Finding the right cadence to work with clients is influenced by a lot of things: different industries, timelines, deliverable types and levels of engagement. These are just a few of the many factors that influence how often to meet with clients on projects and collaborate on new opportunities. At OTM, our goal is to tell our customer’s story through meaningful and purposeful experiences. This requires a deep understanding of the client and a pretty frequent cadence of planning and strategic guidance and management. Historically, we have relied heavily on a monthly meeting with our clients where we review completed projects, current projects, upcoming projects along with campaign results and new opportunities.
For the last 18 months, we have started to look for ways that we could evolve our meeting cadence. After reviewing traditional best practices, we realized that we were missing out on a quarterly business review (QBR). To add these in, the solution was obvious – swap one of our monthly meetings with a QBR meeting to focus on budget reviews, burn down charts of utilization and a few new opportunities for each client.
As we started to look more at introducing a heavier quarterly meeting into our cadence, we found it to be a square-peg, round-hole situation. If we swapped one of our standing monthly meetings, we would lose our sprint cadence and agile marketing delivery. If we added it to the meeting mix (surely another meeting would solve this), we found it to be incredibly redundant to what we traditionally do in our monthly meeting. The question remains: how can we introduce a larger quarterly meeting while simultaneously adding value all while not diluting things?
The first thing we started to review was the meeting cadence. We mapped out our monthly meeting agenda, planning requirements, outcomes and KPI’s that were expected from it. This gave us a benchmark to compare against, but it also served to ensure that we didn’t lose any critical parts or intangible deliverables.
Next, we identified the activities that were high-leverage and high-impact that we could DO MORE of. This is where we veer from the QBR model. We started to come to the conclusion that our QBR was more of a bolt-on to our monthly meeting and less of a different meeting type. Specifically for us, it was around our external forces, SWOT and customer experience mapping. For us, this supported the unknown result that we had really been doing quarterly reviews, on a monthly basis. We simply needed to tweak what was already there.
Lastly, we wanted to transition into this meeting cadence with our clients smoothly. We opted to choose a portion of our clients each month and run them on a staggered schedule. By using a staggered schedule, we could align a few off-cycle clients to their ideal schedule, and allow us to flatten out the resource demands internally.
Our result isn’t what you’d read about when you read about traditional QBR’s. For us, it was important to double down on what works for us. That meant avoiding the burn-down charts of resource utilization (we don’t bill or engage on that model) or coming in with pitch decks and focusing more on curiosity, opportunity identification and strategy development to create and maintain healthy relationships.
If you’re interested in getting more value out of your marketing strategy and identifying opportunities, let us know. We are always happy to help you connect with your audience, inspire action and grow your business.