How to build a customer advisory board
Regardless of where you are in your product journey, it is impreative that you constitute a customer advisory board who can share perspectives into their business challenges so that you can gain insights on how to shape our road map, develop new features, formulate your vision and give you constant feedback on your product. So, how many customers should to include in a customer advisory board? Should you target higher level stakeholder or individual users? Should you focus on features or business outcomes? Should these be two individualized calls with different goals?
Firstly, there is no definite rule of thumb with regards to number of custumers in your advisory board. You need to eyeball the right number. You need enough so that the customers feel involved, but not too many that they don’t feel like they have a voice. It isn’t a presentation, it’s all about participation. Start small, then go up if needed. Diversity is good. Often, customer at high level positions like to talk about strategy and outcomes. Individuals generally want features. It would also be good if you put a predetermined time limit on the board, somewhere between 3-6 months and then change up the participants. It gives an understanding of time commitment and allows you to get new perspectives.
You should also focus on outcome vs features. And keep in mind that with too many participants in the room (or Video call), you might loose a lot of qualitative data, and therefore it is important that you give them a voice. Another idea that may work well you you is to try and set up a direct channel (maybe e-mail or Slack channel) where they can voice new problems so that you can validate them later with the larger groups and different data sources.
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