How Using a Quarterly Business Review Can Help You Be Seen As a Trusted Business Advisor

I speak with lots of IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers who tell me that their clients see them as the “IT Guy” when how they really want to be seen is as the clients “Trusted Business Advisor“.

So how can you change your clients perception of you? By being more focused on business, and talking less tech. Someone a client can approach not just to fix the computers, but as someone they actively involve in their business plans.

This is where Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR’s) come in.

What is a Quarterly Business Review?

A Quarterly Business Review is, as the name suggests, a meeting with your client on a quarterly basis where you discuss their business and how you can support them.

The meeting is not to talk about outstanding Helpdesk tickets, upcoming projects or other issues – this meeting is to talk about your client’s business. To understand what is on their horizon, where they want their business to go, and how you can help them.

It also helps educate you to the clients long-term plans, how they see their business going for better, and for worse, and giving you the opportunity to help your client plan for that.

By showing an interest and learning about your clients business, you’ll be taking a huge step towards becoming that Trusted Business Advisor.

Uncovering Sales Opportunities

Although not the goal, invariably the meeting will uncover sales opportunities.

If the client is projecting a good quarter where they will be taking on two new employees – you can speak to that client about the computers, software and licenses that they will need. Often the client has not even considered these things. This helps educate the client that IT requires a planned budget.

You can also remind the client of the amount of lead time you’ll need to help them. This helps educate your client of the sufficient notice you require to bring a new employee on-board. It helps reduce those Monday morning ‘phone calls from your client to your Support Desk where the simple admin task of adding a new user and sourcing and setting up a new PC becomes an ultra urgent task.

Longer term, you can use reports – like those produced from within a good RMM tool – to help the client understand usage trends and to budget for their IT requirements.

If the client is consistently adding two new employees a month, and their server is already consistently running at 70% CPU and 80% capacity of Hard Disk Space – you can use the report to demonstrate in cold, hard numbers that the clients server will soon need upgrading.

You are not looking to get that new server signed off at the meeting, but you are helping bring this onto your clients priority lists. At this point you’re not selling anything to the client, you’re helping them solve a very understandable problem.

Building Strategic Alliances

The QBR is also an awesome opportunity to sniff out opportunities for your Strategic Alliance partners.

Strategic Alliance Partners are those businesses you have a good working relationship with, and who provide services that fall outside your core competency, but which complement the work you do for your client. As an IT MSP, while you concentrate on Infrastructure Management, this might mean you build Strategic Alliances with companies who provide Data Cabling, Telecoms, Web Design, Search Engine Optimisation, even Photocopiers and Printer/Plotters.

Within your client QBR, perhaps your client shares with you that they could do with more leads as their sales pipeline is growing dry. You can ask them questions on how their Web-Site is performing for lead generation, and what level of leads they’d like for it to deliver.

An introduction to your Web-Design or SEO Strategic Alliance Partner complete with this information does two things – it makes you very attractive to your Strategic Alliance Partner by passing across a truly qualified referral lead, and it solidifies your reputation with your client as someone who is actively looking to help their business even when it doesn’t mean business for you.

Consistency is Key

Whatever form your QBR takes though, undertake them regularly and consistently. Setting a recurring ticket in your Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool or a recurring reminder in your calendar to schedule a QBR with each client is one way to make sure you’re being consistent in undertaking QBR’s with your clients.


Undertaken with your clients on a consistent basis, a Quarterly Business Review becomes seen a real value-add to your client and is a huge step for you to be seen as their Trusted Business Advisor – not just their “IT Guy”.

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