In our work with Customer Advisory Boards and other executive engagement programs, we have seen firsthand the extent to which C-level executives seek and crave connection to real peers, where they can share stories and gain insights in a safe and collegial environment with others at their same level. To learn more about the value executive clients get with this type of connection, and why this matters, see our recent blog post on The Power of the Peer.
What companies sometimes miss when thinking about their executive client engagement programs is that there is just as much value internally in being the one who is able to convene this peer group. While most companies aspire to bring together executive clients to participate and share on a regular basis, very few achieve this goal. They struggle to get a sufficient number of the right level contacts to attend events and participate in Customer Advisory Boards and other programs, and they waste significant resources trying to build the connections without the relationship footing needed to make that happen. If you can effectively overcome these challenges to bring your executive clients together in a compelling and consistent way, you will meet a need they have and reinforce your own strategic value at the same time.
- Elevation of your brand – The ability to convene a compelling group of executive peers elevates your ability in the eyes of your clients to connect with executives around the things that matter to them.
- Differentiation of your role as a strategic provider – In a world where many vendors (and other third parties) fail at this type of activity, the ability to convene executives makes you stand apart.
- Access to unique insights – You’ll learn from the powerful sharing of challenges, ideas and future opportunities that occur in these types of carefully constructed peer environments that go beyond what you hear in day to day client relationships; insights your competitors are not able to reach.
- Extension of your relationship tentacles – The quality of the connections and the unique access to peer conversations helps ensure your continued success working directly with your most senior executive buyers.
The Tools to Create the Environment to Convene
We have shared a number of perspectives on how to engage executives and draw in the C-suite, which help build and cement your role as convener. To boil it down, focus on these core elements:
- Carefully crafted venues that set the stage for peer engagement. Advisory Boards and events can be the ticket if executed with the right principles.
- Compelling content that addresses strategic priorities, future opportunities, peer stories that drive action. For a view on creating content for the C-Suite, this article can help.
- Co-created agendas that incorporate client perspectives and shared objectives.
- Action and follow-up based on the input and exchange.