Your business is growing. You face different challenges every day. New technology, new business initiatives, and new customer expectations bring forth new questions to consider. Sometimes these questions can become too complex to be handled by company leadership.
This is when it pays to go outside your circle to leverage people who have walked this path already. Who better to offer insight and advice than business professionals who have been in your shoes?
What is an Advisory Board?
Creating an advisory board can be a great way to bring diverse individuals together, each having unique knowledge and skills that complement your organization’s existing core competencies.
Although an advisory board doesn’t have authority to govern your organization, they can help provide feedback and guidance decision making on key initiatives. Integrators form advisory boards for many reasons:
- To leverage the knowledge of others
- To tap into skills outside their core competency
- To educate their leadership team
- To validate their business plan
- To assist in managing talent
- To help with succession planning
- To grow revenue
To get the type of experience and expertise you’re looking for, advisory board members can be made up of retired CEOs, board members, major contributors, clients, and industry experts. Member types often depend on the type of board being created. Two common board types are discussed below.
Customer Advisory Board
This type of board’s first priority is to improve customer satisfaction and customer experiences. They can offer provide feedback on products, solutions, and services, as well as go-to-market strategies.
Customer satisfaction board members typically include a handful of strategic customers who work closely with your organization and are willing to provide open, honest feedback.
This type of board is broader in its focus: To steer your business in a beneficial direction. The members that make up a strategic board have senior-level experience and a vast array of industry knowledge. As a result, they can focus on critical business issues and industry opportunities that your organization can help its customers address.
If your company faces another type of challenge – about employee recruitment and retention, for example – there’s no reason why you can’t create an advisory board focused solely on that subject.
After implementing a customer advisory board, one integrator tracked company progress and impact – and here’s what they uncovered:
- 22% increase in revenue spend per client on the board
- $2.5 million increase in revenue the first year
- 92% close ratio (up from 74%)
- 15-point increase in net promoter score (client satisfaction levels)
- 28% decrease in days to market with new offerings
- 30% increase in referrals, leading to $300,000 in revenue
In addition, the company credits its advisory board with the creation of several new programs and offerings to meet new customer demands, including:
- Managed services offerings
- A CSO- and CIO-for-hire program
- A CIO-focused magazine distributed to customers
To learn more about the power of creating your own advisory board, or hear more about what this integration firm learned while working with its own advisory board, login to watch the archived webinar, Building Boards to Accelerate Success, presented by NSCA Member Advisory Councilmember Paul Cronin of Cronin Corp.
Cronin walks you through how to make sure your advisory board is successful, as well as the standards to follow when creating an advisory board. He also provides sample agendas and budget estimates, and tells you how to get a free copy of a charter document that will help you get started with building your own advisory board.