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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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The 5 Fundamentals of an Executive Business Review

Posted March 15, 2018by Nicole Hunter Hart

The 5 Fundamentals of an Executive Business Review

Welcome back to my blog series dedicated to customer management and retention. Each post in this series will help you better engage with your clients to retain and grow your business through meaningful relationships. One of the best ways to create these strong business relationships is to maximize the impact of your touchpoints. By communicating the right information, at the most important time, you’ll be able to continuously demonstrate the value of your services.

To tie these concepts together, I’m going to focus on a particularly important touchpoint: The Executive Business Review (EBR). When presented to your clients, EBRs can drive increased awareness, communication, and ultimately reinforce trust when expansion opportunities arise. Keep reading to discover the fundamentals of an Executive Business Review and how you can optimize your next client meeting.

So, what’s the main value of executive business reviews? In short, EBRs are an information and value vehicle you should leverage with your clients on a regular (usually quarterly) basis. They’re a simple and easy way of presenting your work, value, and expertise to clients—maximizing their understanding of their IT environment and its critical nature to their business. These reviews also provide an opportunity for you to showcase the work you’ve done, exemplify the issues you have mitigated to maintain business continuity, educate the client, and even uncover new opportunities for service improvements or cross-sell/upsell.

Now, what should be included in a basic EBR, you may be asking? Below, I have outlined the top five agenda items to include for an impactful and successful executive business review.

1. Work Performed

Provide a few high-level charts for your clients depicting the work you performed over the last 90 days. Here, the key is to tailor the information based on your audience. Are you speaking to a more technical leader? They might be interested in knowing about the major work categories you’ve performed around desktop and server support. Are you talking to the business owner? Show them how much time/productivity you’ve saved them.

This includes themes, too. The data will demonstrate the work you are doing for the client, but take a step back to understand the overall themes or issues that keep popping up and address them. Keep these takeaways clean, simple and presentable, such as a pie chart with single-sentence takeaways—allowing the message and value to stick in the minds of your clients.

2. Asset/Warranty Information

During this portion of the review, you want to illustrate to your client their assets and warranty information. Continuum Partners have access to Auvik, which provides wonderful network diagrams. This is a great tool to show your client—helping through visual understanding when you say work is needed or will be needed in the future.

For warranties, it’s critical to be proactive and keep your client up to date on these. (If you currently don’t have the info you need, this is the time to request it. Show them an example of a client site where you have the info and how you’re able to manage more successfully and proactively).

You should end with a “Warranty Look-Ahead,” where you detail and discuss upcoming renewals for software and hardware. This conversation should be strategic, with you offering your client your best recommendation on their path forward based on your knowledge of their business and IT budget.

3. Patching

Providing a patching review is very helpful to clients and easily demonstrates your expertise and behind-the-scenes work to keep them safe and operating. Here, you will want to include in your presentation systems patched, endpoint protection coverage (antivirus/antimalware), and where systems were protected vs. most vulnerable. During this time, make sure to have a recommendation or solution for each vulnerability or issue presented! This can be leveraged as an excellent tool to discover and investigate expansion opportunities for other products/services you provide.

4. New Projects and Initiatives 

Once you have presented and discussed the previous three topics, you can naturally lead into the fourth topic of projects. At this point, you have provided plenty of information to the client, and it is now important to bring it all full circle with your recommendations on their next steps.

Touch upon both short-term and long-term projects for the client. Present in a way that reads helpful and, based on your expertise, not in a way that reads pushy or opportunistic. Here, it is important to reference your data and their business goals while keeping in mind their IT budget.

5. Market Landscape 

Lastly, end with a snapshot of the IT market landscape. By this, I mean provide the client with a tidbit of information on an emerging technology you feel is pertinent to their business, such as cyber security and threat management. This agenda topic serves to keep your clients in the know and educated in a fun, interesting way and showcases a breadth and depth of knowledge you provide that no one else can or does for them.

Armed with these top five agenda topics for EBRs, you can start putting together a presentation template to use across your client base. Take some time to prepare yourself to start delivering these to clients, or prepare your team by practicing internally with each other. The most successful executive business reviews should be conducted quarterly, take about an hour, be on-site with the client and key stakeholders, and include you along with the internal relationship manager and lead technician for the account. With these fundamentals, you’ll be on a path to creating meaningful, long-term relationships with your clients.

 

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Nicole is a passionate Customer Success leader specializing in cross-functional programs to drive an elevated customer experience and promote customer retention and revenue growth. In her role as Senior Manager, Partner Success Programs at Continuum, she leads strategic efforts across the organization centered around bringing our partners’ voice into every interaction for a customer centric approach. She does this via Voice of the Partner, Partner Survey programs, advisory councils, and customer lifecycle optimization initiatives. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys reading, interior decorating, catching the latest superhero movie, and traveling to new locations.

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