As excited as I get when we start working with a new client on a Customer Advisory Council, Executive Sponsor Program or Executive Summit, I must admit that even more, I love the long-term relationships we have established. And to add to that, I REALLY get pumped when I see the results of a long-term plan successfully play out.
One of my clients has literally done things by the book (and by "book" I mean The B2B Executive Playbook by Sean Geehan). This particular organization has successfully implemented global Customer Advisory Counicls that are second to none and which have resulted in market alignment that has them emerging as an industry leader in an industry undergoing major transformation.
After the foundation of their customer engagement program was solidified via their Councils, they then began a series of Summits, leveraging some of their customer advocates through relationships which were built through the Councils. These customers not only agreed to, but actually volunteered to speak on behalf of our client at industry functions and educational forums. Their circle of influencers has grown significantly as a result of these customer engagement initiatives.
In this day of layoffs, reduced budgets and travel allotments that have all but been eliminated, I find this next comment to be phenomenal. The Summit they are conducting as we speak is SOLD OUT! Industry leaders from all over the United States have gathered in California to hear what our client and their customers have to say, and they actually had to cut off the attendance more than a week prior to the event.
It's often tempting to look at customer engagement initiatives as one-off events rather than a roadmap to long-term success for sustainable growth. But for those companies which take a long-term, strategic approach, and then facilitate the engagement of their senior leaders with the senior leaders of their top customers, the rewards can be exponential with each passing year.