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How To Build Successful Advisory Boards

Digital tools can help you get many inputs. But size is not enough.

Gal Alon
Gal Alon
November 6, 2019

Advisory boards are the new cult: everyone is using them. Call it a CAB (customer advisory board), a PAB (product advisory board), a UAB (user advisory board) or even an EAB (expert advisory board). It all works.

A digital advisory board can let you ask for advice from hundreds of people, on a social platform that analyzes their inputs for you. However, effective boards require a bit more than that. Here are the 4 steps needed to succeed:

1: Set measurable goals

It’s extremely easy to waste everybody’s time. Advisory boards, as any other business activity, need to be measured - either in terms of savings, or in terms of revenues. Each board - with the business unit it needs to support.

Savings occur when an insight coming from boards saves you time or money, by stopping you from going in the wrong direction. Revenues are generated when board members are increasing the volume of their purchases over time.

2: Invite diverse groups

Whether you want insights on your product, your services or your strategy - make sure you reach out to diverse groups, coming from different levels in the organization. Using a digital tool can help you invite hundreds of people, without any constraints.

Interested in product insights? Invite established users, new users and your success managers. Interested in strategic insights? Invite business customers of different sizes, so that you can integrate different approaches.

3: Make it easy

Advisory boards do not have to be a hassle: flights, long calls or boring questions put unnecessary constraints on the whole idea. Your board members are there to help, and they want to know their time was well spent.

Therefore, aside of annual meetings, you can easily establish a digital board, where many customers can address your questions on a social platform you control. As facebook makes users share experiences, digital boards make them share advice.  

4: Ask “how to” questions

There is no easy way to say this, but please plan your questions ahead, make sure it has the words “How” or “Why,” and define the business goal you are consulting about. Boring, tactical or yes/no questions make the entire experience useless.

Based on 1,000 questions asked on our platform, we’ve created a few use cases and questions for successful consultations. You are welcome to have a look, and inform us on other scenarios you found relevant!

5: Update members on impact

Members invest time in your advisory board not only because they want your product to serve them better. They also want to feel meaningful, take part in an exclusive opportunity and have fun meeting other users.

Closing feedback loops is therefore crucial. The ability to respond to update members on their personal impact (you said… we learned… we decided…) is integrated into our digital platform. It shouldn’t be forgotten even in offline events.

5 Tips To Build Successful Advisory BoardsGal Alon
Gal is the CEO of Insights.US