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Client: Silicon Graphics, Inc.

The Challenge

Silicon Graphics (SGI) had established its reputation as the leading-edge provider of powerful workstations, servers, and graphic imaging among the technology evangelists around the world. Though SGI had a fiercely loyal following within the IT and engineering communities, SGI needed to create advocates who were at higher levels within customers' organizations in order to meet SGI's long-term growth objectives. While SGI was making significant inroads in the middle and senior management arenas, they had yet to establish solid relationships at the CEO, CFO, and CIO level within FORTUNE 100 companies.

The Solution

Key to the success of this program was a personal commitment on the part of SGI's top executives to invest the time and resources to establish and maintain these new executive relationships. In addition, the sales force was trained on special selling strategies to the senior executive.

Next, a strong venue was selected to profile the strengths of SGI to top executives of companies from diverse industries and to establish peer-to-peer communications. FORTUNE Magazine hosts the FORTUNE Global Forum annually, assembling CEOs of multinational companies to discuss the issues and opportunities they face as industry leaders. The Forum was ideal for launching SGI's executive program, and SGI was both a sponsor and a participant.

Prior to the Forum, Connelly Communications sent a special gift of premium wines, with a personal note from SGI CEO Ed McCracken, to each Forum participant. At the Forum, SGI hosted a special "Internet for CEOs" session to train CEOs on how to utilize the Internet for personal and business use. Research had shown that despite the widespread use of technology in their companies, CEOs did not personally use computers, and this session provided a way for them to become comfortable with using the Internet.

SGI staff trained the CEOs on the basics of using the Internet and each executive received an SGI polo shirt and a "Quick Reference Guide to Using the Web."

Following the Forum, Connelly Communications developed a special package that was sent to each CEO containing a new brochure, "An Executive Summary of Visual Computing," that was developed specifically for C-level executives. The brochure profiled success stories of the critical contributions SGI technology was making to industry leaders as diverse as Boeing, Ford, Team New Zealand, and Morgan Stanley. It established SGI's credibility as a key partner for the world's top companies and demonstrated SGI's solutions in terms of the CEO's concerns: faster time to market, reducing costs, and increasing corporate productivity and performance.

The relationships forged at the FORTUNE Global Forum were sustained by ongoing personal and business communications on the executive level, and it resulted in opening new doors on "mahogany row" for Silicon Graphics.