rob Schmeltzer
    Rob Schmeltzer Member Posts: 4 Seeker
    edited June 2020
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    We were heading down path a bit more simplified from what @Alejandro Sanchez described for our SMB customers as we don't have CSMs assigned to this space, just scaled programs.  Phase 1 was a quarterly email where we included the customer's usage and performance data as well as highlights for new product features and upcoming events.  For phase 2 we segmented by customer role type (just exec sponsor vs. user to start) and customized the content for those two role, included some recommendations based on their usage patterns.  We've been investigating using customer outcomes captured in Salesforce by AEs and referencing these in the quarterly communication, adding benchmarking data along with recommendations, and then providing them the ability to discuss their progress through weekly office hours (similar to @David L Ellin suggestion).

  • Sidd
    Sidd Member Posts: 32 Expert
    edited June 2020
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    @David L Ellin Love the idea of the webinar. Thanks for posting this @Jeremy Donaldson , happy to chat and brainstorm further as I handle tech touch customers within the Mid Market segment ( segmented by MRR) .. let's set up time.

  • David Jackson
    David Jackson Member Posts: 36 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Jeremy,

    Before jumping into how, I think it is worth asking customers if they want a regular review.  QBR's (and their variants) have become part of accepted CS practice but from my own experience, I have learned that often we value them more than customers do.