When it comes to preparing a great agenda for a customer advisory board (CAB), it can be challenging to pick the right questions to ask. What’s your “big question”?

Don’t waste precious agenda time giving product updates. And, avoid discussions about product features. There are better ways of getting detailed product feedback (i.e. online surveys, product focus groups, account reviews). You want this group to help you tune your company’s strategic direction.

CAB attendees expect a strategic conversation, not a tactical update. So before you start drafting an agenda, give careful thought to your “big question”. What is it you really want to learn from these customers? What customer input will help you plan or validate your roadmap direction, go-to-market strategy, or growth plans?

Here are a few examples of “big questions” used by some companies. Perhaps some of these will help you discover and confirm your own set of questions:

  • Relevance: For us (the CAB host company) to continue to be a leader in our industry AND to be relevant 5 years from now, what do you (CAB customers) think we need to do?
  • Trends & drivers: What trends and drivers are important to your (the CAB customers’) businesses today? Do you see these changing in the next 3-5 years? If so, why?
  • Brand image: As we expand our business into new markets (x and y), how does our brand image need to change (if at all)? What elements, messages, proof points work, and which ones don’t?
  • Technology: What technology-inspired benefits and capabilities do you suggest we prioritize? What investments should we make? What partnerships should we pursue?
  • Operations: How can we improve our ability to collaborate with you? How effective is our working/account management/sales relationship(s) with you? What’s working? What’s not?
  • Competition: (If the competitive landscape is changing, ask) 3-5 years from now, who do you think poses the biggest competitive threat to us? Why?
  • Customer satisfaction: If we could do one thing to dramatically help you improve/accelerate/extend the value you (the customer) provide to your customers, what would you like us to do?

Again, these are broad, generic examples. Your specific questions need to be tailored to your industry and your circumstances. If you can decide upon your “big questions”, building the most effective agenda will be easy.

CAB reference books written for B2B CAB managers.

What to read next: The perfect Customer Advisory Board agenda

For more information on building and executing the most best CAB agendas, please see The Flipchart Guide to Customer Advisory Boards, Volume 1: Is your company ready? and Volume 2: How to execute a world-class CAB meeting.

Mike Gospe, professional CAB facilitator

Mike Gospe, professional CAB facilitator

With a specialty in CABs, Mike Gospe is a professional facilitator with more than 15 years of CAB experience. He’s helped some of today’s most innovative companies deliver more than 100 world-class CAB meetings. He leads KickStart Alliance‘s CAB practice. Contact Mike