Set Your Customer Advisory Council Up for Success: Recruit Your Internal Team First

When launching a Customer Advisory Council significant thought and attention goes into recruiting members – what criteria to use, whom to invite, and ensuring the mix is on target. However, the same care is not always taken when putting together the internal team needed to launch and run the Council successfully. There are a number of critical roles that must be filled consistently if you are going to leverage the Council to drive change and impact in your company over time. Even if you are partnering with an outside firm to develop your strategy and then manage and facilitate the Council, you still need to ensure you have the right internal team in place to get the most out of that collaboration, and out of the Council’s advice and counsel.

The internal team should include these core roles and responsibilities, working hand in glove, to get the Council launched and staying the course. These roles are not by any means full-time – often these activities are included as part of broader marketing or client experience responsibilities, and frequently team members may wear a number of these hats. While the amount of time spent on these tasks will fluctuate based on the Council meeting cycle, it is imperative that someone is on point for each of these aspects so that nothing falls through the cracks.

  • Executive Leader. The Executive Leader – typically the most senior executive leader in the company involved in the Council – chairs the Council meetings and provides commitment, leadership, and direction to the team on strategic issues and the agenda focus. They provide the vision and consistent mandate that is required to demonstrate the importance of the Council for the company and to the other internal senior leaders and ensure the company follows up on the advice received.
  • Program Champion. The Program Champion provides the strong support, content knowledge, and tactical leadership required to drive the execution of an Advisory Council program. The Champion must have enough seniority and influence to command the respect of the senior executive team and make things happen on a day-to-day basis within the organization, starting with recruiting, and agenda development, through to meeting execution and planning the next steps. The more complex the organization is, the more important this role is in ensuring the right participation and buy-in to advance the program and pull through Council guidance.
  • Program Manager. The Program Manager manages all of the required internal coordination and communication to support the Council meetings and follow-through on a daily basis. The importance of this role is often underestimated. It requires strong organizational knowledge and internal relationships across the company in addition to project and program management skills to ensure the high-quality experience Advisory Council members expect. Content knowledge relevant to the Council’s agenda is also helpful in this role.
  • Administrative Coordinator. The executive nature of the Council membership and the high-level focus of the meetings requires an Administrative Coordinator. This individual is key to scheduling meetings with internal executives as well as the program team, delivering communications to the Council members, tracking and managing responses and requirements, and briefing the team on status and progress. This integral role is central to keeping things moving, don’t overlook the importance of this role!
  • Event Logistics Coordinator. The final area to consider is the role of the Event Logistics Coordinator. Meetings with executive clients require an individual with high attention to detail around meeting logistics such as securing meeting facilities, accommodations, food and beverage, entertainment, and transportation. While Council meetings are not events, these elements will help set the tone of the discussion and will convey the importance of the Council to executive clients.

Again, these are the core roles and responsibilities, but all Customer Advisory Councils are different. You may find your program needs additional Administrative Coordinators or the Program Champion and the Program Manager may be one and the same person. Over the course of our work across many different Councils and Boards we have found that if you map the team to these core responsibilities and make sure all of the tasks are covered, the program will have a much higher chance of success.

Related Stories

Always Recruiting: The Secret to a Successful Advisory Board

Posted by in Customer Advisory Boards

If there is one thing we have learned about Client Advisory Board membership recruiting it is that you are never done.  While the initial blast of recruiting needed to get your Board off to the right start  

Continue Reading »

It’s Not Just You: Speed of Change is Accelerating

Posted by in Misc

I read an interesting piece in the Fortune CEO Daily newsletter on whether the pace of change is truly increasing. Fortune highlighted findings from Accenture’s Pulse of Change: 2024 Index, which identifies and ranks six factors of  

Continue Reading »

The Critical Art of Balancing Content for Customer Advisory Councils

Posted by in Customer Advisory Boards

In today’s customer-driven business landscape, organizations increasingly turn to Customer Advisory Councils (CACs) to gain valuable first-hand insights, validate strategies, and foster meaningful relationships with their clients. As we have seen in our work at Farland Group, the  

Continue Reading »

Closing the Loop: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Posted by in Customer Advisory Boards

Members at a recent Client Advisory Council meeting were vocal about the importance of coming back on the advice offered during the meeting and sharing what actions have been taken. When it comes to follow-up after the Advisory  

Continue Reading »


Customer Advisory Boards

Customer Advisory Boards are powerful engines of engagement, insight, and business transformation. Make the most of yours.

Meeting Facilitation: Virtual and In-Person Boards » Taking Your Customer Advisory Board Meetings Virtual »

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

Building C-level programs that are meaningful and bring value to you as well as to your c-suite customers is challenging. Veiled sales pitches won’t win the day with this audience. Deliver what executives want: ideas, inspiration, innovation, influence.

Building a C-Suite Client Experience Strategy » Do you Know What Your Customers Value? »

Learn More »