As a high touch, white glove managed services provider, iuvo Technologies is highly invested in our client’s success. What do they need now? What do they need tomorrow? Next week? Next month? What are their short, medium, and long-term goals?
These questions and their answers, if those answers are even known, may not be quick conversations over coffee or while cradling a favorite beverage. Instead, the answers are typically evolving and based upon changing sets of data. Needs which seem logical at one point in time may be dismissed out of hand at a different point. So, what to do?
The answer lies in scheduling recurring touchpoint opportunities with your clients in which deeper-level strategic conversations can occur. These types of meetings are commonly called Business Reviews and they can occur on a variety of cadences.
The benefits of holding Periodic Business Reviews (PBRs) are numerous.
Periodic Business Reviews Benefits
- Getting insight into the client’s then-current mindset and allowing you to validate (or challenge) that mindset
- Building and/or enhancing trust
- Allowing you the opportunity to highlight your value to the customer
- Holding honest and open discussions that can highlight what is working well and what can be improved
- Demonstrating to your client that you’re serious about the relationship
- Helping you move together with your customer in the direction most beneficial to them
Iterative and frequent check-ins also help to minimize and re-set the inevitable gaps in the partnership that develop through employee churn, technology evolution, and company growth/maturity.
To hold a successful PBR, there are a few do’s and don’ts which should be kept in mind.
The Do’s of Periodic Business Reviews
First all, meet face-to-face at a place of the client’s choosing (on-site at their place is best). A face-to-face meeting allows for the greatest exchange of information and having them choose the location shows them that you are ready to accommodate their needs. Use a video conference only if an in-person meeting is not possible.
Second, be prepared. Know the key topics that you want to discuss beforehand, have an agenda ready, and send materials to the client ahead of time to give them the opportunity to pre-read them. Also, solicit input from members of your team who are in touch with the day-to-day activities of the client. Be very familiar with any hot-button topics that are on their mind.
Next, be concise. Use actual data to show metrics that support the review, both good and bad, but don’t overdo it. This is a discussion and information exchange, not necessarily a presentation. Set a time limit to the meeting (e.g., one hour) and keep to it. If the conversation appears to be going longer than the meeting’s intended time, check-in with the attendees to see if they wish to extend the time. Try to use consistent templates and supporting tools that don’t vary from meeting to meeting so that the client’s eyes focus on the data and not the “décor”. Client executives should be in attendance, if possible, so that the PBR conversation is strategic and not tactical. Keep the big picture in mind.
Lastly, listen. Ask leading questions and, if possible, listen more than talk. Solicit honest and constructive feedback and repeat what you have heard. Before adjourning, summarize the key points and action items to ensure agreement on the points made and an understanding of the next steps.
The Don’ts of Periodic Business Reviews
As noted above, don’t make it a presentation. Ideally, a PBR is an exchange of strategic information, not a speech. Although upselling or cross-selling may occur, remember that strategic alignment, not selling, is the goal of the meeting.
If possible, avoid making the meeting tactical. It is a business review. Focus on the value that was delivered since the last PBR, changes that may have taken place in support of their expressed concerns from the prior PBR, and what needs to be done by the next PBR. If the client has a hot topic that they want to bring up, engage them. Otherwise, focus on the partnership and how you can continue to assist them to reach their goals.
Lastly, don’t over meet. Too many meetings can dilute the value of the business review. Find a cadence that works best for the client and synchs to their internal planning and review cycles. In the absence of a defined schedule, once per quarter is a reasonable target.
Why Business Reviews Matter
Periodic Business Reviews provide a wonderful mechanism for demonstrating that the client is meaningful to your organization, that you are a trusted partner who delivers strategic value, and that you are deeply invested in making them successful. By holding PBRs on a cadence where the outputs of one meeting become some of the inputs for the next meeting, you are creating an on-going alignment mechanism in which the vendor/client relationship deepens over time.