8 Building Blocks of World Class Customer Advisory Boards

Are you responsible for your organization's Customer Advisory Board (CAB) program? If so, you don't want to miss Sean Geehan's session at the Customer Advisory Board.org conference on Thursday, June 7, in San Francisco, CA: 8 Building Blocks of World Class Customer Advisory Boards.

Many companies have tried to launch successful Customer Advisory Board programs but have struggled to realize the potential and value of a World Class Advisory Board.  Sean and his team at the Geehan Group have developed and perfected bullet-proof methodologies to assist project managers and their executive stakeholders in executing World Class Advisory Board programs across multiple industries.

Sean's presentation will cover the key elements for success, from executive involvement, to strategic alignment, to recruiting the right customers, as well as best practices for designing an engaging agenda and providing a great meeting experience, to the right follow-up and communication techniques post-meeting. 

“We never could have imagined the results Geehan helped deliver from day one, which have exponentially increased since.”
Anubhav Saxena, VP & Global Head, Business Marketing, HCL

Sean Geehan is CEO and Founder of Geehan Group, the leader in guiding B2B executives to building sustainable, predictable and profitable growth.  He is also the author of the national best-seller, The B2B Executive Playbook.




Achieve Sustanable, Predictable, Profitable Growth

The Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) is a center of excellence in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State that is dedicated to expanding academic research and teaching in B2B Marketing and Sales, and improving the practice of B2B Marketing and Sales in Industry. ISBM is networked with researchers, educators and practitioners in business-to-business marketing in companies and universities throughout the world.  

Please join the ISBM and National Bestselling Author Sean Geehan for a special webinar event:

Dominating the B2B World: Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth on March 22, 2012 at 1pm EST

In this webinar, Sean Geehan Author of the B2B Executive Playbook will illustrates the three key differences in the B2B world along with what to do about them. B2B companies aren’t like B2C companies. They don’t acquire and retain customers with Super Bowl ads, Twitter accounts, or cute, little green geckos. To achieve sustainable, predictable, and profitable growth, you MUST follow a different playbook.  


Marketing is the Center of the Universe

I recently sat down with a well respected former CMO (now President), and had a great conversation about the important role Marketing plays in a B2B company. He made a very bold statement, “Marketing is the Center of Universe.” Someone might argue that, I am biased because I hold a role in marketing, but I believe this statement to be very true. If you don’t, you should and here’s why:universe

Marketing is the common thread that weaves throughout all other business units in every B2B company. Marketing holds the potential to unleash predictable, profitable growth for your company. When Marketing is utilized to its fullest potential, it can be the driver for customer retention and increased sales, while at the same time creating executive alignment and focused strategic innovation.

How can Marketing do all this? Because Marketing is the “Center of the Universe”! Author Sean Geehan discusses all of the marketing programs and initiatives driven by Marketing to achieve sustainable, predictable, profitable growth in his national best seller, The B2B Executive Playbook. Once you read this book, I would wager  a bet, that you will believe that Marketing is the "Center of the Universe" too!

2012 Planning - A Golden Opportunity

Have you ever experienced a “moment of fame” when everything you need for your business to succeed comes together perfectly?   It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s “golden!” 
What if you were able to take those “moments of fame” and make them a consistent practice within your organization?  Customer Engagement Programs provide the opportunity to do just that.

Recently, my client experienced one of those moments.  After conducting an Advisory Council meeting with the decision makers of his most strategic customers, he gained invaluable insight into the market, learning what his customers need, and what they are looking for from his organization.

As a member of the executive team, he walked into a strategic planning meeting with the CEO and his peers, armed with information no one else had—even better, it was validated by his most strategic customers:

  • Sunset a core product in mid-term development – a savings of $8 dollars in future development, marketing, sales, and service, not to mention resources that can be devoted to high impact products.
  • Eliminate a new solution from the product roadmap – a total savings of $3 dollars, six months in development and valuable resources.
  • Get positioned to make an acquisition – of an innovative services company.

Gaining insight from your top customers provides a tremendous amount of confidence to participate in your organization’s planning process.  Sharing this information among the leadership team was a “moment of fame” for my client.  His CEO responded, “I’m so impressed by your knowledge this early in our planning process.  You are months ahead of your peers.”

When it comes to internal planning make no mistake—you are competing with your peers for resources and dollars to make the best decisions for the organization.  As you prepare for 2012, part of your plan should include gaining market insight at a decision maker level with your most strategic customers. 

In Sean Geehan’s book, The B2B Executive Playbook, he explains in detail how the market can provide insight, and help validate the following four areas (see diagram below):

  • vennYour “Exploit Solutions” – those areas that align to your business model and for which you have a core competency – in other words, what you do well.
  • Where you should “Evolve” – the market is telling you they want something that is in your core competency, but it is not part of your business model today. 
  • What you should “Acquire” – the market is telling you they want something that would fit into your business model, but you don’t have a core competency for it.  This is an opportunity to gain additional insight for potential companies to acquire.
  • Areas to “Evaluate” – this is something that is part of your business model and it is a core competency, but the market is not willing or interested in buying it.  This is an area you should look to eliminate or sunset the solution or product.

Validate Your Plan with Your Most Important Customers

My client learned that the best way to capture the areas outlined above was through his Advisory Council.  The value of a well-managed Advisory Council is that they can help you capture strategy, marketing, sales, service, product, and merger/acquisition information all at the same time.   

At their inaugural Council meeting, members were presented three specific initiatives for feedback.  The first was a legacy product they had for years—a “me too” in the market. The second was a new product they were getting pressure from sales to develop.  And finally, the third was to look at potential acquisition targets that would fit their business model, but for which they did not currently have a core competency.

The result of the feedback is what my client shared with his leadership team outlined in the beginning of this article.  And it saved his company over $10 million … all from listening to his customers.

Make 2012 a great year by seizing your Golden Opportunity.  Engage the decision makers of your most strategic customers to gain valuable market insight to help drive your strategic planning.


HCL's Formula for Success

In October of this year the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) held their 18th Annual Marketing Conference and Marketing Excellence Awards Ceremony. Our CEO, Sean Geehan, spoke at that conference on "How Winning B2B Companies Achieve Profitable Growth."  It was exciting to be part of that conference for two reasons:
  1. The opportunity for Sean to present the principles of his new book, The B2B Executive Playbook
  2. The chance to witness one of our customers receive the ITSMA Diamond Award for Marketing Excellence in the category of Building Client Loyalty and Trust.
That customer is HCL Technologies. Evaluated by a panel of renowned industryGowri Shankar Vembu, Head of Global CACs @ HCL, receiving the ITSMA Diamond Award for Building Client Loyalty & Trust experts, organizations were judged upon innovation, execution, and business results - three critical aspects to marketing success.

HCL won the award based on its Customer Advisory Council (CAC) programs. HCL's global, collaborative initiatives involve over 80 of its Fortune 500 C-level customers and thought leaders who convene on a regular basis to advise HCL on industry trends, changing business priorities, and HCL's strategic direction. HCL applies the advice received from Council members into actionable plans that transform business and technology needs, creating more value for their customers. With their customers' help, HCL has achieved 25% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the last five years, going from revenues of $1.4B to $3.5B. The CAC also serves as an exceptional platform for HCL's customers and their industry peers to exchange ideas and best practices, and to network.

Awards such as this exemplify the value of spending time with your customers to build solid relationships, gaining a better understanding of their business, and becoming a trusted advisor over time. Customer engagement programs like HCL's Advisory Councils are key drivers for account retention, customer loyalty and revenue growth.

A fundamental reason for the success of HCL's Council program is the internal team leading the initiatives. Executive Sponsor Shami Khorana, President, HCL America, leads the team, stays closely involved, communicates to members, and attends all CAC meetings. Samir Bagga, VP and Head of Marketing, and Gowri Shankar Vembu, Associate General Manager and Head of Global CACs, are equally committed to keeping the Councils at a high-quality and strategic level. They work hard to ensure meeting agendas are robust with relevant, engaging topics, while at the same time giving members the opportunity to serve as "advisors" to HCL.

We at Geehan Group are honored to work with a company the caliber of HCL, and look forward to our continued partnership to help them run world-class customer engagement programs and continue to lead their industry with a market driven strategy, bringing company-wide internal team alignment. Congratulations to Shami, Samir, Gowri and all of the HCL team on this much-deserved award!

How Winning B2B Companies Achieve Profitable Growth

B2B companies require a different playbook than their B2C counterparts. Please join Sean Geehan, Author of The B2B Executive Playbook and Anubhav Saxena, HCL Technologies in the upcoming Norcal BMA session November 30, 2011. As a recognized expert in B2B leadership, Sean will discuss executive programs that explore innovative ideasbook to drive business transformation and growth in the B2B environment.

• Increase Marketing’s credibility among Leadership teams
• Align organizations to the market
• Engage companies’ most valuable customers, and generate powerful results through sales and marketing collaboration

Wednesday, November 30th
5:30 - 6:30pm:    Check-In / Networking
6:30 – 7:30pm:    Presentation
7:30 – 8:00pm:    Wrap up/Networking
EMC – Santa Clara
2441 Mission College Boulevard
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Discounted Pricing:

BMA Members:   $10
Non-Members:    $35
$5 extra at the door for walk-ins

For phone reservations, please call 650-631-4BMA (4262)        
 To register please visit:

bma logo


Why B2B Customer Satisfaction Doesn't Create Loyalty

It would be great if customer loyalty professionally was similar to the loyalty we find in our personal life between your dog and your family? 

Boy and his dogWe all know that achieving customer loyalty professionally takes work.   As a matter of fact, there is a big difference between customer satisfaction and loyalty especially in the B2B world.

Join me with Tracy Cole, Vice President of Client Satisfaction, Standard Register at the Engagement Expo in Dallas on November 7th 2011 as we share Why B2B Customer Satisfaction doesn’t create Loyalty?

This presentation is based on findings from Sean Geehan's book,  The B2B Executive Playbook.

According to a most studies including the latest from Business Week, over 60% of defecting customers indicated they are satisfied right before they leave.  Learn why satisfaction doesn’t equal loyalty or retention and what to do about it.  Marketing and Sales must now play a role in driving beyond satisfaction to loyalty and ultimately advocacy.  Our session will explore best practices and lessons learned in developing customer advocacy. 

B2B Attendees will learn:

  • Understand the differences in B2B vs. B2C loyalty and customer satisfaction metrics
  • Understand the three layers of loyalty
  • How loyalty programs can transform a company, making marketing look like a hero
  • Best practices of leading firms to drive loyalty and retention
  • How to engage the internal support necessary to deliver loyalty 

I look forward to seeing you in Dallas on November 7th.


Achieving Customer Advocacy in the B2B World

Achieving Customer Advocacy in the B2B World
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Please join Sean Geehan, Author of The B2B Executive Playbook and Jon Windley, Vice President of Customer Advocacy, Savvis at the upcoming Motivation Show for a candid conversation on the struggle and success of Achieving Customer Advocacy in the B2B World.

Sean will speak about how focus groups, reference and loyalty programs, satisfaction measuring, and forums are usually the programs that interface with customers. Learn from Jon how marketing can use those touch points to map a predictable path that moves from customer satisfaction to loyalty to advocacy including:

  • The measurable ROI difference between satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy
  • Why advocacy will maximize top and bottom line results
  • Where your marketing dollars should be concentrated to drive true loyalty and advocacy with your most important clients

For more details or to register for the Motivation Show, please click on the Motivation Show Icon below:

mot show logo


8 Building Blocks of World Class Customer Advisory Boards

Many companies have tried to launch a successful Customer Advisory Board but have struggled to realize the potential and value of a World Class Advisory Board. Sean Geehan and his team at the Geehan Group have developed and perfected bullet proof methodologies to assist project managers execute World Class Advisory Board meetings across multiple industries. 

Sean will be presenting the 8 Building Blocks of World Class Advisory Boards followed by a round table discussion at the Customer Advisory Board.org conference May 3, 2011. This presentation is especially designed for program managers that currently own a Customer Advisory Board or a chartered with thseane responsible for coordinating a Customer Advisory Board for your Organization.

“We never could have imagined the results Geehan helped deliver from day one, which have exponentially increased since.”
Anubhuv Saxena, Global Head Marketing Strategy, HCL

Sean D. Geehan
Author, The B2B Executive Playbook

Sean Geehan is CEO and Founder of Geehan Group, the leader in guiding B2B executives to building sustainable, predictable, profitable growth.  His book, The B2B Executive Playbook, will be available Summer 2011.


B2B Focus at Loyalty Expo March 20-22, 2011

Many conferences showcase and feature executives from high profile B2C companies like Starbucks, Apple, Victoria Secret, Coke, Disney, Facebook, and Amazon. The reality is that many of these B2C concepts can’t be applied to the B2B world.

And when you hear incredible B2C stories, how often have you known that it just wasn’t applicable in your company? It can also be frustrating and even worse, hard to justify the time and money invested in attending.   

The Loyalty Expo this year has a dedicated B2B track focused completely on B2B companies. The sessions won’t tell you how to develop customer intimacy like Apple, manage your rewards and social media programs like Coca-Cola, drive loyalty like Starbucks, or treat your customers like Disney. These companies operate in the consumer “B2C” world of retailers and consumer package goods organizations, and we recognize this is not your B2B world.  It’s not even close.

In the Loyalty Expo B2B track you’ll hear from leading B2B firms in the world, those who have achieved remarkable customer retention and loyalty and who have designed and built both world class Voice of the Customer and customer relationship programs. And while the names may not be as recognizable as Coke and Starbucks, their organizational successes are equally impressive.

Here are the five B2B sessions which were designed specifically for you. Hope to see you there!

Customer Relationships: The Road to Becoming a Trusted Partner
Speakers: Sean Geehan, Author, B2B Executive Playbook | Tom Webster, GM US Operations, iTrade Networks

Maximizing Channel and Supplier Relationships
Speakers: Greg Greve, VP Procurement and Customer Service, Standard Register | Scott Musson, Sr. Director Global Alliances, VMware

Social Media’s Fit in Your B2B Marketing and Loyalty Programs
Speakers: Sami Hero, VP Global Open Web, LexisNexis | Julie Schwartz, SVP, ITSMA

Technology 411
Speakers: Marcus Starke, US CMO, SAP | Samir Bagga, VP Marketing, HCL

Why Satisfaction Isn’t Enough
Speakers: Jon Windley, VP of Client Loyalty, Savvis | George Scotti, US Marketing Director, Springer)

To Register go to http://www.loyaltyexpo.com/

Friends of Geehan Group 20% discount code gg20.