Customer Advisory Board Agenda Development: It’s a Balancing Act

The spring meetings have wound down, the heat of summer is in full effect, and now it is time to turn our attention to the fall, with another round of customer advisory board meetings just around the corner. With many of the meetings a mere 10-12 weeks away, what is the secret sauce to creating a compelling, dynamic agenda that addresses the needs of both the host company and the CAB members? Well, I can’t share the secret sauce, but I can offer 3 steps to developing agendas that will help keep those at the table engaged.

  1. Hot buttons. What are the hot topics for the sponsor company? Are these topics ongoing dialogues or a new strategy? Are they new focal points highlighting new products, services or strategies where time is of the essence to get the new information in front of key customers before the competition does? Do these hot buttons align with the imperatives of the CAB customer members? Regular calls with key executives from the sponsor company and CAB members can unearth so much information and help to create a Venn diagram of sorts where there is overlap of the priority areas.
  2. Less is more. It is a fine, fine line between having too few and too many topics on the agenda. Too many, and it is a snorkel session where many things are covered, but none in great depth. Too few and you risk an agenda that is not compelling to everyone. Finding the right balance between the number of sessions and also how long to allot for each session can be a challenge. We find that for a full day agenda or two half days, if you pick a meaty topic or two and add one, potentially two shorter exploratory sessions you’ll strike a chord in terms of the snorkel problem and will keep your board members engaged and even wanting more (handy for future agenda development!).
  3. Mix it up. Nothing is worse than an agenda that features the same type of format session after session. Break up the agenda with facilitated roundtable discussions, member-led cases, and sponsor company presentations complete with numerous use cases. While you’re at it, ensure that your agenda has breaks at the right times to keep that energy level up and make the most of the networking opportunities that CAB meetings provide.

These three points may seem like no-brainers; but they can be often overlooked or underappreciated. By focusing on the agenda formation early in the development cycle, you will have time to consider these tips and more as you create the best agenda yet for your Board.

Related Stories

New Year, Fresh Start

Posted on 01.23.2020 by in Customer Advisory Boards, Misc

The beginning of a new year brings fresh starts, clean slates, and time to examine what works and what doesn’t work in any number of settings, be it your personal life or your work life. In our work on customer  

Continue Reading »

Need Help With Your Security Strategy? Start a Customer Advisory Board

Posted on 01.16.2020 by in Customer Advisory Boards

We hear about many different strategy areas and areas of investment from clients for the customer advisory boards and councils that we help facilitate at Farland Group.

Continue Reading »

What Drives You During the Holidays?

Posted on 12.23.2019 by in Engagement Strategy

As we are full force into the holiday season, I want to ask, what drives you? Whether as a business owner or employee, what is it that makes you get up in the morning, head to work and want to  

Continue Reading »

3 Lessons Learned in 2019 from Customer Advisory Boards

Posted on 12.17.2019 by in Customer Advisory Boards, Featured

My Nanny McFarland, after whom I named Farland Group, used to sit with me and play cards for hours on end. In hindsight, her patience at the age of 90 was inspiring. Even more amazing was  

Continue Reading »


Customer Advisory Boards

An advisory board is a powerful engine of engagement, insight, and business transformation. Make the most of yours.

A Board Success Factor: Business and Industry Expertise » Advisory Boards: How to Extend the Value »

Learn More »

Engagement Strategy

Like any good relationship, customer engagement is a long-term, reciprocal effort. When done well, meaningful engagement leads to better business results, faster.

Engage Your Customers to Help You Stop Pitching » Getting to a Customer Engagement Mindset »

Learn More »

Understanding the C-Suite

Want to improve your standing with your C-suite customers? Deliver what executives want: ideas, inspiration, innovation, influence.

C-Suite Insight: Digital Disruption » Looking to Engage Executives? First, Understand What They Want »

Learn More »