CAB Dynamics: Host Value

10 Sep, 2021 By Jeremy

Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) are the single most effective long-term platform to guide, protect, and grow a B2B tech business. To understand why, it’s important to have a clear picture of what a successful CAB looks like and what kind of ROI you can expect.

In this blog we’re going to explore:

What is a CAB?

A Customer Advisory Board is a privileged forum consisting of your executives and hand-selected leaders from your most important customers which meets to discuss strategy and innovation.

A successful CAB provides your executive leaders the most significant source of strategic and directional guidance other than your Board of Directors. Connections with the individuals responsible for the majority of your revenues provide a “reality check” that is simply unmatched in the business world. And because they continue to be your customers, they wish you well, and want you to succeed.

CABs allow you a chance to understand at the highest level what your customers need, what you can do to serve them and how they feel about you. This is a chance to collaborate on the future of your company and your most critical relationships.

Your leaders are working to evolve and extend their personal and professional connections, so the conversation needs to stay senior, strategic and small – between 8 and 20 participants is a good rule of thumb.

Why run a CAB?

Your customer cares about your success in a way that no analyst can, as they have to live with the consequences of a well-intentioned strategic mis-step. With this perspective, they can provide valuable inputs and feedback on your strategies before you enact them. Some companies even use their CABs to critique acquisition decisions prior to executing them.

Deep collaboration on thought leadership also gives you and your customers a chance to improve each other’s strategies. Making sure your corporate strategy is aligned with your customers’ not only helps them succeed, but also allows you to increase penetration within their accounts.

Beyond strategy alignment, personal connections are much stronger than connections with companies. Strong leader relationships help you connect and care more about customer successes, often extending your business partnership beyond what is possible in a delivery setting. You’ll see the impact of this at renewal time.

Finally, CAB members advocating to analysts, prospects, and the press that you understand, delight, and inspire them is an unbeatable source of brand enhancement. Enthusiastic C-level customer advocates turbo-charge your Analyst and Advisor Relations efforts, as well as providing unbeatable sales positioning.

What is the ROI from a CAB?

Given the above, it’s not surprising to learn that those soft CAB benefits translate into excellent ROI numbers. Companies who host CABs typically report:

  • 24% Increase in annual sales
  • 18% Improvement in business productivity
  • 44% Increase in deal growth rate

At the individual account level, Council Vision observes:

  • ~ 30% Decreased account attrition
  • ~ 30% Overall customer satisfaction
  • ~ 270% Increased executive references
  • ~ 300% Account growth

Several of the most successful organizations in the world run Customer Advisory Boards, as they deliver unmatched strategy, relationship, and financial benefits. Companies looking to improve their customer partnerships and value while increasing the performance of existing accounts should seriously consider a CAB program.