Client Engagement Prep Form

I created this a few years ago when I was an Area Product Specialist, flying into accounts all over the place for workshops and architectural or technology discussions. At the time, I needed a way to synchronize details about the account, the specific challenges/opptys we needed to flesh out at the meeting, and travel logistics. It helps to set expectations and align messaging before a customer facing meeting. Account teams were great at filling these out.... I have 100+ of these in my e-mail archive! I generally used a descriptive subject line, such as:

Subject: Brillhart Customer Engagement: Xerox@Rochester [9 May 03]

Here is the form. Feel free to adapt and reuse!

This note contains important information regarding our upcoming meeting(s). Please verify that the meeting logistics are correct, and then complete the Meeting Questionnaire (see below).

If you intend on us disclosing any confidential information, please ensure you've completed all the Non-Disclosure (ND) paperwork and secured any approvals in advance. Some account teams believe they have a general bi-lateral ND in place, when in fact each meeting requires a separate approval. Please have the paperwork at the meeting. Thanks!

This Questionnaire doesn't take long to complete, and it really does help ensure success. Sales teams often benefit from this exercise as much as the presenter.

MEETING LOGISTIC SUMMARY
I'm scheduled to meet with you and your customer, [Xerox], in the [Rochester Area] on [Friday, May 9th] for [about 2 hours]. This engagement [\*is\*] covered by a signed ND agreement. The primary focus of this meeting will be [item #3] as described below, with particular emphasis on VCS competitive positioning.

Please let me know ASAP if any of this has changed. It might be useful for your customers to know a little about me before the meeting: http://brillharts.com/sig

MEETING QUESTIONNAIRE
In order to prepare for our upcoming meetings, I'd like you to fill out the following brief questionnaire as soon as possible for my preparation. Please try to fill out everything just to be sure we are all on the same page. I've found this process really helps ensure a successful meeting. Thanks in advance for your time!!

1. Account Team Contact Info:
Sales Rep: 10-digit office/pager/cell
Client Solutions Contact: 10-digit office/pager/cell:

2. Customer Name and their Function, Department or Group:

3. Directions to Meeting
(or an address - and I'll use MapQuest)
Hotel Recommendations, if an overnight stay is required
Do I need a car, or will you be picking me up at the airport?

4. Customer Prep Call
Do we have a customer con call scheduled with one of the key meeting participants to better understand their expectations for this meeting?

5. Primary \*Business\* Challenges/Goals
What are the primary \*business\* challenges/goals we are trying to help them with during this meeting?

6. Key Discussion Topics & Desired Outcome/Takeaway/Actions/Agreements
When we leave, what do \*we\* hope was accomplished?

7. How many people will be attending? Who are they?
What is their experience level or technical competence related to the topic of the meeting? Are they generally advocates, skeptics, or opponents of our approach to or stand on this topic? What level of influence do they have to make commitments and/or decisions? Who else from Sun will be in attendance? Consider inviting SunES personnel and strategic partners. Should someone from Sales Mgmt attend?

8. Do you anticipate the need to talk about Futures?
CPUs, Servers, Clustering, Storage/SANs, Solaris, Web Services/SOA, etc.... If so, have you secured ND approval?

9. Competition / Position / Traps?
What is the main competitive threat related to the topic of this meeting? Are we the incumbent or the challenger in this space? What "traps" might have the competition set for us?

10. Service Escalations / Quality Issues?
Have they had any serious product or service issues that might surface in this meeting?

11. Odds and ends:
What is the dress code?
Will there be a laptop projector?
Do they understand the general Sun product line and vision?

A quick FYI: Presentations are often more effective in a "chalk talk" interactive format. Please ensure there is something to write on (white board or easel). Sometimes the best approach is a laptop projector that projects onto a white board to facilitate annotations to the slides that relate to the customer's situation. Also, if we only expect the meeting to last a couple hours, try to secure other meetings to make the most of the day.

MY SERVICES
1. Engage the customer in an open discussion about their technical and business requirements, goals, and the expectations of both their mgmt and the end-users of the services they plan to deliver. Assist the customer in thinking through the various options and tradeoffs they can choose from during the architecture and design phase. Work with the Sales Team to produce a solution proposal. Continue to provide support to the Sales Team and customer as needed to secure the order.

2. Discuss our Vision and Roadmap and the Technologies that surround Datacenter Architecture and Operations. This can include N1, SOA and Web Services, ITIL Disciplines, Operational Capability, Utility Computing, Managed Services, etc.

3. Discuss High Availability using SunCluster 3, Replication Techniques for Disaster Recovery, and End-to-End Solution Architectures, and help the customer design a solution that solves the business challenge they are facing.

4. Perform an Architectural Review and Systems Performance Audit of the customer's current environment, and propose changes that will optimize their environment for their current and projected business requirements.

5. Deliver an in-depth technical review of our Servers, Interconnects, and Chip Architectures and position Sun w.r.t. competitive offerings, to help guide the customer to a decision that is appropriate for their current and projected needs.

6. Provide a high-level strategic overview of our Vision, Value Proposition, Broad Product and Technology Overview, and Competitive Positioning, to help the customer make an informed and confident decision to partner with Sun.

7. Work with Customer Engineers and SysAdmins at the customer's site to build a Proof of Concept evaluation environment using Best Practices, and then assist the customer in exercising the POC to demonstrate how it's features and functions will enable the customer to succeed.

8. Other. Such as Storage NDs, Blade NDs, Volume Server NDs, etc.

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