“Why are Quarterly Business Reviews Important?” is a question I didn’t anticipate answering as frequently as I do. However, as a Client Partner, I often need to convince clients to participate in Quarterly Business Reviews.
Even during my time in corporate settings, I received similar questions from internal stakeholders. Why do we need QBRs in addition to monthly and annual reporting? Why not dedicate the time to getting work done?
There are many answers to why Quarterly Business Reviews are important, including celebrating successes and identifying new opportunities. But ultimately, QBRs create a space to have meaningful conversations around the impact of your work and your pathway moving forward.
Review Progress to Goals
Whether it’s a line of sight into your own work or that of your agency partner, QBRs create an opportunity to consistently review your progress towards goals. It’s vital to get the work done, but equally important to measure the impact that work has on overall goals.
If you’re managing a team or catering to multiple stakeholders, a QBR also enables you to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. This is crucial for teams working across several channels (i.e., SEO, PPC, Social Media, Link Building, etc.).
While monthly reporting provides a snapshot into performance for 30 days, QBRs review progress towards annual goals. This larger-picture view often leads to important conversations regarding how to achieve your goals and what tactics to put on your roadmap.
Depending on your role, your time communicating with clients or internal stakeholders may center around prioritization, changes in industry trends, or explaining recommendations. How often do you communicate your successes? During a Quarterly Business Review, an essential aspect of the meeting is identifying successes and celebrating accordingly.
While successes can include overall performance, this is an opportunity to highlight smaller wins. For example, shining a spotlight on a particular PPC test or campaign that increased revenue at a low cost. Not only does this demonstrate the value of your work, but it also gives you the opportunity to discuss if these successes can be replicated in other areas or scaled.
Identify and Acknowledge Challenges
It’s difficult to pinpoint the most essential feature of a Quarterly Business Review, as each piece offers a unique benefit. But identifying and acknowledging challenges may be the most helpful feature for a Client Partner. This empowers me to have important conversations about the challenges we may be facing with a client.
Identifying challenges is likely not a new concept. Roadblocks are common across all industries, let alone digital marketing. However, what may be new to you is dedicating time to acknowledging those challenges and recognizing their impact on performance.
Too often, challenges are glossed over by focusing on “takeaways” or shifting attention to areas without obstacles. But challenges may have a significant impact on performance. For example, an inability to implement cross-domain tracking due to the limited capabilities of a third-party booking engine will impact reporting accuracy and your ability to optimize based on performance.
I’m not advising you to dwell on issues outside of your control, but discuss them openly so that everyone fully understands the impact. If the challenge is malleable, this is the time to identify solutions, and if not, reprioritize.
Identify New Opportunities
In preparing for a Quarterly Business Review, you’ll likely brainstorm new opportunities in helping you achieve your goals. Some ideas may be new; others may be tactics that have long sat in your backlog. Regardless of new or old, these opportunities should ladder up to your overall goals. The QBR allows you to discuss the difficulty (effort), impact and priority of each opportunity and determine which are worth pursuing and which are not.
For instance, you may identify an opportunity to reclaim backlinks to improve page and Domain Authority and supports your overall goal in narrowing the gap between you and your competition. Depending on the difficulty for your team to implement and the potential impact, you may decide to re-prioritize your roadmap accordingly.
Quarterly Business Reviews allow you to consider new opportunities objectively and determine if they’re worth pursuing as a group.
Set and Reset Goals
More often than not, company priorities shift or circumstances change. The appearance of roadblocks and challenges may also lead you to revisit your goals. Participating in QBRs enables you to maintain flexibility by revisiting your goals consistently.
Whether that shift is significant or slight, the time allows you to set (or reset) measurable, quantitative goals to work towards and ensure they are relevant and obtainable.
QBRs are important for both agencies and clients alike. They often bring the two closer together by creating a space to openly discuss challenges, opportunities and align on overall direction.
If you haven’t held a QBR before, I recommend at least giving it a test run and then getting feedback from the rest of your team. Hopefully, bringing up some of the points that I mentioned above will be enough to convince them it’s worth the time and effort.