Customer or Partner Advisory Councils Most Effective When Meeting In-Person Once Per Year, Having 15-18 Active Members and Establishing 2-Year Membership Tenure
SAN DIEGO – Dec. 16, 2014 – Ignite Advisory Group, the leading consultancy in the world focused exclusively on helping companies manage and optimize their customer and partner advisory board programs, today provided benchmark guidance to common challenges and frequently asked questions it receives from advisory council managers across the globe. The proven, best-practice guidance comes through Ignite’s experience from over 200 advisory board consulting engagements over the last seven years.
“Throughout our various engagements with our clients and other advisory board managers that we train, there are several recurring questions we encounter across all types of boards and industries,” said Eyal Danon, President and Founder of Ignite Advisory Group. “Although there will be exceptions to these standards based on a company’s advisory board charter, strategic situation or advisory membership makeup, these targets tend to hold true for the majority of firms we work with that are the most successful at managing their customer or partner advisory programs.”
The proven, best-practice benchmarks include:
= Number of annual face-to-face meetings: one. As on-going momentum and member communication is crucial to the long-term success of advisory program initiatives, Ignite has found that one annual face-to-face meeting is ideal for optimal program success. More than one in-person meeting over a 12-month period may create too much of a burden on busy executive members and the host company. However, without active and engaged subcommittee initiatives in between meetings, members may lose touch with action items and resulting follow-up activities.
Ignite recommends considering moving to two meetings after the program is successfully established. “It takes considerable time and effort gearing up to a world-class advisory council meeting. Once the host organization acquires appropriate experience and understands the required time investment, the meeting cadence can be more easily increased,” added Danon.
Either way, successful customer or partner advisory board programs must include a robust, ongoing communication strategy between meetings to keep members informed and engaged.
= Number of customer or partner council members: 15-18. Customer advisory council meetings are intimate exchanges of ideas and solutions to shared business challenges. Too few participants will likely yield an inadequate sample size on which to gauge industry pain points, or may skew resulting solutions. Too many participants, on the other hand, can lead to shallow discussions in which some members will be unable to successfully contribute their expertise. In Ignite’s experience, 15 to 18 active members produces productive and balanced discussions.
While 100% attendance is ideal, it is likely that one or two members may have an unforeseen conflict. Membership in this target range also ensures an effective quorum.
Finally, Ignite recommends a 2:1 ratio for participants: specifically, two attending members to each one host company participant. Too many host company attendees can overwhelm the board members.
= Length of member tenure: two years. To optimize the board, and keep ideas fresh and flowing, it is recommended that members be recruited to participate fora 2-year term. This provides adequate tenure to contribute ideas and see them through to fruition. Once completed with their tenure, members can be moved to advisory alumni boards, on which they can still be informed of host client developments, contribute new ideas and network with each other.
About Ignite Advisory Group
Ignite Advisory Group is the world’s leading consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies engage with executives at key accounts through high-impact customer and partner advisory board programs. The firm’s comprehensive solutions include a full range of customer and partner advisory board services, from complete outsourced management, assessment and benchmarking, on-site and hosted training to program mentorship. Ignite counts Dell, Cisco, Xerox, Qualcomm, Adobe, Iron Mountain, Equifax, Oracle, Rackspace, Arbor Networks, Brocade Networks, EMC and many others as customers. For more information, visitwww.igniteag.com or call 888-667-7027.
Ignite Advisory Group