Take Time to Plan
A Customer Advisory Council has many moving parts with interdependent elements that influence the success or failure of any customer advisory or partner advisoary board program. Further, Ignite Advisory Group typically finds multiple levels of iteration among the sponsoring company’s leadership team, including some start-stop-start scenarios, as planning gets underway.
Our proven and tested program management process recommends a minimum six-month planning cycle. Ignite Advisory Group follows a critical path to executive engagement by creating the relevant building blocks, infrastructure, communication and management process.
The Ignite Advisory Group Process
The collaboration between Ignite Advisory Group and your company is illustrated below and the four program management phases are briefly described in this section. The secret sauce is in the application of proven practices developed or observed in hundreds of Customer Advisory Board meetings and planning sessions.
Companies that collaborate with Ignite Advisory Group often encounter a paradox – The less your Customer Advisory Board is about sales, the better the advisory board ultimately helps you sell.
Ignite solutions span the maturity levels of customer advisory board programs
Customer Advisory Board Strategy and Design
Based on your goals, Ignite Advisory Group works with your program team to determine and design the best customer advisory board format and scope for your company.
- The findings in this phase produce a common issue set – or reason to convene – that communicates the premise of the Customer Advisory Board from the member’s point of view, as well as the sponsoring company.
- Once in place, this reciprocal value proposition is both your best merchandising tool and a gauge for structuring the program and meeting agenda.
Selecting members is central to creating a successful peer exchange within any Customer Advisory Board.
- Which customers and executives should you invite to participate on your Customer Advisory Board? How many? How do you approach them? How do you best frame and position the Customer Advisory Board and its activities?
- Ignite Advisory Group guidance and templates simplify this task and ensures application of consistent criteria.
Meeting Design and Facilitation
Following Ignite Advisory Group templates and processes, companies glean high value.
- In conjunction with the executive sponsor, Ignite Advisory Group facilitates the annual meeting. The dominant advantage a third party facilitator provides is even participation, as well as encouraging participation among less active members.
- Ignite Advisory Group also captures meeting insights, and sets the framework for action item tracking that simplifies applying and tracking the takeaways to operations and service units, as well as account management and marketing initiatives.
Ongoing Customer Advisory Board Management
The stark reality for many Advisory Boards is that many do not continue beyond the first meeting.
- Ignite Advisory Group actively collaborates to ensure that the Board continues to grow and develop.
- Our communications plan and its structured post-meeting engagement methodology are central to the success our sponsoring company boards achieve.
Optimizing the Customer Advisory Board
Companies that take their advisory board to the next level not only apply the insights to tactical and strategic programs. Incremental outcomes are among the following.
- Incubate experimental ideas with all or select board members
- Find that members volunteer more frequently to participate in joint industry events
- Rank and rotate members to ensure fresh thinking among members
- Spin off incremental Customer Advisory Board programs – either horizontal to one or more verticals, or vertical to a horizontal subset(s), and or add partner advisory boards
To learn more about stronger program management for your Customer Advisory Board, contact Ignite Advisory Group today.