Ignite Advisory Group Summarizes Top 10 Reasons Customer Advisory Board Programs Fail

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Video Series Highlights Information Gathered Through Training Customer Advisory Board Managers, Talking to Practitioners and Consulting with Clients

Ignite Advisory Group, the leading consultancy in the world focused exclusively on helping companies manage and optimize their customer and partner advisory board programs, today announced its findings of the top 10 reasons such advisory programs fail. The list comes from Ignite’s extensive experience training customer advisory board (CAB) and customer advisory council (CAC) managers, talking to such advisory board practitioners who seek Ignite’s guidance to improve their struggling advisory initiatives, and through its more than 200 customer advisory board consulting engagements over the last seven years with companies looking to improve and optimize their advisory programs.

“Through our ongoing interactions with CAB managers we work with, talk to or train, there are several recurring stumbling blocks that challenge all types of advisory initiatives,” said Rob Jensen, Vice President of Marketing at Ignite Advisory Group. “Understanding that these hazards are common to those struggling with their advisory programs can help CAB managers realize that they’re not alone. Avoiding these pitfalls will hopefully get them on the right path to making the necessary changes to improve their overall advisory programs.”

Ignite’s summary of the Top 10 Reason’s Customer Advisory Councils Fail:

1.    It's Too Much Work: Sometimes, C-level executives have unrealistic expectations about the time involved to prepare for, execute and manage a customer advisory board.

2.    Short-Term Thinking: Customer advisory boards are a long-term engagement and initiative for host companies. Having a short-term perspective with customer advisory boards will damage the quality and impact of the program.

3.    Design Confusion: Often, companies create a customer advisory board without thinking through the overall design of the board, including the theme, purpose and reason for the advisory board. CAB managers need to identify and determine the type of advisory program they are creating: customer satisfaction, product roadmap or strategic.

4.    No Peer Exchange: One of the top benefits that customer advisory board members report out of their participation is networking and peer exchange. A key building block of managing a CAB program is to develop and foster peer exchange among the board members.

5.    Unrealistic Timing and Expectations: The ideal planning time to implement a successful customer advisory board is six to eight months, leading up to the inaugural face-to-face meeting. Following the first meeting, ongoing engagement and planning for the next meeting takes place year-round.

6.    Lack of Creativity and Vision: The purpose and design of a CAB should reflect the joint vision and challenge that CAB managers want to solve with their customers. If the vision is relevant and exciting to the CAB members, they will be engaged and involved.

7.    No Executive Ownership: CAB Managers need to establish executive commitment by making sure that their advisory board objectives are aligned with corporate objectives and strategy, such as entry into new or adjacent markets, new product launches, M&A activity, or new pricing and procurement models.

8.    No Member Management Policies: CAB Managers need to establish and follow a charter, implement member recruiting criteria, and review and rank members annually.

9.    Poor Meeting Execution and Follow Up: A critical CAB component is the review process and meeting preparation leading up to the face-to-face meeting. Skillful meeting facilitation is necessary to make sure advisory board members are engaged, objectives are met, and the agenda timing is managed. Many companies fail to capture top business insights and action items in a comprehensive meeting summary.

10.    Lack of Strong Metrics: Justifying an advisory board to executives of a sponsoring company requires metrics and results. CAB managers need to think through their program metrics in advance, put them in writing, and report on their progress in achieving them.

Ignite has produced a video series detailing each one of the top 10 topics above. The videos can help CAB managers understand what must be done to launch or improve their CAB programs. They can be accessed at http://www.igniteag.com/Resources.aspx

To further help CAB managers, Ignite will host a comprehensive CAB Manager Training program June 16-17 in San Jose at the Silicon Valley Capital Club. Seating is limited. Registration information can be found at http://igniteag.com/CustomerAdvisoryBoard/ManagerTraining.aspx

About Ignite Advisory Group
Ignite Advisory Group is the world’s leading consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies engage with executives at key accounts through high-impact customer and partner advisory board programs. The firm’s comprehensive solutions include a full range of customer and partner advisory board services, from complete outsourced management, assessment and benchmarking, on-site and hosted training to program mentorship. Ignite counts Dell, Cisco, Xerox, Qualcomm, Adobe, Iron Mountain, Equifax, Oracle, Rackspace, Arbor Networks, Brocade Networks, EMC and many others as customers. For more information, visit http://www.igniteag.com or call 888-667-7027.

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Media Contact:
Rob Jensen
VP, Marketing
Ignite Advisory Group
858-254-9686
rob(dot)jensen(at)IgniteAG(dot)com

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Ignite Advisory Group
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