Executive Briefing vs. Customer Meeting – What’s the difference?

Sep 9, 2022

Briefing professionals have often asked me, “How do I explain the difference between an executive briefing and a customer meeting?”

This question highlights a common situation where key internal stakeholders may not understand the value a well-planned and expertly orchestrated, customer engagement can bring to the company’s bottom line. The responsibility of briefing management then becomes one of “education”. It is up to the Executive Briefing Program to clearly articulate the difference between a casual customer meeting organized by a sales representative and a customized, focused customer experience conducted by the Executive Briefing team that will strengthen the customer relationship, accelerate the sales cycle and potentially increase the opportunity size.
Executive briefing meeting at a small conference tableExecutive briefing meeting at a small conference table
Unlike a meeting, an executive briefing is considered a high potential, revenue-generating opportunity involving customer key decision makers where the agenda content is tailored to meet the customer’s needs and expectations. Skilled subject matter experts share their knowledge, peer-to-peer executive introductions occur, the customer is given an opportunity to express key challenges and a great deal of collaboration and problem-solving take place during an interactive exchange.

An executive briefing is a much more strategic engagement than simply scheduling discussion time with a customer where the meeting purpose is not well-defined, a customized agenda is non-existent and subject matter experts and executives are not prepped on the customer’s situation. Executive briefings are high-stakes engagements, that if planned and facilitated properly, can differentiate your company from the competition and get your customer to “Yes” faster!

So, the next time you hear, “I just need a room with a view for my customer or I just need to schedule a virtual meeting with my customer”, that’s a perfect opportunity to educate the requester about the difference between an executive briefing and a customer meeting. My advice: Have your elevator pitch ready!