A customer advisory board (also known as a customer advisory council) can provide an abundance…
- A CAB is NOT a Board of Directors with fiduciary responsibility
- A CAB is NOT a sales event
- A CAB is NOT a focus group
- A CAB is NOT a customer complaint session
- A CAB is NOT a presentation to customers
It is imperative that the customers around the table feel like valued advisors and fully understand their roles on the board. The last thing they want (and the last thing YOU want) is for them to be “sold to” under false pretenses. The damage done is such a scenario can be long-lasting and very costly.
A CAB is not a time to do “feature/function” product demos or announce special pricing. Remember, CABS are strategic in nature and are meant to test ideas, build and strengthen executive relationships, and discuss the customers’ strategic priorities. As the host, your job is to listen 20% of the time while the customers talk 80% of the time.
Third party facilitation is imperative if you want to avoid the risk of having your CAB meeting go off the rails in an undesired direction. Having an experienced and neutral party leading the discussion will avoid the possibility of the conversations going down a hole from which it is very hard to recover.