Social distancing is bringing a reckoning in the rarified world of executive briefings. Traditional executive briefings are in-person confabs where companies with something to sell fly in the leaders of a potential client in the hope of inking a big deal that could make both companies richer. Handshakes, sales pitches, eye contact, charisma and intellect come together to forge distinctly human bonds.
COVID-19 changed all that. Who wants to risk their C-suite employees inhaling a virus and infecting their leadership ranks?
Virus or no virus, big companies will find a way to conduct executive briefings. The question is how.
Michelle Limbocker is coming up with answers. Limbocker directs global executive briefing programs at Nutanix, the Silicon Valley hybrid-cloud software provider. She’s taking everything she learned in two decades of running executive briefings and creating virtual equivalents of these vital sales tools.
Before the pandemic, Limbocker’s job included lining up travel arrangements, syncing executive calendars, hiring caterers and making sure her company’s CEO and top execs had all the information they needed to win over potential clients. She convened these briefings on the ground floor of Nutanix’s corporate headquarters in San Jose, California and in-person gatherings around the world. It’s a wide-open expanse where visiting execs can see the company pool table and employees going about their business.
“It really gives customers a sense of who we are as a culture,” she said. “Our people are right there, walking past them.”