Implementation Stories

Using EBRs to build strong customer relationships

Alisha Hardoon, CSM at Robin, shares how you can make the most of executive business reviews (EBRs) and build a strong foundation for them.
October 28, 2022
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Krishna Kumar

In Episode 26 of Implementation Stories, Alisha Hardoon, Manager - Customer Success at Robin, shares how you can make the most of executive business reviews (EBRs) and build a strong foundation for them.

Robin is a workplace experience software that optimizes office usage and helps employees find each other and spaces fast. Alisha was one of the first CSM hires at Robin and currently manages a portion of the CSM and the customer onboarding teams. 

In this session, Daria focused on: 

  1. What an EBR is and is not
  2. The key mindsets to take into an EBR
  3. When to leverage EBRs
  4. How EBRs are planned and conducted at Robin

Key takeaways

1. The right way to look at an EBR 

The goal of an EBR is to: 

  1. Define what success means for your customer
  2. Align on what those metrics are
  3. Identify potential roadblocks 
  4. Understand how to work together to craft a joint success plan

An EBR is an opportunity to: 

  1. Engage a broader audience of stakeholders for a shared understanding of account health
  2. Provide customers with a summary of where they derive value and where there’s room for growth
  3. Celebrate achievements
  4. Acknowledge and identify challenges
  5. Define (and align on) key success metrics and blockers

An EBR is NOT a roadmap conversation–it’s about the customer and their journey.

QBRs are stupid. OBRs are smart.

Best practices at Robin

The CS team takes a 3-wide-3-deep approach to stakeholders: they expect involvement from three relevant departments and three levels within those departments, at the minimum.

2.  Mindsets and approaches to take to an EBR

  1. An evident customer focus 
  2. A thoughtful narrative that shows you've done your due diligence to understand their history, needs, and goals
  3. A conversational approach (include questions and follow-up queries)

Best practices at Robin

  1. The team uses templates with talk tracks and a shared bank of questions (which is updated periodically)
  2. EBRs, by default, are conducted live; digital EBRs are used only as a last resort. In case of time constraints at the customer’s end, they conduct a live EBR with fewer stakeholders and share a recording with the leadership team

3. The four focus areas in an EBR

A. Current stakeholders

Purpose: Understanding if you have the adequate breadth and depth of inputs from the customer

Guiding questions: Who in your organization has a perspective/opinion on the subject?

B. Usage data and insights

Purpose: Summarizing current usage and account health insights, guiding the conversation to inform/validate the roadmap

Guiding questions:

  1. How are you currently capturing X?
  2. What is your feedback about Y?
  3. What does ‘great’ look like?

C. Highlights and challenges

Purpose: Ensuring transparency about successes, challenges, areas of improvement

Guiding questions:

  1. What data are you tracking and sharing internally?
  2. What metrics would you like to see in the next EBR?

D. Strategic roadmap

Purpose: Building alignment on key results for the partnership

Guiding questions:

  1. What are your priorities for the next month/quarter/year?
  2. Are you interested in advocacy opportunities (being part of a customer council, for example)
  3. Do you need help with change management?
  4. Are there any functionalities you are missing?

4. When to leverage EBRs

Here are a few things to consider when you evaluate which customers need EBRs: 

  1. Customer segmentation (how high-touch or low-touch the account is) 
  2. CSM’s bandwidth (the number of accounts each CSM handles)
  3. Growth/partnership opportunity (growth doesn't just mean an increase in ARR or product adoption, it could also include further engagement via feedback sessions, beta testing, case studies, or even membership in a customer advisory board)
  4. The customer’s preference

Here is Robin’s approach:

  1. Enterprise and strategic ($30K+): 2x per year minimum, quarterly ideally
  2. Growth (>$5K): Annually 
  3. Nurture (<$5K): Ad hoc, based on growth potential

5. EBRs at Robin

On average, CSMs spend between one to three hours preparing for an EBR, depending on the account size. CSMs are provided a template with talk tracks and suggested visuals. The team relies on Looker dashboards to understand product usage and adoption metrics and further identify areas of success and risk factors.

Customer onboarding and EBRs

The onboarding team’s inputs about the customer are critical for the CSM to 

  1. Identify the next steps for discussion
  2. Identify potential advocacy opportunities for the CSM

A typical EBR agenda at Robin includes:

  1. Introductions (What’s new with the customer? What’s new with you?)
  2. Current status (Usage and insights review, overview of account health)
  3. What’s next (Strategic planning and alignment on next steps)

Best practice(s) at Robin

  1. The CSM often provides usage insights compared to customers in similar regions or domains. This helps them determine the reasons for any deviations and identify areas for future support and remediation.
  2. The team also assesses how the customer is leveraging features known to drive the most value/success within similar accounts and uses that as a starting point for further conversation.

More resources

  1. Implementation Stories from Preflight
  2. Customer onboarding resources from Rocketlane
  3. The Launch Station - a podcast for all things customer onboarding

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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