How to Ace Your Mock QBR Interview

How to Ace Your Mock QBR Interview

Love it or hate it, the mock presentation is likely here to stay for a while.

The good news is that you can stand out and “ace” your presentation interview with preparation and practice.

Before we get into that, just know that we get it…

Mock QBRs/presentations can be scary. Usually, it’s done with more than one person, which can be intimidating for that reason alone. You can also expect your audience to ask questions that you might not know the answers to as a way to test your "fight or flight" skills.

But have no fear!

Let’s discuss the key steps to set yourself up for success for your upcoming mock presentation.

Step 1: Dive into the Company’s Marketing Materials

Begin by immersing yourself in the company’s marketing and educational content. This includes case studies, customer testimonials, webinars, and other resources on their website or social media channels.

Your goal is to understand the company's value proposition, product offerings, and, most importantly, what constitutes a successful customer in their eyes.

Understanding the Value Proposition

Focus on grasping the company's value proposition.

  • What problems do their products or services solve? Specifically, the business impact.
  • How do they position themselves against competitors?

Understanding this will help you articulate how their offerings bring value to their customers.

Analyzing Case Studies for Customer Success Patterns

In case studies, identify common threads in customer success stories. Look for details on the challenges customers faced before using the company's products or services and the outcomes after implementation. Note any recurring themes, such as increased efficiency, cost savings, increased revenue, faster growth rates, or improved customer satisfaction.

Interpreting Customer Testimonials and Webinars

Customer testimonials and webinars are goldmines for understanding real-world applications of the company's offerings. Listen to the language and sentiments expressed by customers.

  • What aspects of the product or service do they highlight?
  • How do they quantify the impact on their business?

This information is crucial in understanding what customers value most.

Social Media and Online Forums

Don’t overlook social media channels, G2, and online forums where customers might share their experiences. These platforms can provide unfiltered insights into customer satisfaction, common issues, and how the company addresses customer feedback.

Consider looking for customers within your network who may have first-hand feedback.

Aligning with the QBR Prompt

After taking in all of this information, revisit the QBR prompt with a fresh perspective. How do the company's success stories and customer experiences align with the objectives of the mock QBR? Your goal is to create a narrative for your QBR that reflects a deep understanding of how the company's offerings have driven success for its customers.

Practical Application of Knowledge

This step involves translating your research into actionable insights for the mock QBR. How can the successes and challenges highlighted in your research inform your approach to the QBR? This might involve suggesting new strategies, identifying potential areas for growth, or addressing hypothetical challenges that mirror those faced by actual customers.

Remember, your task is to align the company's success stories with the objectives of the mock QBR. This alignment demonstrates your understanding of the company’s offerings and practical ability to apply this knowledge.

Step 2: Bring the Prompt to Life with a Customer-Centric Approach

Here is a real-life example of a Mock QBR prompt.

Now, create a realistic scenario for your mock QBR. This helps you demonstrate your understanding of the company's customer dynamics and your ability to apply this knowledge practically.

Understand the Customer Lifecycle Stage

Determine whether your mock customer is a new client or a long-standing partner. This influences your approach and strategy. For a new client, your focus might be establishing trust and understanding their immediate needs. For a long-term partner, the emphasis could be on continued value delivery and exploring new growth opportunities.

Dive Into the Customer’s History

Investigate the customer's implementation experience and any significant milestones or challenges they have encountered. This historical perspective is invaluable in customizing your QBR. It allows you to address specific issues or successes the customer has experienced and propose tailored strategies for future growth or improvement.

Explore Company and Customer Success Team Dynamics

Research how the company and its Customer Success team typically interact with clients. What communication channels do they use? What is their approach to problem-solving and regular check-ins? Understanding this helps you realistically visualize how a QBR would be conducted in the company.

Here's how to go about it if you weren’t able to uncover how the CS team engages with their clients during your first round of interview(s):

  • Find Contacts: Use LinkedIn to identify people who have worked in or with the Customer Success team.
  • Professional Outreach: Send a brief, professional message explaining your mock interview preparation and your interest in their experience with the company's customer success strategies.
  • Ask Specific Questions: Have targeted questions about their approach to client communication and problem-solving. Here are a few examples:
    • "Can you describe the structure of the Customer Success team at [Company]?"
    • "What metrics or KPIs does the team prioritize to measure customer success?"
    • "Could you walk me through the typical onboarding process for new clients?"
    • "How does the team collect and respond to customer feedback?"
    • "How does the Customer Success team collaborate with other departments to ensure client success and retention?"
    • "How does the Customer Success team approach QBRs? Are there specific formats or strategies typically used?"
    • "What are the most important elements that [Company] focuses on during a QBR?"
  • Be Respectful of Time: Keep the conversation focused, and thank them for any insights they share.
  • Incorporate Insights: Apply what you learn to your mock QBR to show your understanding of the company's client engagement style.

Creating a Practical Scenario

Use the information gathered to craft a scenario that reflects a typical customer's journey with the company. This scenario should include specific challenges or goals that align with the company's Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This helps demonstrate your research skills and ability to apply research in a practical, customer-centric way. Consider what a successful customer outcome would look like and how that will be communicated in the QBR presentation.

Considering these aspects ensures that your mock QBR is realistic and customer-centric, showcasing your ability to understand the company’s approach to Customer Success.

Step 3: Assign Roles and Craft Scenarios

Another step in bringing the prompt to life is assigning each attendee a role. Usually, these mock roles are already set, but if they aren’t, ensure you know who will be there ahead of time so you know who will be assigned what role.

  • Understanding Attendee Profiles: Before the presentation, gather information about the attendees. Learn about their positions, backgrounds, and areas of expertise. This knowledge will help you assign relevant and challenging roles to each individual.
  • Assigning Roles: If roles aren't predefined, use your understanding of the company’s structure to assign them. For example, one attendee could be the client's CEO, another the head of operations, and another a key stakeholder. Tailor these roles to reflect the typical audience in a real QBR.
  • Providing Context: For each role, provide a brief background or context. This includes the attendees' priorities, concerns, and questions they might ask during a QBR. This preparation helps the attendees get into character and prepares you for the type of interactions they might encounter.
  • Crafting a Compelling Story: Use these roles to create a narrative for your presentation. How does each role's perspective and needs influence the QBR agenda? How will you address their specific concerns while steering towards your strategic goals?
  • Interactive Engagement: Encourage role-playing during the QBR. This makes the scenario more realistic and allows you to demonstrate how you handle real-time questions and stakeholder interactions.

Doing all of this helps demonstrate your ability to understand various perspectives, address needs, and engage effectively with stakeholders. It also makes your mock QBR more realistic and showcases your skills in managing customer interactions.

Step 4: Consider Leveraging Other Tools to Stand Out

Now that you know how to gather the right data, it’s time to put it together in an eye-catching presentation deck.

Sure, you can use a slide deck. But we highly recommend using something more collaborative like Dock or Aligned to stand out and get “points” for creativity. Two members of CS Insider recently used Dock to create a clean and neat success plan and mock QBR, and both received praise from the interviewers for their creativity.

Since videos are more fun, below is a quick tutorial on how to use Dock, presented by Jared Orr, one of CS Insider’s writers.

Bonus Step: Catalyst Software has one of the best QBR templates on the market that anyone can download and use. Download their template here to take your mock (or real) QBRs to new heights.

Step 5: Perfect Your Presentation Skills

Rehearse your presentation multiple times to ensure a smooth delivery. You may want to ask a friend or colleague if you can demo the presentation for them in advance.

Focus on:

  • Body Language and Tone: Be aware of your non-verbal cues. Maintain eye contact, use hand gestures for emphasis, and modulate your voice to keep the audience engaged.
  • Pacing and Clarity: Ensure your speech is neither too fast nor slow. Articulate your points clearly, and leave time for Q&A and feedback at the end!
  • Get into character: Let the presenters know when the QBR presentation begins so that everyone can get into character. You as a CSM for the company, and the interviewees as their own clients
  • Handling Questions: Prepare for potential questions. Practice pausing before responding to demonstrate thoughtfulness.

Step 6: Engage Your Audience

Transform your QBR into an interactive session. Encourage participation by:

  • Setting the Scene: Introduce your scenario at the beginning of the QBR, outlining the customer's background, current situation, and key objectives. This sets the stage for a focused and relevant discussion, allowing you to demonstrate how the QBR directly aligns with the customer's needs and the company's goals.
  • Rapport-Building: Dedicate a few minutes to establish rapport with your audience. This sets a positive and collaborative tone for the QBR. A simple statement like, "I'm excited to explore this scenario with you and look forward to your insights," can effectively initiate engagement.
  • Asking Open-ended Questions: These types of questions invite your audience to contribute their thoughts and perspectives, making the session more interactive. For example, ask, "How do you see this strategy impacting your department?" or "What are your thoughts on these proposed goals?"
  • Creating a Dialogue: Throughout the QBR, always make it a two-way conversation. This can be achieved by responding to the audience's input, building on their ideas, and maintaining a balance between presenting your content and facilitating discussion.

Step 7: Demonstrate Analytical Acumen

Incorporate a segment where you analyze relevant data or trends.

This could involve:

  • Find Data: Look on Google Images for product screenshots that include data, or grab a screenshot from a product demo online.
  • Data Interpretation: Discuss how specific data points indicate broader trends or issues related to their clients.
  • Strategic Insights: Offer insights into how these trends impact the customer and suggest strategic responses.

Step 8: Showcase Your Soft Skills

Throughout your presentation, exhibit critical soft skills:

  • Empathy: Acknowledge the customer’s challenges and show understanding.
  • Adaptability: Demonstrate how you can adjust strategies based on different scenarios.
  • Problem-Solving: Present solutions to hypothetical problems that may arise.
  • Transparency: Throughout the presentation, you will likely get asked industry- or product-specific questions to which you don’t know the answer. Display how you would handle this with a real client effectively.

Step 9: Conclude With Impact

Your QBR should not just review past performance but also set a path for future success. Start by outlining key customer challenges, referencing the data or scenarios provided in the mock exercise.

Then, propose actionable next steps:

  • Goal Setting: Define clear, achievable goals for each challenge. Ensure these are measurable and time-bound.
  • Metrics: Choose relevant metrics that will help track progress towards these goals. Explain why these metrics are important and how they align with overall business objectives.

This approach shows your ability to think strategically and focus on continuous improvement. Make sure any next steps or recommendations are tied to customer challenges.

Quick Example

You can work backward if you’re sent a set of data to analyze along with the assignment. What story do you want to tell with the data? What would the challenges have been that this customer is trying to solve? What goals should be assigned to those challenges? What metrics would be helpful?

Step 10: Follow Up with Your Audience

After your mock QBR, send a thank-you email:

  • Express Gratitude: Thank the interviewers for the opportunity.
  • Summarize and Reiterate: Briefly summarize your presentation and restate your enthusiasm.
  • Seek Feedback: Show your willingness to learn and improve by asking for feedback.

Here’s an example:


Hi [people who were involved in the QBR],

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me and listen to my presentation.

The mock client seemed to have an invested interest in their ROI with the product, so I focused a good portion of the presentation on the data and metrics from the previous quarter. I also didn’t see anything in the prompt you gave me about specific goals they had, which is why I made a few up that I could speak to. I also introduced the idea of creating a success plan with them at the end since that has proven an effective way to help my clients succeed in past roles.

When you have the time, I would love to hear any feedback you may have. Thank you in advance.

I’m looking forward to hearing back from you and learning about the next step in the interview process.


[Your Name]


By following these steps, you'll prepare effectively for your mock QBR and demonstrate your understanding of what it takes to be a successful Customer Success Manager. Remember, preparation, an engaging delivery, and a customer-centric approach are your keys to a successful mock QBR interview.

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