Resources > Articles

Key Attributes of Strong Customer Advisory Board Program Managers

Post Author
  • Rob Jensen is vice president of marketing for Ignite Advisory Group (www.igniteag.com), a consultancy that helps B2B companies manage their customer and partner advisory board programs. Rob has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and business development leadership positions with leading enterprise software and technology companies. Rob has successfully overseen groups that generate global awareness, increase lead generation and enable sales teams. In addition, he specializes in initiating, managing and facilitating customer and partner advisory board programs in the U.S. and abroad. Contact him at rob.jensen@igniteag.com.

customer advisory board program managers

customer advisory board

 

After a decade of working with Fortune 500 companies and completing more than 200 successful engagements, we at Ignite Advisory Group have worked with some outstanding client or customer advisory board (CAB) program managers. These are the point people tasked with the day-to-day operations of their CAB program, who establish and manage regular status meetings, ensure tasks are completed on time and oversee all meeting planning and logistics.

Along with executive sponsors and steering committees, CAB program managers are crucial members of client advisory program teams and can make or break an advisory program. We’ve seen programs suffer in cases where the assigned CAB program manager was unorganized, distracted, too junior, or had little impact on the rest of the CAB management team.

As such, here are five key traits of strong customer advisory board program managers:

  • They’re organized. Planning for in-person meetings and virtual conference calls entails managing many deliverables, deadlines, and the contributions of myriad busy professionals. A successful CAB program manager is deadline-oriented, proficient in project management and keeping deliverables on track, and proactive in herding the outputs of numerous, often time-starved host company colleagues. This person is also able to look ahead to other company priorities, events, or bottlenecks and work proactively to ensure they don’t derail CAB actions, timelines, and deliverables.
  • They’re strategically focused. Effective CAB managers know what’s going on within their companies, with their companies, and in their industries on a strategic level, and can foresee the topics and issues that will be top-of-mind now and in the months ahead. In doing so, they ensure keeping CAB program discussions on a higher level, and their members engaged and intrigued. As such, CAB program managers should not be new employees, remotely based, or junior marketing or events people—but directors or higher who are regularly exposed to strategic issues and planning within their organization.
  • They hold influence within their CAB management team. Successful CAB managers are not shy about following up with other members of their CAB manager team—including their executive sponsor and steering committee—on outstanding action items or deliverables. While this person understands the roles, workloads, and stressful periods of their colleagues, they are still proactive to ensure planning does not fall behind and meeting materials are of high quality. On the flip side, CAB program managers who are unaware of what their colleagues are doing and too junior or intimidated to request status updates on needed materials typically are ineffective in managing their programs.
  • They’re comfortable interacting with customers. Ideal CAB program managers are confident in interacting with CAB customer members and serving as the main point person for their program questions, needs, or issues. They often serve as the members’ primary contact who sends all communications to CAB members. Finally, this person ensures all CAB member inquiries are addressed promptly and follows up with anyone internally who is supposed to reply to CAB member requests.
  • They’re dedicated to overall program success. Ideal CAB managers are committed to ensuring their CAB program is successful and are confident in reporting progress, status, and any issues to the CAB steering committee and executive sponsor. As such, the success of their program is often made a key element of their job and they are measured upon it delivering on its objectives. In other words, CABs are not merely an experimental, part-time “hobby” in which they are only mildly invested or interested in seeing its success.

Effective, strong, proactive customer advisory board program managers can be the crucial elements of a program’s success or failure. The role should not be taken lightly or assigned to new or junior persons with the plan (or hope) that she learns as she goes along. Instead, successful CAB program managers should have some seasoning to them, significant experience with their business, an understanding of their companies’ value proposition, and the challenges shared among their executive customer members.

Author

  • Rob Jensen is vice president of marketing for Ignite Advisory Group (www.igniteag.com), a consultancy that helps B2B companies manage their customer and partner advisory board programs. Rob has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and business development leadership positions with leading enterprise software and technology companies. Rob has successfully overseen groups that generate global awareness, increase lead generation and enable sales teams. In addition, he specializes in initiating, managing and facilitating customer and partner advisory board programs in the U.S. and abroad. Contact him at rob.jensen@igniteag.com.

Author:

Other Resources in this Series

Most Recent

man looking at screen with data
Article

5 Ways to Turn Your Data Into Actionable Insights

We hear a lot about data these days. Data consists of the facts and statistics collected about people, places, things, business rules and other factors of the business operations. It is also one of an
Category: Data Science
plan, strategy
Article

How to Create a Strategic Product Plan

Most technology companies have a product management department serving as the voice of the customer and helping to understand market needs better but is product management really being used strategically?
Optimizing product management budgets
Article

How to do More With the Same (or fewer) Resources in 2023 with Segmentation and Targeting Updates

Six steps to a data-driven understanding of your best-fit buyer. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing programs by shifting your focus (and budgets) to best-fit personas and ICPs. 
professionals sitting down looking at phone and reports
Article

10 Reasons You Need to Assess the Data Maturity in Your Organization

While most companies want to harness the power of data, the journey to determine where to begin or what are the next steps can be challenging. When an organization is data-driven, they base decisions on
Category: Data Science
Person working on project management software on a tablet
Article

10 Tools for Product Managers 

The right product tools can make it easier to manage your team, but there are hundreds out there—so how do you choose which one is right for you?

OTHER ArticleS

man looking at screen with data
Article

5 Ways to Turn Your Data Into Actionable Insights

We hear a lot about data these days. Data consists of the facts and statistics collected about people, places, things, business rules and other factors of the business operations. It is also one of an
Category: Data Science
plan, strategy
Article

How to Create a Strategic Product Plan

Most technology companies have a product management department serving as the voice of the customer and helping to understand market needs better but is product management really being used strategically?

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest industry best practices.

Sign up to received invites to upcoming webinars, updates on our recent podcast episodes and the latest on industry best practices.

Training on Your Schedule

Fill out the form today and our sales team will help you schedule your private Pragmatic training today.

Subscribe

Subscribe

Training on Your Schedule

Fill out the form today and our sales team will help you schedule your private Pragmatic training today.