April 26, 2022

Webinar: How MSPs Can Nail Their Next Quarterly Business Review

Last week, Tenacity sat down with Lifecycle Insights to chat through how Managed Service Providers can deliver increased strategy and value around their public cloud services through QBRs. Here's what you missed.

Last week, our own Jason Yaeger, CEO and Co-Founder of Tenacity, joined up with Alex Farling, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Lifecycle Insights, for our very first Tenacity webinar! In this conversation, we focused on the topic of how Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can deliver increased strategy and value around their public cloud services through Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). 

Here’s a quick look at some highlights from the webinar, along with the full on-demand video if you missed it:

Tenacity: What is the value of a QBR?

Lifecycle Insights: The big one to me is the relationship. Back in 2005, we would drive to our clients office, knock on the door, and talk about things like our kids and their soccer practice in between questions like “Is there anything else I could do for you? Did you have any more questions?” We built that relationship. They did business with us because they liked us. And then we bought all this fancy software, we listened to vendors who told us you can solve 95% of your problems remotely, and we retreated to our offices. We stopped going to meet with our customers and that really created something that almost deteriorated the relationships we had spent a decade or more building. So, in my mind, there's a lot of things I want to get out of the QBR. There's a lot of conversations I want to have. The real value is that it repairs the relationship that we damaged by not showing up to meet with our clients and not being in their face and not asking how Little Timmy was in his baseball game. You know, we kind of retreated to our office and lost the connection with our customer. 

Tenacity: How has Covid impacted what Lifecycle Insight does?

Lifecycle Insights: It really forced us to take a look at and have conversations with our partners, and find a way that we could deliver value digitally. The pandemic made it more important for everybody to have Quarterly Business Review meetings, because COVID accelerated what were already trends in the cloud space. People rushed to the cloud, people rushed to digital meetings, people rushed to work from anywhere and work from home. What that meant for our clients was that our technology moved really far in a really short period of time. We needed to have these conversations with our customers to update them about all the things that had changed, how much more expensive things were going to be, what the impact was going to be, what a user's experience looked like, etc. They were going to need to double their spend on cybersecurity and all these other things were going to change. So, it made having that conversation with the customer even more important than it had been before, just because of how rapidly things were changing.

Tenacity: How can QBRs be actually beneficial during this time, when a lot of things are remote? What do MSPs need to make sure they are communicating?

Lifecycle Insights: We like to really focus on a couple of things, starting with risk. I'm a very low pressure sales guy. I believe in a consultative sales approach. And, like it or not, your QBRs are going to result in some sort of a sales process. It's one of these things where you've got to start letting your customer know the status quo and where they stand. And that's what your risk assessment is. You need to show the value and the evidence. Show, “This is where you stand today, Mr. Customer. If you change nothing, this is the risk your organization has to live with and this is the impact that might have on the business unit or your ability to generate cash.” From there, we also liked to bring a lot of data focus reports forward, with the big one being the budget in a long-term format. We've got our partners literally presenting a 12 month and a five year budget to their customers. And when they lay down this five year budget, guess what? All the surprises go away. The customer gets to be less defensive. We can sit down with them and say, “2024 is going to be a really expensive year for you. I want to tell you about it now,” and we want to talk about whether or not we can use financing.

Tenacity: What’s the real value that a good QBR can provide?

Lifecycle Insights: When clients give better, more consistent quarterly business reviews, we’ve seen an uptick in customer spending around 30%... just by doing your QBR. This is because you're going to present to them all the things that you thought they knew, but you're going to put them all in one in one clear, concise report and let that customer consume it. QBRs allow you to have some real conversations with your clients about how the security needle has moved and that they haven't caught up. They're still doing the things the way we did them in 2018 and 2022 is a way different world. So, what we're seeing is a bigger spend. We're seeing clients signing into additional long term contracts, and just a retention of clients and a happier client. We have story after story of clients who have had that kind of a conversation with their customer after they removed all the obstacles and the customer says yes to additional security, yes to additional tools, and those kinds of things. 

Tenacity: Let's say you’ve only got about 30 minutes before you lose the room. What's the right balance between context and getting to the point?

Lifecycle Insights: One of the things that you should do is prep your customer ahead of time and let them know how much time you need to have this conversation. You should be presenting an agenda ahead of time that says we need 45 minutes, or we need an hour. If they're going to shortcut that, then I would say there are certain places where you can shortcut the conversation without losing too much value. The first time you meet with the customer, you probably want to go through an entire risk assessment with them and let them understand the process of building the risk. The second time through or in a situation where they shortcut you on time, you can cut to the end of the assessment that is the remediation planning and say, “Hey, here's the five things we found that are really problematic and the things I need you to deal with in the next 18 months. Let's go look at how those tie up to your budget.” 

Tenacity: How do you go about prioritizing things like security threats for your clients, when all security threats feel urgent and dangerous?

Lifecycle Insights: I think at some point, we have to do a combination of the actual risk to the business, right? How many dollars is it going to impact? How much downtime is it going to create? We have to do some balance between getting the big things off of that list. And then there are things that are low hanging fruit. You know, turning on MFA, configuring a firewall correctly, making sure that Microsoft 365 is configured correctly, making sure that your cloud security is done correctly. A lot of those things are already included in my managed services, I just have to get permission from my customer to disrupt business long enough to turn a feature on. So, a combination of high risk, high threat. The things that are going to do damage to the bottom line of the business, and then the things that are low hanging fruit. If you can pick a few low-hanging fruits along with one really big thing, and kind of work that process for a period of a couple of quarters, you'll find your customer come out the other side a whole lot better off than they are today.

Thanks so much to Alex from Lifecycle Insights for joining us for this webinar. Be sure to check out their website and use code “Tenacity50off2mos” for 50% your first two paying months with Lifecycle Insights, after your free 30 day trial.

Want to learn more about how Tenacity can help you prioritize cloud security risks for your clients and provide you with clear, visual data reports ahead of you next Quarterly Business Review? Click here to sign up for your free trial with Tenacity. 

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