You’ve worked diligently to design an Executive Briefing Center (EBC) that tells your brand story with interactive technology that’s set to wow your clients and shorten your sales cycles. But how do you take the well-thought-out design and turn it into an experience your clients won’t forget? You ensure your EBC is being led by a top-notch Briefing Program Manager. This person understands how critical the EBC is to your organization’s success and helps to bring your company’s visions to life for each client during every visit.
Preparation for a client visit can take up to 4-6 weeks to complete. Briefing program managers work hard to understand the intent behind each client visit to ensure their goals and needs are being met. They play the role of the liaison between sales, marketing, IT, company presenters (including the executive team), and the client. Managing expectations and clearly communicating is key to creating an unforgettable experience for every client that visits the EBC. Many elements go into making that magic happen. The three that stand out as having the potential for the greatest impact on your EBC program are:
- Engaging key internal company representatives
- Customizing the experience
- Creating a seamless briefing flow
A Briefing Program Manager’s work begins when a sales representative requests a briefing for one of their clients or prospects. The Briefing Program Manager asks a series of questions to gather as much data on the client as possible – their name, the nature of the current business relationship, where they are in the sales process, the timing of their project, titles of specific visitors, the specific outcome expected from their visit, and other critical information. With this information, the Briefing Program Manager takes the next step of determining which senior staff or executive members from the organization will be involved during the briefing.
Of course, every sales representative wants their client to meet company executives, but will that truly deliver on the client’s needs and goals? Not always. Being a gatekeeper to the executive staff is an important responsibility for the Briefing Program Manager. There are times when it makes perfect sense to include executives in a briefing, but many times clients actually benefit more by having extra time with subject matter experts that understand their challenges and can lay the groundwork for plans that meet their specific needs. Not only does this make the most sense for the client, but it also breeds trust and respect with the executive staff, as they are only called upon when truly needed. Working to understand the nature of the client visit helps Briefing Program Managers determine which teammates are most valuable to include.
Developing an agenda and creating customized presentations begins once the participants are selected. While this seems straightforward enough, this does require Briefing Program Managers to provide participants with client information and direction to create synergy between presentations. Producing a disjointed presentation would be a waste of everyone’s time and money. And, choosing the optimal method to display the presentation is a major factor in telling the story. The Briefing Program Manager must work closely with the company’s AV/IT experts to ensure that not only is the customized content ready to display, but it’s also visually stunning as well.
While the Briefing Program Managers are busy gathering data specific to the reason behind the client visit, they also working intently to gather as much information about each individual visitor as well. Where they are from, what are their hobbies, what topics of discussion interest them most, what are their travel plans and food preferences? Although some of this data has no impact specifically on their visit, it provides the staff at the welcome center with the information that they need to warmly welcome every visitor. Technology in the welcome center displays the visiting company’s name and list of visiting guests while customized content & materials the guests interact with demonstrate how invested your organization is in making your partnership a success. Many times, the smallest details can have the greatest impact on success.
Seamless Briefing Flow
Many details must come together at just the right time to make the magic of the EBC come to life. Not only does the Briefing Program Manager lead the planning of content and presenters, but they also manage the behind-the-scenes details as well. The Briefing Program Manager juggles all of the meeting logistics to prepare for a seamless day. He or she orders custom name tags, pens, and writing pads for each visiting guest prior to their arrival, and assists presenters in finalizing their presentations. On the day of the meeting, the Briefing Program Manager:
- Greets the visitors and makes introductions
- Facilitates discussions as needed, making note of any topic or detail for follow-up
- Oversees and possibly runs technology throughout the day
The Briefing Program Manager’s primary goals are to keep the briefing on-time and on-target, to deal with any urgent matters that arise as needed, and to ensure guests feel comfortable from the moment they arrive until the moment that they leave. Briefing Program Managers strive to create a briefing that flows seamlessly. Their efforts play a critical role in making the meeting extraordinary.
Creating Success in the EBC
While the Briefing Program Manager is the driving force behind the EBC, it takes the entire team to have a successful client visit and create a memorable experience. Paying extra attention to the key elements outlined above is a starting point for any EBC, and can be modified to meet your organization’s specific goals.