During our recent customer advisory board (CAB) webinar focused on addressing top questions and challenges, the topic of CAB members learning from each other came up. A webinar participant commented that this aspect was a top benefit for meeting participants. And I agreed. The ability to learn from each other is among the top (if not the #1) takeaways customers communicate about the benefits they get from participating in CAB meetings.

How can host company CAB managers and executive sponsors create a meeting that enables members to engage and learn from each other?

Here are 5 suggestions:

1. Meeting kit with contact info.

Before your meeting, you should create and distribute a meeting kit via email. And a hardcopy at the in-person meeting.

The meeting kit contains all the pertinent information about the meeting. This includes a welcome letter, the meeting agenda, and CAB program charter. And, most importantly, a profile of all meeting participants.

Including pictures and detailed bios can illuminate shared backgrounds. Be sure to include contact info (email and phone numbers) so CAB members will know how to contact each other after the meeting ends.

Doing so also eliminates the need to individually exchange business cards or contact info. (Do professionals even have business cards anymore?)

2. Environmental scan.

Start each CAB meeting with the introduction of everyone in the room. Include an overview of their business and current corporate situation.

Each CAB member shares: What are their top priorities? Biggest challenges? Largest investments? Major system purchases or implementations?

This is a great way to uncover shared challenges right from the start of the meeting.

3. CAB member presenter.

Having a CAB member presenting can be quite enlightening for all customer participants. The CAB member may share about their company, operations, and how they addressed and overcame a common or shared challenge .

Such presentations can showcase solutions that worked well that. Other CAB members can take back and utilize the learnings in their own operations right away.

Such presentations can also help with industry benchmarking (budgets, staff sizes, etc.). Customers can share this information with their management. And it also foster follow-up engagement between members after the meeting ends.

 4. Breakout exercises.

The best part of any CAB meeting is the interaction between customers themselves – sharing and learning solutions or best practices from each other. The best medium to generate these is in breakout sessions. Your customers are split into smaller groups with clear instructions and desired outcomes.

Such breakouts can stay in the same room or use others that may be available. CAB members can list or draw their suggestions or desired priorities. And then share them out with the rest of the attendees.

Note that properly executed breakout sessions require an investment of time and preparation to pull them off successfully. 

5. Non-electronic materials.

Instead of boring PowerPoint slides, your meeting facilitator can leverage whiteboards or flip charts to capture key points made throughout the meeting.

In fact, illustrators can take this concept a step further by drawing out member challenges and solutions that can be quite visually stimulating.

Throughout the meeting and during the breakouts, use sticky notes, voting dots, or Monopoly money. Have members vote on their top priorities or desired product features – or use a sports bracket to select the winning feature.

The point here is to leverage old-school, non-electronic materials to create some fun and learn powerful insights.

In Conclusion

CABs are ideal forums for host companies to learn from their best clients. The biggest benefit for members is to learn from each other and implement these lessons at their own companies. CAB host companies should create an environment of sharing, learning, and engagement to keep CAB members talking and honest about their shortcomings and desires. This atmosphere is what CAB meetings are all about. If you are looking for better engagement for your CAB meetings, Ignite can help you create the best meeting agendas to maximize engagement and insights. Contact us to talk to an Ignite CAB expert. Hop on a call with us and we’ll review your advisory board needs and provide recommendations.



Ignite Advisory Group is the leading global authority on Customer Advisory Boards and Customer-Led Boards. Ignite’s proven methodology for managing and evolving Customer Advisory Boards includes a 4-stage process, encompassing 48 deliverables and measured by 20 metrics to deliver a clear ROI. To learn more about Ignite, visit our website, read our blogs, and follow us on LinkedIn. To find out how your company can benefit from Ignite’s CAB methodology and process, contact us today.

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