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Do’s and Don’ts For Your First QBR of 2020

Do's and don'ts of 2020 QBRs

In the back half of Q1, product and marketing managers prep for their first QBR of the year. Here is a quick do’s and don’ts guide for the first QBR of 2020.

Q1 seems to end as quickly as it begins. Just when we’re bouncing back from the post-holiday sluggishness, it seems March is here and the past 8 weeks were a blur. It also means it’s time to prepare for a few QBRs.

In the digital workplace, internal and external teams are leveraging collaboration tools more than ever to accommodate new work scenarios, defined by multiple vendors and disparate work environments. Heck at Taplytics, we are constantly optimizing and experimenting with both new tech and processes – both in pursuit of making our internal teams and external relationships more productive and successful. It’s a fun challenge that I believe companies and teams at any stage can benefit from reviewing.

2020 likely brought a new set of strategies, maybe a new tool or two, and certainly a look at the vendors the company uses to achieve its objectives. While these vendors and tools are inherently complementary in nature, we’ve found that few teams, if any, actually ask their providers to work together to solve problems in a collaborative way. This is probably the best use of a QBR – how are you working together more effectively quarter over quarter to be the best we can be.

As we conclude the first quarter 2020, let’s look at ways to make the upcoming QBR’s collaborative and impactful:

1. Don’t Skip the Formalities

Healthy relationships have a bit of familiarity and comfort. So don’t just get down to business right away. Give everyone an opportunity to meet. Starting with a casual breakfast or lunch and if there is anything special about your business, feel free to show off with a quick tour or history lesson.

The more you can get your guests excited about being together, the more excited they will be about the opportunity to contribute.

2. Do Set and Share the Goal for Each Session

This should be obvious, but it can’t be said enough. Be clear about what you are trying to get out of the meeting. Your partners are there to help you, so make their job easier by clearly communicating beforehand to all attendees what you expect to achieve at this meeting.

3. Don’t Withhold Important Data Points

If you lead by example and are open about your challenges, successes, opportunities and data about your performance and goals, you can expect companies to be equally as generous in return. If you are stingy with information, your vendors will be unable to help you or unwilling to provide insight due to an inherent lack of trust. Transparency across the table breeds more productive conversations.

Additionally, answer clarifying or probing questions openly and honestly. You may feel like you are being grilled, but if you find yourself in this situation, this means your vendors are just showing an interest in the business and the opportunity to provide helpful insights. This is what you want, so embrace it.

4. Do Put the Right People in the Room

The worst thing you can do is fill the room with individuals who can’t truly make an impact on the ongoing project or relationship. Your vendors and clients were encouraged to come out to help you by being collaborative, and nothing stifles the mood more than not bringing the right people to the table. You will get far more out of the relationship by breeding internal prioritization.

5. Don’t Forget to Focus Building Vendor-to-Peer Relationships

This is an opportunity for your vendor partners to meet as many of their peers and learn from each other. Large organizations can sometimes feel like a black hole of departments and challenges – so using a QBR to allow vendors to speak to other part of the organization can be incredibly beneficial – and make you personally look like a rock star.

6. Do Leave the Room with a Follow-Up Plan

You can have the best QBR ever, but it will have all been for nothing if you don’t take charge of following-up and owning the outcomes yourself. Make sure you are taking good notes and develop a plan coming out of the meeting to act on the great ideas your partners come up with. If the vendors are excited about helping you solve your challenges, take the lead and follow up so you can effectively channel that energy into results and progress for your business.

As with anything, you can’t just throw a few people into a room together and hope genius insights will emerge to solve all of your problems. By taking a few steps you will be sure to get the most out of the process had have a prosperous year, quarter over quarter.