This is an exciting time – you’re off and running with 2011 customer engagement programs. For those of you managing a Customer Advisory Board (CAB), it will be important to schedule time with your CAB Executive Sponsor to discuss program planning for the year.
Q: What is the most important element of that meeting time?
A: Being prepared and organized with the right questions
Q: What is the best way you can prepare?
A: Understand your company’s strategy and integrate it into the CAB;
Ask key questions regarding milestones and expected outcomes
To prepare for planning time with your Executive Sponsor, spend time reviewing your company’s strategy. Ask yourself, “how could our CAB members, our top customers, help us achieve the goals outlined in our strategy? What critical questions could they help answer? What feedback would help guide us down the path we’re pursuing?”
Discuss with your Sponsor the value of aligning the CAB to company strategies and getting market feedback to help drive those strategies. Propose a few sessions that feature member dialog on a specific goal of your strategy - perhaps a growth area your company is pursuing, or a new market you are considering. Getting feedback from your top customer decision makers will help gauge whether this is an area you should pursue or not.
Once you've discussed the value of aligning the CAB to your strategic plan, use the following as a checklist for other areas to address in your initial planning meeting:
- Reconfirm the goals and expectations the Executive Sponsor has for the CAB
- Discuss the process, approach and time needed to recruit members
- Agree on 2-3 meeting date options and share with members for their availability
- Suggest a few agenda topics and discuss options
- Schedule a follow-up meeting with the Executive Sponsor and leadership team to finalize agenda topics
The Program Manager's role requires a great deal of organization among all elements to ensure meeting success and value to both the members and the host organization. If you'd like help on determining whether you're ready for your next meeting, see our brief questionnaire, Are You Ready for Your Next Customer Advisory Board Meeting?