28 Feb QBRs Aren’t Quarterly? Five Ways to Step Up Your Client Engagement
It is a sad day when an MSP stops calling them “QBRs,” because they rarely happen quarterly. But this is a reality for far too many MSPs. The spirit of client engagement is there, but the discipline and follow through to meet regularly is often absent.
Too many MSPs fail to meet regularly with their clients. The question is, how do you get back on your horse and re-energize your client engagement?
Here are five ways to get going again:
1. Segment your client base – Not all clients are created equal. Yes, relationships matter, but so do the metrics. You shouldn’t spend the same amount of time with a five user client as you do with one with fifty user one. Nevertheless, segmentation is often forgotten or ignored. There are various ways to segment your base, including user count, MRR, tickets and complexity, managed vs. break-fix, or by vertical; some verticals may be more strategic to your future than others. Obviously, you should prioritize your most important relationships by profitability and alignment with your go forward plan. In my view, for most managed services businesses, every client should be met with quarterly. If some clients are way too small, you may want to ask yourself why they are clients at all. In my experience, nearly all service providers are meeting all too infrequently with clients. If you have given up on a quarterly rhythm, it is most likely an execution problem first and foremost.
2. Hire an Account Manager – Managing clients is a full time job. Working the help desk, closing tickets, and fixing broken stuff, is not managing the client. That is simply doing the work. Managing is more strategic and forward looking. How healthy is the client? How aligned with your standards and tech stack are they? How satisfied are they? Where is there latent pain and the need for a tech refresh or special project? Your help desk and technical staff is not equipped to suss out these issues. You need an Account Manager to shepherd the client base and keep them focused on your quarterly rhythm and engagement model. It is a full time job to manage the QBRs and general satisfaction for a client base that is driving $100-200k in MRR. The business owner or president of the firm should not driving this. You need to hire an Account Manager. I have written about this elsewhere, here and here.
3. Become calendar driven with clients – Many people hate recurring meetings, because they recur. They enforce a discipline. They are a constant reminder that it is time to meet. They build habits. Leverage this reality with your clients. When you onboard a new client, set the QBR cadence right from the start. Calendar it for both sides, make it recurring, and pick the time that will work best for the client. Accommodate the client and then manage accordingly.
4. Leverage tools to make meetings valuable and insightful – Never meet just for meetings’ sake. Clients will appreciate a steady meeting cadence if they are informed, encouraged, enlightened, and feeling an alignment between their mission and your service mission. Do you know the mission of each and every client for the next year? Do you know their goals and big rocks? If the answer is no, you need to meet more and organize better meetings. Half of every QBR is simply looking backwards to share how things have gone. How many tickets were resolved; how many threats avoided; and how much proactive maintenance has occurred? Leverage your PSA tools and additional tools like Brightgauge, MyITProcess, and other security and vendor reporting tools to underscore the value of your managed services.
5. Market to the installed base with educational content – Education is marketing. And your existing clients need it the most. Are you providing them with a steady stream of topical and educational content to keep them on top of their game? Do you think people are occasionally panicked by the pace of technological change? Do they view you as their trusted adviser? Are you delivering C-level types with the info they need to be on top their own strategic planning? Are you helping your clients be strategic with IT? Or are they in the dark, because someone mistakenly coached you into believing that is a good thing? Mushrooms do not grow very high, last time I checked. Therefore, treat your existing clients with deep respect and educate them well. Leverage your vendor ecosystem for all sorts of content, whitepapers, presentations, seminar content, security best practices, lunch and learn decks, and the like to power your installed base marketing. eFolder supplies a complete library of Partner Playbooks with end-to-end campaign tools; use everything. And here is my special recipe for lunch and learns.
QBRs should be quarterly. We all know it. Let’s get it done.