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Driving Growth and Direction Through a Product Advisory Council

What features and functions should be in a product backlog and roadmap? What can help prioritize the product roadmap? How do I know if the items I am calling 'visionary' are worth pursuing? Will these ideas actually drive value for customers, partners, my company? How do I better involve customers in my product management processes from envisioning to sequencing to scheduling?

As growth-stage companies scale, move upmarket, or expand to new markets, we find that these questions become more pressing. Companies asking these questions discover a greater need to collaborate cross-functionally both internally (sales, sales engineering, product, customer success, etc.) and externally (company to customers, and even customer to customer) in driving product roadmap contents and sequencing.

Product Advisory Councils (PACs, also known as Customer Advisory Boards or Product Advisory Boards) are groups of key customers that offer product feedback and, in some cases, industry insight or thought leadership, and they can play a big part in answering those questions. Even if there are many subject matter experts in the product management team, a PAC can serve as a validation function and smooth out any one individual's bias.

This growth hack seeks to answer the following questions on PACs:

  • What is the purpose of a PAC?
  • Who is involved?
  • Why would a customer want to join my PAC?
  • When and how do you interact with the PAC?
  • How do models differ?