Bayer is one of the largest multinational Life Science companies in the world, and is set up across three divisions: Pharmaceuticals, Crop Science and Consumer Health. They run a global events program for all divisions, with the Pharmaceuticals branch as the main user.
Bayer adopted Cvent in 2017 to better enable them to report on event costs and outcomes while simplifying processes. Today, every event is run through Cvent and supported by the Event Management team. Bayer’s Event Management GPO, Patrick Tunggal, explains, “We set up a global system with a defined global process, but which allows local process specifics – an event requested in India will be approved just like an event request in Germany, but the route to doing so can be different everywhere. We developed this process until 2019 when Cvent was expanded to the majority of Bayer and has run smoothly since. Our previous event approach was fragmented globally, and we had limited insight into attendee behaviour as well as our own expectations and budget efficiency for each event.”
He notes that Cvent is truly the central platform that supports the entirety of their events program. “Cvent is at the very core of our event management process," he insists. "Event owners start by completing a Meeting Request Form, after which event planners respond within Cvent and set up Cvent modules as required, be they Registration, Attendee Management, Budgets, Surveys, virtual components, or any others as necessary.”
“We began by simply rolling out where we had the largest presence and in pilot countries to cover different regions – for instance in Germany where we are based, plus Mexico and Canada,” explains Patrick. “We also ran pilots for particular business units, such as Crop Science in Brazil and Pharma in Italy. We were not able to roll out to countries like China and Russia due to government rules and server complexities, or South Korea due to compliance complexities, but have since rolled out in 80 countries and in total support more than 100 countries.”
As a life sciences company, Bayer is required to follow strict national procedures when it comes to event management. They approach their development of regional processes around Cvent expansion into new countries by starting from their universal global process. From there, local approaches are adapted according to national restrictions as required, with deviations in workflow developed as a result.
Bayer’s distribution of event formats has changed drastically following the pandemic. Like many others, they went almost 100% virtual until part way through 2021, when they reintroduced face-to-face meetings, with some intermissions due to varying COVID risks. With around 100,000 employees, their largest events are internal. Running these virtually has enabled them to host for employees in all countries simultaneously, in the place of smaller local meetings which were held previously. They have also introduced hybrid elements to historically in-person events and boosted attendance by up to 50% as a result.
Bayer integrates Cvent with their CRM system Veeva, alongside a number of smaller, more specialised integrations. Patrick describes how this impacts the event management process, noting, “Every event with Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) participating is requested via Veeva and automatically transferred over to Cvent." He adds that "event requests, approvals, invitees, participation status ,and survey responses all synchronize in the background, which is a huge relief in terms of workload and efficiency." Patrick explains that the number of Veeva initiated event requests "more than doubled to around 24,000 event requests (+109%)." They also introduced standardized Cvent surveys, enabling them to evaluate events consistently across various regions and timescales. Patrick adds, "The information also syncs to our CRM. We have set up automated emails to the relevant reps in the event of negative feedback, ensuring that event behavior is being woven into their conversations and follow-ups.”
Bayer’s global expansion doesn't stop with this year’s integration of seven additional countries with their Cvent rollout. Their ultimate goal is to expand to all countries worldwide while improving their event data quality to make even better data driven decisions. They've already improved data quality around event creation (+20%), event registration activation (+6%), and cost data maintenance (+30%).
They also plan to continue exploring the possibilities of virtual formats, expecting that around a third of their events program will be permanently virtual. “We have regular weekly and monthly discussions with our Cvent team, and they have been, extremely helpful in reaching our goals," Patrick says. This consistent partnership is only going to further the success of Bayer's global expansion. "It's fair to say that Cvent is at the heart of an ecosystem and is integrated into many other systems that we use around it," Patrick concludes. "Without Cvent, we would still have a scattered event management system landscape and less harmonized event processes.”