Today businesses are making a lot of effort to improve customer engagement. Indeed, optimizing communications with topmost clients and maximizing ROI from customer programs seem to be a universal aspiration for businesses. According to the stats, customer advisory boards (CABs) are the most compelling and impactful way to engage with chief customer executives.
Customer advisory boards (also known as customer advisory councils) are customer forums created to analyze industry trends, discuss mutual challenges or opportunities, and allow free insights and guidance. For business people, these councils are ideal for verifying corporate strategies, accumulating data on product development, and expanding relationships with key customers.
CABs usually consist of a couple of meetings and conferences. Still, the most strong ones also leverage a digital community to improve the experience and keep the discussion going year-round.
In this blog, we will learn about the benefits of the customer advisory board.
- A unique insight into your marketing approach
Your consumers are the most useful (and surprisingly most often overlooked) resource to provide input on your company’s overall management and marketing strategies. Customers should be given an opportunity to advise you on the products and services as and when they desire, what they would get from them, and how they want them addressed.
You just need to fulfil their needs. No one is more qualified than your customer to counsel you on how to target the best approach and serve your client base.
Your council can give valuable guidance regarding matters such as:
- In which market you should proceed
- How to take the maximum advantage of marketing trends
- How customers concerns to be taken care of
- Which companies to get associated with
- How to improve on weak operations
- How to put your company for optimal advantage
- Feedback for your product roadmap
A customer advisory board is ideal for giving feedback and coveted direction for the host company’s offerings. An advisory council can allow an insider’s glimpse of what your targeted buyer expects in your products and services. A board also works as an excellent platform for securing beta testers of your new offerings, supporting you to advance your solutions, and implementing critical validation before you go to market.
- Improved sales revenue and customer retention
The usual and unspoken (yet highly desired) benefit of a customer advisory board is the positive influence you will notice on incremental sales revenue. Your committee members’ organization may likely to increase their overall spending with your company over time. It is mainly due to the fact that they are privy to your strategy of growth, are early testers of your solutions, and feel more dedicated to you and your obligations.
Statistics show that B2B companies that have practical and robust customer advisory boards enjoy a 9% surge in new business among consulting members starting after one year of advisory programs as compared to non-advisory council customers.
- Assured customer support and brand supporters
Another advantage of governing an advisory council is that you are developing a close-knit group of company advisors and brand supporters. By bringing consumers into your company’s “internal circle”, you are converting them into even bigger followers of your company. It continually happens with council members as they take the responsibility of supporting you by guiding your ways. Their passion and enthusiasm tend to filter to their immediate team and sometimes beyond. A result is a group of extremely loyal customers with a vested interest in your achievement—and not leaving for your competition.
Your members may be also likely to refer other prospects to you as they discuss you with peers at gatherings, functions, and throughout their day-to-day operations and work as advocates for your referral program.
- Validation for marketing operations and messaging
Another less-recognized advantage of customer advisory boards is the chance to get feedback on how to do marketing for their own business. You will get the deep insight needed to learn how to place (or re-position) your company against the competition. Your committee will guide you as to what makes your business different and what qualities you should highlight.
They will also guide you regarding the most useful social media platform for targeting the desired audience and marketing automation
Members can also work as excellent client recommendations for testimonials and case studies.
Moreover, they may also be willing to promote and publish joint articles or white papers with you. It grants industry validation and reliability to your advisory board program and your organization. Encouraging member-generated content also serves as a means of supporting his/her own company and career.
- Be Involved in Thoughtful Leadership
Host company’s executive collaborations and solutions revealed by their customer advisory board programs turned into innovative, thoughtful leadership. They report these conclusions through white papers, case studies, or articles, which can be utilized for marketing and publicity purposes by all parties. Such items not only exhibit the positive outcome of the leadership but, more importantly, reflect a positive light on the participating officials, reinforcing their image and reputations in their industries.
- Network for Professional Growth
Customer advisory boards allow executives to cooperate with their peers to benefit not only their own companies but also the network of potential individuals and professional growth opportunities. It’s not surprising to see outspoken or excellent CAB members enter host companies or other member organizations. The communications with CAB members over the years show that members firmly move through the ranks in their own organizations or go on to lead organizations for more substantial companies.
A customer or partner advisory board is strong only when all participants bring value. And while advisory boards can hone and stimulate a host company’s locus and go-to-market plans, to provide the benefit to the other participating members as well.
Assembling a peer group of customer executives as strategic advisors that also influence the industry in which they work is the commitment and potential of customer advisory boards. As a participating executive, that is a promise you can bring back to your own company.
- Influence Vendor’s Product or Solutions Roadmap
By engaging on a company advisory board, executives gain first-hand insight into the company’s product and solutions roadmap and planned improvements. As such, they are provided with the rare capability to learn about forthcoming products ahead of the market. They have the chance to provide feedback directly to the product management leadership and describe desired improvements and advancement of additional capabilities that would immediately help their own companies. Such developments, if implemented, can lead to numerous advantages and efficiency to executives in their own operations.
- Gain Insight Into Vendor’s Strategic Initiatives
In addition to the commodity roadmap, advisory board members can gain important, forward-looking perception into their vendor’s strategic corporate initiatives, and give a voice in these plans. Such actions can include “big bets” on technology advancement administration or investment, strategic partnerships, or even incorporation and acquisition of targets.
Such understanding allows participating executives to follow their own technology development decisions to what is happening in the marketplace and analyze the best vendors and service providers to meet their evolving needs.
- Learn Best Practices From Peers
Advisory board meetings should be driven by mutual challenges faced by member executives. All participants can share and study from the (often innovative) ways used to solve related issues. As other members usually have faced related challenges, learning from and benchmarking against other CAB members is a fundamental benefit of participation. These co-operations result in actionable insights executives can take and execute immediately upon returning to their own organizations.
- Test Drive New Products
Often, businesses pass and select beta users from their customer advisory board membership. Engaging executives get to examine the newest product and provide direct feedback, often for their own benefit. In addition, vendors will sometimes offer monetary incentives to accumulate valued beta feedback, such as a discount on the released product itself.
- Interact with Vendor’s Executive Management
Executives who take part in customer advisory boards always value their skill to interact with their merchants’ executive management team. They see first-hand as these leaders give penetration into their strategies, as well as the reason for their trade-offs and marketing decisions. Since the customer advisory board setting offers further interaction over meals or other activities, managers become better acquainted on an individual level and can find more insight into their backgrounds and experience.
- Improve Customer Service and Support
In addition to output direction input, officials often allow feedback that drives product service and support. Such information typically comes from personal experience — positive or negative — amongst their teams. The customer advisory forum may draw that experience as a real-world case study and craft direct reforms that could significantly benefit plans of multiple CAB members.
- Better insights through CABs
Engaging customers and brand loyalty are all the craze with marketers these days. Customer advisory boards are the best way to deliver these—and much more. A well-run customer advisory board will surely put your company on a better, more targeted, and successful course for years to come. Combine your CAB with the right customer community technology, and you’ll be miles ahead of your opponents.
In this article, we have seen a lot of benefits of a customer advisory board. CAB has the potential to give an edge to the business over competitors. One must try to engage CAB with the business for improving their performance in the business world.
Keep learning and experimenting