M&E Strategy: Getting Executive Buy In

How to Get Your C-Suite to Green Light Your Meetings & Events Strategy

atx event systems, austin, texas, events, weddings, conferences, brand activations, corporate meetings, incentivesGetting executive buy-in for your Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) can be one of the most challenging tasks associated with getting it up and running. Not only do you rely on their buy-in for budgetary purposes, but it’s also important to have them on board for ongoing support and enforcement of the program guidelines.

This is not only a challenge at the beginning stages, either. Having their ongoing buy-in even after the program has begun can have its own set of challenges and obstacles. Even more important than maintaining funding for the program, you need executive support so that you have a reliable means of enforcing your SMMP guidelines across all departments in your organization.

Knowing that you need buy-in is a given, but understanding how to get it can seem complex. However, it doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. Getting buy-in has a lot less to do with actually getting agreement than it does getting people to see the value and to provide financial and authoritative support to ensure they get that value out of the program.

How to Get Executive Buy-In

Do your research. Before approaching your executive team with a proposal, you should do your research to ensure that your proposal addresses actual trouble spots within your organization. If your organization has had budget cuts, personnel turnover, trouble getting new clients, etc, you want to make sure that your proposal gets to the heart of the issues that matter most to your organization at the point in time you plan to approach them. You can even do short surveys or interviews with the executive team to get a good understanding of their pain points ahead of time.

Be clear about your intentions. Before you draft your proposal, think about why you want to implement a SMMP. What are your intentions for the program? Why do you think you’re the best person to take on the task? What do you expect the outcomes to be? Get crystal clear about the why – there should be no question as to why you want to implement the program and what everyone stands to gain from it. These are your value propositions and they need to be airtight before you present to executives.

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs). You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so be sure to outline your KPIs before you even start your proposal. How do you want to measure the success of the program? How will you know when it’s doing well and when it needs some support? Get clear about what matters most to your organization and how you can translate those into actionable and measureable performance metrics.

Be blunt when it comes to limitations. All SMMPs have limitations. Whether it’s the reach of the program, the upfront costs, or the time to implementation, you will have limitations and challenges that arise along the way. If you can document those limitations before you approach your executive team, you can present them with confidence and with a contingency plan for when these items come up.

In the end, while getting executive buy-in is an important part of having a successful SMMP, it’s actually not a requirement. Sometimes, executives will be hesitant or in disagreement on the program while still providing some financial resources or leaving it up to the program manager to determine best practices. While it’s not ideal, you can have a successful SMMP without their full support. You will simply have to create a means of enforcement into the program itself and will have to work hard to get support from others in your organization, including department heads and managers who will be actively using your SMMP.