Client Advisory Boards: Challenges & Best Practices (2 of 2)


In our prior post we introduced the 2 categories of benefit that a client expects from investing its time in a fintech vendor’s Client Advisory Board (CAB). We also discussed how the vendor should expect to benefit (hint: it’s not the ability to up-sell).

This post will offer the best-practices that will ensure both parties receive those benefits. The best practices are at both the CAB strategy and execution levels.

As discussed last time, the driving principle for the vendor remains “Make it about them, not you!”

Strategy Best Practices

The over-arching strategy best practice is to pre-plan the execution, in written detail.

The following are example questions the clients will have in deciding whether to commit their time, energy, and funds to being a member. It also forces the vendor to think about what it meant to “establish a CAB”.

The questions in the following subsections are examples – more may be included for a specific CAB.

Charter & Goals      


Diverse Membership

  • How will the CAB represent a diverse membership (great feedback comes from all places)?
  • What are the ideal functional backgrounds of members?


Roles & Responsibilities

  • What are the responsibilities of members (and vendor staff)?
  • Are defined positions required (e.g., Board Chair or sub-committee chair)?


Board Processes

  • What are the processes that will execute the Board, specifically, (1) preparation by vendor and clients, (2) event execution, (3) resulting outcomes, and (4) continuous CAB improvements?


Operating Rules

  • What is the standing agenda?
  • What preparatory material will be provided, by whom, and when?



  • When will the CAB meet?
  • What is the mix of in-person and virtual?



  • Where will meetings be held?
  • What type of facilities?



  • Who bears what cost: member time, travel, accommodations, meeting events/outings?

Execution Best Practices


As discussed in our prior post, while there will be many chances to appreciate the celebrate the clients, the CAB agenda is predominantly loaded with work sessions.

The CAB should not be overtly focused on generating incremental revenue. Over time, the client benefits of a well-run CAB will create revenue opportunity if service quality and product innovation meet member needs. Prospects should not be invited and revenue partners should be limited, if at all.

The mantra for the vendor’s style is “ask, listen, clarify, and record”.

Form & Format

The product scope of the CAB should match those in which the members have a shared interest. So, if the vendor has a lending product and a deposits product and each has a unique set of buyers, then there should be separate CABs.

The CAB should have a diversity of membership, along the lines of client size, industry vertical, etc.. Members should be relatively senior and experts in the relevant technology of their industry.

All member inputs should be acknowledged via post-event content, and should be acted-upon (even if the action / outcome is not what the client members want).


Focus on quality, not quantity: don’t try to cover too much. The agenda sessions should be rich with enough time provided for ideation and vetting. The vendor should bring draft material for every session: don’t start any meeting with a “blank sheet of paper”.

Key decisions, issues, and action items should be documented after each meeting. The issues and action items should be the basis for the vendor doing significant work between the meetings on the issues and action items.

Communication with members between meetings is encouraged. Ask them to do limited but high-value work between meetings. For instance, they should be asked for feedback on the issues worked between meetings and to provide material for the upcoming meeting.


Client Advisory Boards can be an invaluable way to develop a deeper understanding of client needs. Since there are many ways to build and execute a CAB, recurring challenges have emerged across the KGA client base. This blog has covered the best-practices to overcome those challenges. In so doing, the #1 Key to Success is ensured: the CAB is about the clients, not the vendor.

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