Every time my mom makes her famous Almond Sheet Cake, it wins the crowd over. Everyone loves it (especially me and my dad)…and everyone wants to know, “How can I get this recipe?”
Many people ask how their Customer Advisory Board (CAB) compares to others…or, how do they know if they are maximizing their CAB initiative. So here’s a quick litmus test I came up with for Executives and CAB leaders alike to see if their CABs have the right ingredients to blow people away, like my Moms sheet cake.
- Ongoing vs. Event – many companies treat the CAB like a customer event. We did it – it was a valuable 2 days! The customers had a great time, etc. Ongoing means that issues discussed will be evaluated, explored, and tested, and results reported back. In addition the CAB members will be involved between meetings to assist, validate, test, etc. There are usually email updates, member team calls and even sub-committees which advance specific and important issues.
- Strategic vs. Tactical – what areas of the business do the CAB discussions address? If it’s feature/function, short-term, tactical, Executives rarely stay committed or engaged and begin to question long-term benefits. If it’s viewed as part of the strategic planning process – identifying game changing acquisitions or transforming business models which provide the organization a competitive advantage – then you have something special.
- P&L owner vs. sales or marketing sponsored – in order to achieve world-class, CABs must be sponsored and driven by a P&L leader (CEO, BU head, Geo President). These are the ones whose net is cast wide enough to drive cross-functional change. This makes integration into all go-to-market functions much more realistic.
- Decision Makers vs. Users – this is the final and most important ingredient to a world-class CAB. They must have true decision makers (DMs) actively participating, engaging, and contributing. These in-depth discussions provide rich insight, context to how DMs think, act, evaluate, etc. Let’s face it, how many DMs take time to complete VOC surveys, satisfaction polls, etc.? Without this viewpoint and sounding board, organizations are left to extrapolate from the user viewpoint, plan in a vacuum or simply follow the competition.
These key ingredients are the recipe to a World-Class CAB. For the sprinkle, dashes and timing of these CAB ingredients, read the blogs my colleagues at Geehan Group have put together. As for my mom’s almond sheet cake recipe, send me an email and I’ll send it to you.