Retirements and role changes in the C-suite can wreak havoc on Customer Advisory Board membership, taking it from robust and static to multiple open seats in the blink of an eye. While this might cause panic at first, it is an ideal opportunity to look at the current membership and take stock of the industry, geographic, and diversity gaps that need to be addressed.
Having a strong Customer Advisory Board membership pipeline is always important; sudden member turnover highlights just how imperative it is to have a view to who might be filling those seats at the board table next. Below are a few avenues to consider when looking for new members.
Explore options with the executive team. Provide the senior leaders with a view to the existing gaps and offer clear membership criteria; they very likely have ideas of candidates they feel might be a prime Customer Advisory Board member.
Check in with the account leaders. There may have been ideal candidates who previously could not commit to board participation, who can make the commitment now. Keep track of individuals / companies that you would want on your ideal board and follow up. Client leaders who interact with their customers regularly also have a perspective on potential new members and may help uncover someone that you may not have considered.
Regular research. Regularly read up on who the leaders are in the specific role that the advisory board focuses on. This is a great way to bring forward fresh new ideas for membership candidates.
Additionally, here are a few things to NOT do:
- Do not agree to take on delegates.
- Avoid turning to replacements without considering the broader mix to ensure you have the best quality board.
- Shift the focus to prospects if you haven’t done that before – as that takes a careful touch.
An unexpected and significant departure of advisory board members can feel overwhelming, but by putting together a concrete action plan and consistently following up you will be on your way to a revitalized membership base.