Selecting the Right Customers for Advisory Board Membership

Today's blog covers step #4, selecting the right customers for membership when building your advisory board.  With careful planning, preparation and follow-through, you can structure your board membership with the right mix of professional market leaders from your strategic customer base to provide the input and perspectives you need to drive program success. 

Many of our clients struggle to define what the right mix of membership should include.  Jena Shore, Program Manager at Autodesk, shares her success on recruiting for their Executive Council:  "The key to recruiting the right people is clearly defining the level, personality type, and market focus of the candidate.  Our sales team then nominates someone who meets these requirements."

Consider the following when defining board membership:
  • What companies (not individuals) are most strategic to your success?
  • What qualities, skills and/or characteristics would best align to the priority issues the board will be addressing?
Be careful about mixing levels - it frustrates higher levels, is intimidating to lower levels, and discussions will go to the lowest common denominator.  Grouping by discipline is the most common advisory board makeup, for instance, all CIOs.  Cross disciplines (level appropriate) also provide an added dimension and perspective, i.e. CIO, CMO, CFO.

For more tips on recruiting members to your advisory board, I'd like to refer you to a paper I wrote called Three Keys for Recruiting and Membership Success, which can be found on our website under Resource Library.  The last page of the article includes some FAQs you might also find helpful. 

If you would like to share some of your experiences building advisory board membership with the right strategic customer mix, I invite you to post a comment.  I'd love to hear some of your challenges and successes!

Watch for my next blog on Content Design.

- Karen

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