Delivering Virtual Executive Briefings, Global Technology Company
We were approached by a globally recognised technology company to review their executive briefings and help the sales team improve their results. The briefings are a core method for ongoing relationship building with their own clients through experiential and educational sessions.
The executive briefings were increasingly being delivered online, and we were asked to design and run training that would help their people have more success virtually.
The client also wanted to use this as an opportunity to improve their briefings and sales skills overall.
To gain a full understanding of the challenges and areas in need of improvement, we carried out an in-depth consultation.
Members of our team sat in on executive briefings, examining both how they were organised and delivered. We also met senior decision makers in North America to get their and input, recognising that they needed to be our priority when gaining buy-in. They told us which areas teams were struggling with and where the skills gaps were.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Working in close collaboration with the client, combining their assessments of necessary improvements with our own findings, we agreed upon a number of fundamental issues with the organisation, format and content of the executive briefings, which our learning solutions would directly address.
When our consultants attended the briefings, they found them to be too focused on features and solutions. While benefits to their clients were touched upon, there was no wider context or storytelling to engage the audience and make them see the relevance to them.
They also observed a need for clearer and more effective communication between the sales teams and moderators, in order to recognise and invite the appropriate decision makers to the briefings.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
It was a priority for the client that no one was forced to attend any sessions. Enthusiasm would primarily be built by internal marketing and word of mouth. This necessitated the creation of a series of interconnected, but stand alone, courses – rather than a full programme, as we normally would.
The goal was to create an atmosphere of excitement around the training, with stakeholder buy-in being a crucial element in the strategy.
Our team recognised there were two distinct groups that worked on the executive briefings:
Discussion Leaders: Actively running the sessions, giving talks on the organisation’s current and upcoming projects
Moderators: Managing the briefings, facilitating sessions, keeping the briefings running smoothly and follow up with clients after the events
Two sets of courses were designed, matching the two different skill sets these groups needed.
From the start, the client wanted some virtual delivery to connect their international teams. However, once the Covid-19 pandemic began causing office closures, we began adapting all the content to be remotely delivered just as effectively.
Training for Discussion Leaders primarily focused on:
Effective virtual briefings
Mastering your audience
Emotionalising information through storytelling
Moderators were offered 1:1 coaching to learn:
Virtual questioning and listening skills
How to develop more effective inter-team relationships
Establishing positive channels for internal communication
NORTH AMERICAN ROLLOUT AND ADAPTING TO PARTICIPANT NUMBERS
We began by delivering courses to the North American teams. From the first session, positive feedback and word of mouth almost instantly spread throughout the organisation. When we ran the second course, the number of participants signed up was well beyond our initial expectations or capacity.
Our team began updating the course designs to adapt to the high volume of participants. Our trainers were assisted by senior L&D members from the client organisation, helping facilitate questions and discussions, which kept sessions highly interactive.
After the enormous success in North America, teams across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and China began requesting their own version of our courses.
We utilised trainers from around the world to help us localise course content, including language, case studies and images. They were also able to deliver in the local language and cultural context.
Since April 2020, we have run over 100 sessions around the world.
The client reported that since their teams attended the training:
Executive briefings have had greatly improved success rates
They have increased the number of executive briefings run
The size of the average sale made by attendees to the executive briefings has increased
Their teams have been pitching to a larger number of high-level decision makers
Their sales team feel much more confident when pitching
Across all topics and from all regions, when asked how effective the training was:
100% of participants rated them ‘Good’ or above
74% rated them ‘Excellent’
Good selection of material to focus on. It got us to think about small things that could end up a big thing if not approached correctly.
The trainer was awesome! He had excellent feedback on every presentation and great tips to add. I have learnt a lot through the interactions and recommendations.
The training style made me feel comfortable confessing my weaknesses and not to be ashamed with my mistakes or errors.
We continue to deliver these courses for the client, training their Discussion Leaders and Moderators around the world. Our courses are regularly updated to ensure we’re always providing the most up to date learning and models.
Our ongoing relationship with the client means we’re in constant communication and able to assist with one-off issues or other long-term learning requirements as they arise.