An essential part of any Customer Advisory Board (CAB) or Partner Advisory Board is to continually manage the advisory board members. Your organization has dedicated time, budget and resources to plan your CAB and you want to make sure you recruit the most valuable members to your CAB on an ongoing basis.
Many organizations fail to establish and implement effective CAB membership management policies. Here are 3 suggestions to help you better manage your Customer Advisory Board membership:
1. Establish a charter and follow the charter.
A charter document lays the foundation for your advisory board, covering the board’s mission and scope, membership duration and benefits, meeting participation requirements, costs and cadence; and member and host company responsibilities. Do what you indicated you will do in the charter. Follow the meeting cadence of face-to-face and phone meetings. Refer to the charter from time to time so you know what was stipulated by your organization. Take into account the membership duration indicated in the charter, whether it is for 1 or 2 years, when reviewing the value of each member.
2. Use member recruitment criteria.
Create member recruitment criteria that will help you evaluate each potential member. Consider annual spend and potential future revenue, familiarity with your company’s products, the person’s desire to make a name for him or herself, level of openness and whether the person is outspoken.
One of the most important criteria is to consider current or future potential to serve as an advocate or champion for your company. One huge CAB benefit is that members become advocates and champions out of their participation and refer and promote your organization to others. These member champions will also be excited and willing to participate in events, case studies, beta testing or marketing initiatives for your organization.
3. Review and rank members annually.
We recommend reviewing and ranking members once per year to evaluate the overall value of each member. This process will help you to determine which members you want to keep on your CAB and which members to rotate out once their tenure is up. In some cases, you may have to rotate out a member even if the membership tenure is not complete.
As you interact with members throughout the year, take note of comments from members talking about other members, whether it is positive or negative. Incorporate the member feedback about other members into the ranking process. Consider a variety of ranking criteria such as overall participation at face-to-face meetings and conference calls, and level of business development participation.
Remember that Customer Advisory Board recruitment never ends! Board members will come and go due to job changes or other reasons. You have to be prepared to replenish your CAB with new board members to achieve maximum board value and ROI.
Watch our Why CABs Fail video series and watch the video above, focusing on poor CAB member management policies.
- Part 1 of 10: It’s’s too much work
- Part 2 of 10: Short term thinking
- Part 3 of 10: CAB confusion
- Part 4 of 10: No peer exchange
- Part 5 of 10: Unrealistic timing and expectations
- Part 6 of 10: Lack of creativity and vision
- Part 7 of 10: No executive ownership