MeetingsNet: The Virtual Platform in Action

A major pharmaceutical firm converted one of its two annual in-person sales meetings to the digital medium. Here’s how it went.

Right now, many companies are scrambling to figure out the best ways to use technology to bring their people together not just for education but for meaningful interaction as well. However, some firms began exploring the possibilities of interactive virtual events well before the coronavirus pandemic set the business world on its head. And for at least one company, the results have been good enough that its executives are reconsidering how to balance virtual meetings with in-person meetings across their entire event portfolio.

That company, pharmaceutical maker Allergan, first held a virtual meeting in December 2018 as a replacement for one of its two annual in-person sales-training events. With the continuing education of about 2,000 sales reps under her purview, Karen Connolly, Allergan’s associate vice president of learning and development, actually used two virtual-meeting platforms—Pando and Skype—to produce the general sessions and small-group breakouts across a revised meeting agenda of two six-hour days and a two-hour final day. The virtual event replaced a three-day in-person meeting while also eliminating two days of travel for those reps plus 250 sales managers and 25 top executives.

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