#CABorgConf 2016 Recap, the largest gathering of Customer Advisory Board professionals

The annual CustomerAdvisoryBoard.org association conference took place in Boston on October 5-6, 2016.Customer Advisory Board Best Practices Sharing at #CABorgConf Over 50 customer advisory board and partner advisory board professionals came together to share customer advisory board best practices, challenges and solutions.

Companies represented included Intel, UpToDate Wolters Kluwer Health, Akamai, Pershing-a BNY Mellon Company, Arbor Networks and more.

A constant theme across all speakers was that moving towards a successful advisory board program requires ongoing implementation, evaluation and making adjustments based on lessons learned and evolving business needs.

Keep reading for highlights per speakers and some of our Tweets from the conference.

Customer Advisory Board Best Practices from Executive Sponsors

Jim Crowley, Chief Relationship Officer at Pershing, a BNY Mellon company, spoke about how Pershing refined its client advisory board approach to achieve greater value and engagement from their program. They elevated the strategic importance of the board and put the clients at the center of the process.

Pershing revamped the client advisory board process focusing on: charter creation, thorough member recruitment, client-driven agenda creation, expert meeting facilitation, fun team-building activities at face-to-face meetings, ongoing reporting and follow up, and taking on the 80/20 rule:

Arbor Network’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Gaebler, gave his customer advisory board executive sponsor perspective. Arbor’s customer advisory board had to evolve from a vertical CAB focusing on service providers to an enterprise board when Arbor transitioned to the enterprise market. They began by assessing the existing customer advisory board membership—who should remain and who should be retired?

Here are some Tweets about Chris Gaebler’s talk:

Partner Advisory Boards: Driving Engagement Via Sub-Groups

While partner advisory boards target channel partners and not customers, the same processes and best practices apply to both customer and partner advisory boards. Todd Garrigues, Director North America Reseller Program at Intel drives engagement through board sub-groups or sub-committees made up of a small number of members in the same verticals.

The Intel partner advisory board sub-groups discuss key topics on monthly conference calls in between face-to-face meetings. At face-to-face meetings, the entire board is together for general sessions, followed by breakouts with focused discussions per sub-group. Each face-to-face meeting starts with recognition, results, progress and gaps.

Some key points from our tweets:

How to Create a Compelling Customer Advisory Board Meeting Agenda

We advocate a customer-driven client advisory board agenda and achieve this with our clients through a comprehensive process. Eyal Danon, President of Ignite Advisory Group emphasized the importance of creating a compelling and mutually beneficial advisory board face-to-face meeting agenda.

Key agenda creation elements include interviewing internal stakeholders and board members to develop topics, allowing for plenty of lead time to prepare each session and providing expert facilitation at advisory board meetings.

Driving Business Value from Client Advisory Boards

Customer advisory boards can provide tremendous value to your organization. Angela Nichols, Senior Global Success Program Manager at UpToDate, Wolters Kluwer Health demonstrated how the company’s advisory board drives business value.

Angela touched upon client advisory board key value points, such as:

  • Product (guidance on product roadmap, identify unmet needs)
  • Marketing (cultivate advocates, evaluate marketing strategy)
  • Sales (strengthen relationships, leverage upselling opportunities)

Managing Advisory Boards at Scale and Gaining Organization-Wide Sponsorship

Akamai’s Bonnie Smith, Global Customer Experience Marketing, transformed their global customer advisory board program (with 10 boards) to better align to Akamai solutions and business needs.

Bonnie started by gaining organization-wide sponsorship and internal consensus on the purpose and objectives of the advisory boards. She also identified the internal teams to lead the boards (executive sponsors, CAB program managers).

Bonnie developed a CAB center of excellence portal with defined processes and documents for all customer advisory boards to follow the same processes and best practices.

For all attendees, the partner advisory board and customer advisory board best practices sharing was invaluable to help overcome common mistakes and shared challenges. See you at the next CustomerAdvisoryBoard.org annual conference!

For more customer advisory board best practices training, join us and your peers at our upcoming Customer Advisory Board Manager and Facilitator Training.

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