Making a virtual sales kick-off as engaging and educational as an in-person event

Throughout the pandemic, every company has had to adapt their operations to reflect a new remote reality, and that includes events that typically have been in-person such as global sales kick-offs. Citrix’s portfolio of solutions saw increasing demand over the course of the pandemic due to their relevance to enabling remote work. To seize the opportunity as the new fiscal year approached, Citrix sought a way to convey its sales priorities and training to its global field and partners in a virtual sales kick-off event that would be every bit as impactful as its typical in-person kick-offs held in years past. They turned to Willis Collaborative to help overcome a number of challenges of the virtual format.

Engaging and educating without virtual fatigue: To bring the field and partners up to speed on 2021 areas of focus there was a lot of content to get through. Separate from the main keynotes, there were regional keynotes and a wide range of training sessions that may have been overwhelming if delivered in the same week. To not inundate attendees, the event was broken up over two weeks with three short days in each week. For the two main keynotes, the partner closing keynote and sales closing keynote, Willis Collaborative worked with the Citrix ELT to inform the program, focusing on short segments, using a mix of in-studio and remote speakers and interactions between them, incorporating a number of product demos to keep energy up, and from a production standpoint, mixing in lots of camera movements and high-energy interstitials to keep things feeling fresh. The result was a fast-moving, high-energy program that entertained as it informed.

Creating a cohesive narrative across silos and regions: As in past years, Willis Collaborative took the high-level sales priorities defined by the sales and marketing leadership at Citrix and wove that into a consistent narrative across two main keynotes and the partner closing keynote. In collaboration with Citrix’s ELT, and the Comms, Sales, Partner, Product Marketing and Engineering teams, Willis Collaborative drafted scripts for segments and worked through reviews and revisions to arrive at the full program ahead of filming. In addition to the main keynote, Willis Collaborative was also responsible for collaborating with leads for the four regional keynotes, ensuring that the ever-changing content from the main keynotes aligned with the direction and development of the regional keynotes. Willis Collaborative effectively served as the glue across eight keynotes and multiple stakeholder groups from start of production to the end.

Delivering high-volume production at speed: Virtual event production is new to most organizations, but in particular to stakeholder groups who may only have one event a year and are used to in-person events. While work on Field Kick-off started around the same time as it usually did in years past, the need to film and then do post-production meant that content needed to be locked and loaded far earlier than usual. We also had to account for the fact that data required for several segments wouldn’t be available until shortly before the event dates, requiring separate production workflows and an ability to integrate that content seamlessly. Willis Collaborative managed timelines from project start to end to ensure everyone hit their marks, produced presentation and motion graphics for all keynotes, and delivered a high-volume post production effort that saw almost 8 hours of keynote videos produced in mere weeks including time for reviews and revisions. Using state of the art tools, we enabled Citrix to watch and comment on keynote videos as soon as they rendered, even from the comfort of their preferred mobile device, allowing us to see any changes needed in real-time.

Producing a consistent look across global and regional keynotes: Along with main keynote segments, Willis Collaborative also lead production efforts on four regional keynotes with content for each filmed locally against green screens. Background plates of the main keynote studio were digitally edited to match lighting themes needed in the regional content, and keyed in to create a look as if the regional keynotes were shot in the same studio. Presentation graphics were produced alongside content development and aligned with the Citrix brand for a cohesive, consistent look across everything.