Power of Client Advisory Boards_Farland_Group


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Client Advisory Boards are powerful forums for B2B companies to bring together key clients and stakeholders to advise on strategy, product direction and innovation concepts. Learn how to get value from listening to and collaborating with your executive clients

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  • As a context for talking about CABs today, We believe that customer insights and knowledge are the catalyst for market growth, new product and service innovation, and internal change required to enable a customer focused organizationThe core of the approach –active listening – helps to uncover what drives customers’ behavior, what earns their loyalty and what sparks innovationAnd most importantly it helps to drive client conversations and clientrelationships towards reciprocal valueAs an example, a critical part of our process for creatingAdvisory Board meetings is to systematically talk with board members in advance of the meetings, to learn more about their priorities, what they want, and where they are looking to contributeBy the time we get to the meeting, we have co-created an agenda of interest to you and to your clients, and have created a real interest in participating We push our clients on one key thing to remember: it is not about telling and selling- it is about listening and sharing
  • Creating and managing successful customer councils at any level is a daunting task. Six challenges in particular represent important stumbling blocks for companies and council leaders:Aligning the executive team: the first step to success is to make sure the executive team within the sponsoring company is aligned and focused on a shared set of objectives. The clients won’t connect if they don’t sense alignment and attention from all of youGetting the right members: Without a senior-level peer group of customer leaders committed to providing strategic counsel, it’s awfully difficult to manage a successful council. Yet recruiting and keeping such a group is no easy task. Have you developed an effective plan and program to recruit and keep the right members?Providing enough value: Once you have the right members, you need to make sure you’re taking maximum advantage of their precious time and attention. How are you organizing your program to make sure you get the most from the limited conversation time you have available?It’s all well and good to ask for strategic counsel from your members. But is that enough to keep them engaged? What are you doing to make sure that they receive as much tangible value from their participation as you receive? It is all about reciprocal valueCapturing strategic insight: You’ve had a great event with your members, but have you captured the real insight that bubbled up from the conversation? How are you organized to make sure you can separate the truly important from the merely interesting and useful?Turn insight into action: Extending the value of the council from the direct participants to the broader organization requires substantial time, creative energy, and discipline. Do you have an effective process in place to leverage what you accomplished with council members across the organization?Measuring council impact: Many of the best intentioned companies run councils because it seems like the right thing to do – which it probably is. But how can you be sure you’re getting a real return on the time and resources invested? Do you have appropriate metrics and an effective measurement system in place?
  • Power of Client Advisory Boards_Farland_Group

    1. 1. The Power of Client Advisory Boards: Listening and Engaging April 2013
    2. 2. Agenda 2 About Client Advisory Boards Key Elements for a Successful Board When an Advisory Board can Help Case: Launching a Client Advisory Board
    3. 3. 3 Customer Company Listening •Market opportunity •Product innovation •Internal change •Customer loyalty and retention Customer-focused approach •Satisfaction •Tailored offerings •New ideas and insights •Improved experience Impact and Value through Listening Value
    4. 4. What is a Client Advisory Board? • Client Advisory Boards are powerful forums that bring together key clients and stakeholders multiple times a year in to advise on strategy, product direction and innovation concepts. • Done well, customers become extremely vested in the Boards and the evolution of the business they are advising. This results in: o Deeper customer relationships o New product and service line concepts o Strategy validation o Organizational momentum 4 Visit here for more background on Client Advisory Boards
    5. 5. What a Client Advisory Board is…..and is Not 5 A Client Advisory Board is A Client Advisory Board is NOT – A lead generation tool – An event – A focus group – A research program – Focused on product input and testing – Targeted to product users, execution teams – A listening tool – An ongoing dialog – Focused on business strategy, growth, transformat ion – Targeted to top tier strategic executive clients
    6. 6. Benefits and Impact Properly executed, Advisory Boards create mutual value for the clients and the company-host: 6 For clients • Peer connections, vetted learning environment • New ideas, access to early thinking • Opportunity to influence key partners/vendors • More targeted, useful and valuable client experience For the company • Deeper more aligned client relationships • Client loyalty and retention • Revenue growth, increased share of wallet • Faster cycles for product and service development • Market insights and new ideas More on measuring impact
    7. 7. Ensuring Advisory Board Success: Key Challenges Along the Way 7 Align the executive team Get the right members Provide enough value Capture strategic insight Turn insight into action Measure Council impact For more tips about success, see Customer Advisory Board Top 5 Tricks
    8. 8. When an Advisory Board can Help Some instances when creating a Board can bring great benefits: • Your strategy is changing and you need customers to buy differently from you • You are launching new products or services and you need traction • You have lost a number of large or strategic client accounts and you need to regroup and chart a new course • You’ve acquired or merged with another company and you need to ensure you retain and grow your clients under the new regime • You have a brand new executive team that wants to change the status quo 8 For more detail on these ideas, see Five Signs it is a Good Time for a Client Advisory Board
    9. 9. Case: Client Advisory Board Launch 9
    10. 10. About the Client • A $50-100M digital marketing agency operating globally • Experiencing rapid growth • Expanding from its SEO roots to a full-service digital performance agency • A strong set of tenured clients from exemplary brands 10
    11. 11. The Challenge and the Opportunity The challenge to drive growth and change • The shift to a full-service digital performance agency is critical for longer term competitive advantage • But requires long-time customers to view them differently • And for new customers to understand their value proposition The opportunity to differentiate • The agency environment is evolving rapidly, with lots of consolidation and upheaval • Few agencies embrace customer-centric programs like CABs 11
    12. 12. Launching the Customer Advisory Board 12 Align/Recruit Agenda Co- Creation First Meeting Follow Up and Build Dec-March • Internal alignment • Member recruitment Feb-April • Member input and testing • Internal content creation May 2012 May to present • Member follow up • Ongoing co-creation • Internal action on strategy develop • Two additional mtgs • Oct webinar • Feb 2013 mtg
    13. 13. Clients Affirm the Approach • “I really do appreciate that this agency is doing this and being invited to participate. I am not sure if many/any of our other agencies are opening up to their clients in this kind of forum and I think it speaks to their client focus.” • “My primary goal is to help the agency grow. I was one of the catalysts for this idea in that I encouraged them to create a client advisory council. I also value being able to network and learn from peers, and get new ideas to help drive change in my own organization.” • ”This is an important forum to learn about the agency’s strategy. I am willing to bet that I don’t have the full view of the agency’s services and I would like to understand all about what they can do.” 13
    14. 14. Value and Impact to Date • Significant impact on strategy evolution and validation of strategic direction • Shift in clients’ perception of the services offered beyond the agency’s traditional niche strength • Strengthening of key relationships 14 Challenges Looking Forward • Continuing to drive internal change and act on the advice • Evolving the Board topics to ensure “give-back” that is valuable across all of the members and their situations • Balancing a member recruiting pipeline with members’ interest in a small group
    15. 15. Discoveries/Lessons Learned • Get executive buy-in and alignment before you start • Chemistry is critical • Invest in agenda co-creation and collaboration • Time to market for new offerings can be greatly reduced • Stay true to the “listen and learn” focus – no sales! • Follow through on actions and next steps – and always report back 15
    16. 16. www.farlandgroup.com 16