We are sometimes asked by our clients whether they should (or shouldn’t) provide their customer advisory board (CAB) members the presentations from their virtual or in-person (remember those?) meetings. While our standard response is to encourage host companies to provide selected slides, in the spirit of proactive information sharing, we understand that sometimes doing so may not be as simple or straightforward.
As such, when it comes to sharing customer advisory board meeting presentations, here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Members will ask: When holding your virtual CAB meeting, one of the first questions you may get asked is whether the presentations will be made available. You certainly want to have an answer ready! They may ask simply so they don’t have to write down all your great information or to refer to your materials later.
- Members may want to share: Your client advisory board members may want to share your great information or updates with their internal colleagues to communicate news or illustrate business trends. Such content positions your company as an industry thought leader.
- Your product roadmap may influence others: Your CAB members may not necessarily be the actual users of your product, which may in fact involve many others not participating in your advisory board meeting. Thus, your product users will likely want to see your product feature roadmap and provide their input and desires towards them. This may even spur a separate discussion to ensure these desires are captured.
- Some information may be proprietary: While you never want to communicate material non-public information about your company, your product roadmap may, understandably, contain sensitive or even proprietary information you would not want to fall into your competitors’ hands. If that’s the case, be honest with your CAB members, explain your desires, and consider not sending any information that you deem too sensitive. You can also remind members about their non-disclosure agreements that may already be in place, although getting your legal team involved should not be necessary.
- Third parties may not want to share: If you invite outside participants to your meeting, such as analysts, partners or consultants, they may request that you not share their presentation materials with your customer advisory board members. Also, CAB members who present about their own company operations may request the same. Respect their wishes.
- Members may not be interested: Your CAB members are likely very busy executives. While they may eagerly engage during your meeting, they may not have time to review your presentation materials again.
THE BOTTOM LINE
All your planned CAB presentations should be reviewed in advance so there are no surprises during the meeting. Your default plan should be to provide your CAB members your meeting presentations, and discuss any issues against doing with session owners before the meeting takes place.
It’s ideal to provide the key discussion questions within your presentation to CAB members a week in advance of the meeting so they can review them (e.g. with their product users) as they wish.
It’s also best practice to have all presentations loaded onto a master meeting deck, preventing you from switching out presenters back and forth, which can lead to technical issues, and forces your session owners to complete their presentation materials on time.
If you are looking for more guidance and in-depth best practices on managing customer advisory boards, join our upcoming CAB Training online. During the highly interactive training, you’ll be able to get all your CAB questions answered about CAB design, implementation, and ongoing management.
Ignite Advisory Group is the leading global authority on Customer Advisory 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 how your company can benefit from Ignite’s CAB methodology and process, contact us today.