Formed in 2003 as The Catalog Consortium today we manage CEO Roundtables for privately held companies selling direct to end-users in both the b2c and b2b markets. The Roundtables meet either 2 or 3 times per year. Membership in each roundtable is limited to 14 non-competitive companies. Members find that membership is like having an informal set of advisors, who while they do not sell competitive products, face many of the same issues selling direct to their customers. Members typically have some sort of a mix of catalogs, e-commerce, stores and personal sales teams (usually in-bound and out-bound sales teams, occasionally feet on the street).
Companies apply for membership by filling out an application form. Roundtable members review applications to ensure there are no competitive issues. Upon approval, applicants attend a first meeting. If both the applicant and the Roundtable members believe it is a good fit, the applicant is invited to join the Group. (Click here to find out what members are saying about our roundtables.)
The meeting content is developed by a planning committee made up of New Perspectives Consulting Group and 3 members of the Roundtable. The planning committee reaches out to all members to find out what they want to discuss. In general, the meeting is a set of conversations about member successes, challenges, and opportunities. The members of the planning committee change with each meeting.
Where We Meet
We hold meetings at member sites on a rotating basis because of the value of touring member sites. Members enjoy seeing how each have organized their businesses. The host gets insights from other members as we tour. The visiting members see things they want to consider implementing with their own teams.
Meals have become a relished aspect of membership. Dinner together at the end of the first day gives members a chance to unwind together. Conversations vary and are likely to be personal or business related. In either case, as members get to know each other better the level of trust and collaboration in the Group increases.
Functional Peer Groups
We have established peer groups for the managers of the member companies–for example marketing, call center, purchasing, and warehouse managers. Members can volunteer to participate in these groups. In many cases these peer groups have met once in person to get to know each other. They then have periodic interactions (phone calls and emails) where they discuss their “functional issues”.
All members agree to strict confidentiality of what is said in the room, stays in the room.