Benchmarking and Building Up an External Product Advisory Board

It amazes me that there are companies in the world that get paid massive subscription payments by large corporations in order to help those corporations connect with other types of organizations facing the same types of issues or using the same products. These companies sign up multiple organizations, get paid by each one, and then facilitate meetings between them. In the ‘old days’ maybe it was important to have a third party broker the relationship, but it seems out of date to continue to pay into this system.

Instead, replicate that same service, for free on Twitter or Linkedin.

Let’s say you’re a large organization looking to share and learn from other organizations using a particular large scale ERP system – search for that software name on twitter, then look at what company the person mentioning it is from, then search for that company and that software. Tweet to the right folks and start building the relationship and setting up meetings.
Let’s say you’re a manufacturer trying to work with other manufacturers in regards to a particular type of retailer. You probably already know other companies that work with that retailer – so search for them on your platform of choice and start sending tweets or emails talking about developing mutually beneficial strategies.

Benchmarking with other industries or companies isn’t nearly as hard as it used to be because finding someone to talk to is one search away. Getting ‘true’ feedback from a real person on a software vendor before you purchase the product is also easier now and you don’t have to rely on the vetted list the provider gives you.

In the old world you might of needed a group to help make the introduction or ‘open their rolodex’ to find the right person, today all you need is an internet connection, some basic introduction skills, and the common sense to stop paying for something being handed to you.

The interesting part is that because enough people don’t realize how easy this is yet (in my experience) if you’re just starting out in a new group or job you can also wow them immediately by showing that you were able to connect with other people external to the company to build an advisory board and bring some of those best practices in house.

Matt Kane

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