[Webinar] How to Recruit and Engage Executive Advisory Board Members During Coronavirus
The backbone of any Customer Advisory Board is the board members. You need to ensure that you have the right strategic members that you engage year-round. How do you aim high in recruiting advisory board members? How do you keep the board members engaged especially when we all had to go 100% virtual during COVID-19?
Forcepoint’s Ben Tao, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, is the guest speaker. Ben shares best practices and tips for advisory board recruitment and engagement. The Forcepoint Executive Advisory Board (EAB) is comprised of Fortune 500 company CISOs. The board has impacted Forcepoint’s strategy and product development since its start in 2017.
What You Will Learn During the Webinar:
- The ideal recruitment process
- Tips to manage membership throughout the year
- Pivoting to virtual meetings for board member engagement
- Virtual meetings best practices—and how to effectively run breakout session
- How to leverage advisory board members for thought leadership
- How board members have impacted Forcepoint’s strategic decisions
Deeper Dive into Some of the Advisory Board Best Practices Shared:
- Get specific on the customer advisory board membership criteria and stick to it. For example, Forcepoint narrowed in on Fortune 500 CISOs for their advisory board. An engaged executive sponsor also helps. Forcepoint’s CEO is the person that extends the invitations to join the board.
- Ultimately, CAB recruitment is a continuous process, even during COVID-19. Non-active members should be retired and attrition is a reality. Managing membership is all about ongoing engagement.
- Push your organization to have your advisory board help on strategic decisions. Do not treat the advisory board as a selling or marketing vehicle. Focus on getting board feedback on true strategic decisions. Regularly provide updates to the advisory board on implemented feedback coming from them.
- Plan for quarterly CAB member meetings throughout the year. During COVID-19, Forcepoint pivoted to 90-minute quarterly meetings from 60-minute meetings. And a 3.5-hour Zoom meeting instead of the 1.5-day in-person meeting.
- Preparation and dry runs are critical, as is creating a member-driven agenda. Engage members in topics that interest them. How? Forcepoint interviews each member on their top-of-mind topics. All key stakeholders attend dry runs (in-person and virtual). And a detailed show flow (a must for virtual) with speakers and timing is essential.
- A third-party facilitator, like Ignite, is helpful for agenda creation and driving engagement. The third-party facilitator manages the meeting cadence and provides an unbiased point of view, ensuring a productive meeting.
- Delivering a white-glove experience for advisory board members is key for Forcepoint. In-person meetings take place at high-end resorts. Forcepoint provides social networking activities and personalized gifts and covers all expenses. For their virtual meeting, Forcepoint mailed meeting materials and a member bio booklet. And they provided social networking via a virtual wine tasting.
- It’s all about trust and customer experience. How was Forcepoint able to easily collect CAB members’ home addresses to mail packages during COVID-19? It comes back to the brand image you’ve created of the advisory board as a sub-brand of the company. High attention to detail is important in all aspects of the board to create that high level of trust. For example, keeping the board professional, not recording the meeting, and thoughtful gifts.
- Virtual breakout sessions are a must to engage advisory board members. The board members value opportunities to discuss and exchange ideas in smaller groups. Make sure the topic is relevant and the objectives and deliverable are clear. Have the members lead the discussion. Make time for the CAB members provide readouts back to the entire group.
- Integrate your advisory board into other company initiatives. Forcepoint advisory board members have provided video case studies and thought leadership videos. Advisory board members benefit because it helps their personal brand and network.