In the course of our work helping companies establish and sustain Advisory Boards, we are often asked the question: “When should we launch our Customer Advisory Board?” Below are some trigger points that may prove to be the right ones for you to launch a Board.
Change in strategy
It can be tempting to go it alone in developing a new strategy for your business; many executive leaders believe they took the company to where it is because of their strategic acumen, and it is their job to steer the future. But it is precisely at this point where your most important clients can be your greatest advisors and allies, providing the kind of ongoing input and recommendations that embed customer needs into your next move before you get too far down the road.
New products / service launch
Loyal customers relish the opportunity to help shape new offerings. They benefit and they want you to succeed. Going beyond the typical user groups to create a strategically focused Board gives you the opportunity to test your go-to-market strategies, messaging, and the elements and outcomes of your new offerings for better traction and results.
This is a vulnerable time for your key clients and uncertainty fuels the fire of discontent. Bring together clients from both companies (acquirer and acquiree) to advise you on the transition, and where you need to focus the new entity to provide value for your existing and new clients alike.
New leadership team
A new executive team can create both opportunity and fear. It is a good thing to want to make an impact and raise the game, but it will be easier and create better results if you bring clients along for the ride. Convene your clients to find out what will make a difference and where to begin. Often your clients have a different view of what needs fixing than executives mired in the intricacies and issues of running and leading a company on a day-to-day basis. It is this view will deliver business value sooner.