Sourcing relevant, informed opinion on products, solutions or services is a perennial challenge for B2B organisations. External opinion is vital, but bespoke research can be expensive. Topics are frequently complex and nuanced, making it harder to use structured questionnaires. To circumvent this problem many businesses are choosing to invest in an Advisory Council.
An Advisory Council, or B2B panel, is a custom forum of experts able to offer their knowledge and insight on subjects close to their professional or academic heart. By creating and maintaining a panel of experts you can easily tap into this knowledge. In the B2B world informed opinion is priceless, but the good news is most experts, if engaged properly, will happily assist an organisation on topics of professional interest to them.
So here are 5 reasons you might consider establishing an advisory council:
Informed tactical and strategic decision making – any strategic decision carries risk. An Executive Board is more confident when making decisions, or approaching business partners or investors, when armed with supporting evidence established via your trusted advisory council.
Develop fresh ideas – there can never be too many ideas in a fast moving competitive world. And the source of ideas does not have to be limited to internal expertise. The external perspective can be extremely useful not only in validating existing products and services, but also in evaluating the future.
Know your customers, and your customers’ customers – quite often in a B2B environment there can be a complex supply chain. Knowing what your customers think is one thing, but knowing what their customers think is another. An advisory council can, in certain circumstances, fill that void.
Take the global view – an advisory council is not restricted to specific geographies allowing views, opinions and advice from a global perspective without extensive cost.
Consistent advice – soliciting feedback from a defined group of customers and stakeholders ensures a good degree of consistency across multiple programmes; something that is far harder to achieve in ad hoc research programmes.
A B2B panel or advisory council is a strategic asset. Like all assets, careful planning and up-front investment is needed. Recruiting the right specialist members in appropriate numbers is not straightforward, but in the right hands advisory councils can be quick to set up, easy to maintain, flexible and affordable. Crucially they’ll give you informed, topical insights you just can’t get from traditional research.
We’ve produced a guide to inform organisations considering the merits of a B2B panel or advisory council, which you can download here.
Alternatively give us a call to discuss your specific needs.