The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode 77 · 9 months ago

Making QBRs Valuable w/ Tim Caito


Your buyers have likely experienced a lot of bad QBRs — so differentiate your company by making them truly valuable for you and your buyer.

Tim Caito joins us to talk about how sales leaders can equip their account teams to flip the script on negative buyer perceptions and get customers to see value in a QBR. He covers the pre-sale, during-sale and post-sales steps sales reps need to take to improve QBR execution, long-term account monetization and most importantly, customer outcomes.

Here are some additional resources based on making QBRs Valuable

- How to Make QBRs Valuable for Your Customers


- Overcoming Sales Challenges: A Buyer Focus on Seller Deficit Disorder


- How To Negotiate Early [Podcast]


Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website. 

When you think about it, what is our focus as a selling organization? Are we focused on selling our solutions, are products to that customer, or are we focused on their success? You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature sales leaders sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team afforce management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. Today we are going to talk about qb ours. We all do them, but how do we really like them? Valuable not just for us but for our customers, and help our customers have a good perception of those sessions. Joining me for this topic as our own Tim Kato. High Tim. Hello Rachel, good to be with you on this session. Yes, I you know, tim. I think buyers tend to have a negative perception of qburs and that might be colored by our meetings of the past, so to speak. Why do you think buyers have those negative perceptions? Well, you know, as many of our listeners or or customers know, we're familiar with the term we call seller deficit disorder, right, which is in one part about the behaviors, activities orientation of sellers, but it's really about the result of that in the eyes of the customer. And they paint us all with one broad brush and unfortunately, as it relates to customer facing qbrs, that brush is really big and it's generally not very flattering. Yeah, you know, I actually recently had a QB are with a vendor of something we use in marking and I always, I have to say, I keep asking them who they use for sales methodologies because I think we could help them, even though I really feel like their product, because I don't. I did never hear from them until the end of the quarter or when the renewal comes up and they're asking us all these questions that I feel like that they should know. So I guess I'm guilty of having that perception as well. But how we flip the script on this Tim that's what we want to talk about today. So let's start with the foundations we need in place when we are selling that initial deal, because that's that early work sets these reviews up for success. Absolutely and you know, if I could just digress just a moment and think about the beauty of three letter acronyms. Right, they have a tendency to just be something we don't even think about, but they always represent something. Right, and you know this is a topic. We use the same three letter acronym, qb are, for our internal quarterly reviews of our business. We bring our reps in sense, you know, they get subject to tell me what's going on, and we use the same three letter acronym when we go on and talk to our customers. But See, I think that is actually representative of philosophical thinking, kind of challenge that we're dealing with here. That speaks to what you're talking about, right. See, I think when you know the QB ares the right three letter acronym for the internal conversation we have. Let's review where we're at in our business, our pipeline or deals, what are we getting us back, etc. That's fine, but we don't end up conducting quarterly business reviews with our customers. They generally and why the negative perceptions are there? We're conducting quarterly activity reviews. How many sessions do we have? How many support tickets? How many this, how many users, how many that? Stuff that's on a spreadsheet that, frankly, even the people that are responsible for implementing the solutions we may have put in place, it's really not that valuable of information for them. ...

I've long been an advocate of quarterly value reviews. What did we provide you based on what you said you wanted to accomplish in your business? Now, just that shift from qb are, let's acknowledge it. They're actually QAAR's court, really activity ruse, but what we want to make them quarterly value reviews. And if you, if you had just made that mental shift, what kind of information would you expect to be delivering? But if you are the customer, what would you expect to be receiving in a quarterly value review? Well, Rachel, it would have things to do with our positive business outcomes, the things that we're trying to deal with anyway, relative to our biggest problems, updated based on how our view of those problems evolved, and what we might be able to do with you. Supplier, partner, vendor, seller, whatever word you want to use. What might me be able to do with you that will actually either help us give more value out of what we bought from you or identify new areas of value we could leverage through our relationship with you. So I think when you talk about it, things like understanding the big problem and and us being able to attach to it, being able to define the required capabilities we agreed to up front that needed to be addressed, the related metrics that measure, those that we both have agreed are critical for them to focus on, and you know, all of that tied into positive business outcome. So I know that was a bit of a rant right there, but I think when you talk about seller deficit disorder and the quarterly business review phenomena, one, there's like two or three Rachel very common issues every organization has. Right here's a couple of them. We start out with a lot of steam right after we sell something and is moment and everybody shows up for the first one or two in the pot they kind of go away. Number two, the exacts that you know we were dealing with, that had the big problem, never show up anymore. Whoop, you know, it's just it is. All those are all to me, symptoms of what I'm talking about. On Q VR versus Qaar, versus QB are right, and you know, I'm sorry. There are a lot of people listening to this podcast right now nodding their heads saying I see it all all the time. And you mentioned the required capabilities, the pedios and metrics aligning to the big business problem, which is all of those things we preach about when you're selling the initial deal and when you're pulling those through to negotiation, the next step is to pull them through post implementation so you can when you identify those components and they're aligned to the business deal, that's your tool for providing value moving forward. Well, and Rachel, you know again another thing we talked about quite frequently with our customers that one of our customers described it as embarrassingly simple, in other words, and we have figured this out all on. Got A little bears to admit it, but when you think about it, what is our focus as a selling organization? Are we focused on selling our solutions, are products to that customer, or are we focused on their success? When we're focused on selling our products, iron tire sales processes aimed at that, and then any kind of follow up is tied to what we agreed to do with you, customer, or for you, customer, when you bought our solution. That's what it. You know, quarterly activity report is all about. You said you wanted this. We said we do...

...that. Here's the status of where we're at on them. But if we're all about focusing on the customers implementation, in their success, that not only changes the conversation post implementation. It's not about our activity, it's about your progress to your success. And if you have that, now imagine the upstream differences. When we're in that sales conversation with the executive as the problem, we're not just talking about what's the timing of when you buy? What's the timing of when you install? What's the implementation plan? We're saying, Hey, after we do hall that, you still haven't achieved your success yet. We got to put some things in place that say we're going to be with you till you achieve that success. A roadmap, if you will, a roadmap to here success, not to implementing our solution, or roadmap to her success. And all of a sudden, as you said, presale. We're talking about it right, we're planning for it during the sale. It's included as some of those required capabilities. The metrics are adjusted and then it's a natural course, after the fact that we actually do it and we're engaging with them till they achieve that success and Rachel with our you know, most organizations were, but particularly our customers. If you're in there focus with the customer, trying to get them to their success and you're engaged that way, you will uncover to so many additional opportunities, additional stakeholders, additional champions, additional differentiation you can make. It's just it's the gift that keeps on giving when we shift our focus to helping them achieve the value that they were trying to focus on from the first place. Yeah, it's such an important point. So if we have the right mindset and we are pulling those pedos as metrics through and the for our customer success team or whoever is doing these quarterly value reviews, that's our new that's our mindset for the rest of this like. So we've got those in place. So now it's prepping for those conversations in the right way. And so I want to talk first about how we're prepping internally, not with what are we doing internally to prep to make sure that that's a great conversation? Yeah, and this is a really good. Again, if we're looking at the value were creating, then I think the preparation and those that are involved in the preparation or anyone that's been involved in identifying, architecting, implementing, managing ensuring that value gets achieved. So what do I mean by that? We have a tendency, I would say this as a perspective that's shifting right now in the market place, but there's still a predominant set of organizations that see the journey of the customer through their ecosystem starts with maybe marketing or business development wrap and then eventually hits sales, maybe pre sales, then there's the commit and then there's the implementation team and services and then success and then account management. We see that chain all too often as a series of handoffs. You do your thing, then you pass it to me. It's like a relay race. In on the track, you know the customers, the Matan yeah, and what happens is the customer Paton gets passed from group to group and we know anytime there's that kind of handoff, with all due respect to the crm tools that are out there, information of perspective gets lost, momentum gets lost and unfortunately, in that customer confidence get lost. So a concept we're putting in place to answer, you know, the that question, Rachel, is what if, instead of handoffs, they were handshakes? You and I are committing of what we're going to do with one another to ensure the customers success. Is Like we're, you know,...

...metaphorically shaking our hands and saying now I'm bringing you in, all right, and you may be in the lead right now, but I'm still connected to it. And if you have that mentality then by the time we're really focused on value realization with our customers, once they've started to implement, install what they do, then you say where the handshakes been? Who are the folks that have valuable perspective? Here's a very common issue. Our customers tell us about qb ours. Rachel, the sponsoring executive that really we dealt with in the beginning to deal with the problem has now handed off the activity to a team and implementation team, and all too often the implementation team doesn't understand why the executive made the decisions they may. In fact, they say, had we've been involved, we might have made some others. Well, you know, part of that shame on us as a selling organization. But we want to make sure that we create that all the way through so we're not only impact in the handshakes on our side but their side. So I just want to lay that out as how do we prep our team? We are always anchoring our conversations are cornerly value reviews. Back to the big problem we've attached to the positive business outcomes related to that, the required capabilities. They said they had to put the place and the metrics for measuring success and I think if our team are collective, team is pulled together, you will find that we got a lot of perspectives that no individual on our team has on their own. M Seller, they at the perspective of what was going on originally and maybe some connections on a relationship side, but that's sponsoring executive. Our solutions engineers or are consultants. They probably have perspective of the technical challenges. We started with the implementation team as all about in the moment what we've had going on here. Professional Services has a perspective of how is the organization? What's our current readiness to take advantage of what's been installed? Our customer success people likely have focus on the success plan. We all have a little different perspective and if we lived in a world of handoffs, we're kind of counting on all that perspective found its way to whoever is running the QV are. So I believe whether they're actually involved, which I get a huge bias ort you can imagine, right M at a minimum they're involved in the planning, focused on the things we talked about with the customer, with always anchored by what they were trying to achieve from a positive business outcome standpoint. Yeah, it so. It's maybe, to say another way, it's aligning on what you said, that the positive business outcomes. They are trying to see what was repuired to get there, the metrics, how they're measuring success, what it was and what it is. So the current state of what those tenets of the deal are as it relates to all those different players that you were talking you just mentioned. So getting everybody outligned on where we are right now with that is an important stat to prepare for those and there's one other important part of preparation. Yeah, everybody gets together. Say So, what do we even tell the customer? You know, and you know where I'm going to go with this one. Right, I want to know. Is it all okay? Good? What do we want to tell the custom great, put that in a report. We'll leave for them to know. Is What's the discussion we want to have? One of the questions we're going to ask. Yeah, you know, by definition, we're in there now, we likely have visibility two issues that they do not have across their organization, right, and so we should be prepared to go in with the you know, sometimes here at force management we call these, I don't want to give away...

...some secret sauce of bars, but if you've ever been on the receiving end of the discussion, you know was purposeful. Right, the, for whatever it's worth, conversation. Yeah, yeah, it's worth your customer, you know, here's what we've been doing, here's the progress we're making. We have a lost side of that. For whatever it's worth, here are some additional things that were noticing. Right, we put in place at technical solution. We were focused on the integration, we were focused on the reporting, giving you visibility. But, for whatever it's worth, now that we're in here, we're noticing there's some workflow disconnects. We're noticing there is some user experience issues that may be there. Now we're still moving forward on what we agreed, but for whatever it's worth, there's some other things. Oh by the way, when we started this we had a plan for what two thousand and twenty one was going to look at. Actually we had a plan for what two thousand and twenty was going to look like. There was a little change. Yeah, right, yeah, you know, for whatever it's worth, here are some other things that we've noticed. Having merged that, frankly, you're in a great position to be able to leverage what you've already put in place, just aimed at a slightly different problem. Then you might have to do a couple of little additional things. But for whatever it's worth, from our expert opinion, you know, I always try and take people back to a physician metaphor, right, Uh Huh. If a physician was treating me for examp, I I had some I'm consold, Rachel, I'd replacing parts right now. So I have a brand new hip. Okay, you know doctr mentor, which is fine, but you know if through that Whole Process Dr Mentor noticed something else but said none at all. I'm just about the hip you know, as when we did this x Ray, I saw something else, but I'm just about the hip, so that's all I'm going to talk about. I would be rather upset, you know, that the expert didn't give me additional insights. Now, if he said, Hey, you know this hip, this what was going on and, just for whatever it's worth, odds are that you're going to need that other hip that it looked like he was trying to sell me. Yes, but I count on experts to beat experts and if we're in something called the quarterly value review, I expect experts to engage in a conversation with me that speak to their expertise. That helps me. You know why? Why would an executive show up at ongoing Q vrs? Right, because you've got inside about my company that I lack and I know that when I meet with you, I get those kind of insights and they are valuable to me. I always say this. You know what's the greatest questions you can ask in a QB? Are The questions that the most influential people on the customer side nor really important to have the answer to, and they currently don't have the answer. Yeah, that creates that tender different kind of conversation. Rachel, Yeah, yeah, exactly. And well, you know, there's this all of these things that you're talking about, is making sure the customer has the right perception of the discussion. So in order to do that, we have to prep your customer in the right way. And if it's your first, first one, they're probably going to have some of those perceptions that we talked about earlier at the top of the podcast. So what am I doing to prep the customer, to get them prepared that this really will be a meaningful conversation? Obviously, sending that agenda seems like a basic step, but I'm sure there's some tips that you had to prep the customers so they will see it as something that's worth their time. Yeah, and Rachel, we're talking about setting expectations right. Yes, yes, to me, the best time to set expectations are way...

...before, oh, it's the qvr is going to be scheduled. You know my belief that someone told me this a long time ago. He said, Tim what if you treated every interaction with your customer like it was a demo of what life with you was going to be like after they bought something? What if you treated every interaction like a demo, right. And if I'm saying after you buy for me, I'm going to be focused on your success, well, guess what the Demo should say. Before they buy for me, I'm focused on your success. The qvr should feel like the normal way we've been dealing with you all along, focused on your problems, helping you figure them out, get a broader, better, bigger and more compelling understanding of what's going on in your situation, define the requirements and measurements for success. Right, if that's what I've been doing from the very beginning setting our agenda for the first Qbr. First of all, I do it way before we complete the sale. HMM. I let him know this is what is going to happen. Now we have a tendency to say this is what's going to happen, but it's all focused on the implementation right, being, being, being charm, that's about us. And and I want to say yet implementation is one piece and it's very important, all right, but here are the expectations you should have, customer, when we start working with us. That's why I actually make a big deal. You can tell Qvr is not something I just made up at the moment. I make a big deal before we you know, the customer commits, this is what life's going to be like afterwards, and we're going to conduct these things called a quarterly value review. Now they're not always quarterly, but I'm going to let them know. Here's what we're going to talk about. Here are the questions we're likely going to ask you and, as a result, this maybe goes where you might be going. Xus This is who on your side needs to be about. I treat that, the Qvr, as a negotiable. You know, I'm going to weave it in those people participating for the first three ones after we install. That's part of what I'm trading for. You want some things from us, great, there might be a way to get there, but here's what I'm going to need to return. I want measurement of this. I want these quarterly value reviews scheduled. We're review the metrics, but I you know, part of what I'm trading for here is those people are involved in the first three. One a common Rachel is if they come to the first three, they'll see there's a difference and what we do. It's kind of tied back to what we always say, imagine, right, if you could differentiate your say it self as much by the way you engage with the customer as what you sell them. Yes, absolutely, you've. If you've gotten it at that initial deal, you you did a good job earning that trusted advisor status. So don't let it go to waste. Yeah, you know, why would you give your power away? Yeah, exactly. If the problem a lot of selling organizational talus is, well, it's not me, it's the way they're set up, and it's like, yeah, you know why. They've experienced a lot of bad ones. Right, right, be different, set different. You know, why wouldn't? The ongoing conversation and measurement of impact and exploration and new value? Why would that not be one of the required capabilities? A front? And then you could say here's how we do it, here's how we do it better. Most people do a Qbr. We do a QVR. This is what's going to happen in it. We're going to ask for this kind of participation. Here's was going to be involved on Ourson. I'll even give you the agenda. What we're going to cover. Exactly, anyway, exactly. Tell I've got a little passionate about this because, like you, I've been on the receiving end of a lot of bad one. Yes, I've said I'm not coming to another one...

...of these. So here's some recommended changes if you want to try it offline, and by the way, you can use it on any other customer you want. But if you want me involved, I ain't come into this thing anymore. Right, there you go. Maybe that should be our bottom line him. But I think you've dropped a lot of gems here today, as I expected. I appreciate your call them gems. Yes, no, they are, but I think you said something earlier that I think kind of wraps it up. Are you focused on your products? Are you focus on your customer success? And that is true in that initial sale and it is true in these conversations post sail. And, by the way, all that more important for the ongoing relationship. Maybe after a year, two years, maybe you're starting to achieve the original success. Now what it's all about is the success of the ongoing relationship. And maybe you call him summit meetings. Yeah, whatever you want to you know, I'm less about the title and more about the activity. But I think it's what we've talked about is really the key to take in the long view with this customer. So few of US have. All are in a one and done business. Just by once for me and we're good. That's not the way the world operates right now, and so I think it's really important. And as we start to see shift from buying a product to subscription services, now the emerging one is consumption, right, I was just sings nomical. You know what we're talking about is a coritical component of the success of that business model. Yeah, well, thank you so much for this conversation today, Tom My pleasure. You know I like talking about things that matter. That's right, and be sure to check out the show notes for some additional resources. And thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready sales podcast. At force management we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US AT FORCE MANAGEMENTCOM you've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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