September 13, 2017
Last year, over 170,000 individuals descended on San Francisco to attend Dreamforce, the top technology conference in the world. Each year, the event gets bigger and better, with a focus around Salesforce the world’s #1 CRM, equality, and this year, a special focus on Augmented Intelligence. As one of the most influential conferences in the world, people still question why they should attend. We sat down with Greg Kaplan, CRO of Bluewolf, an IBM Company, to better understand what makes this conference so special and how other Chief Revenue Officers can make the most out of their Dreamforce experience.
- A salesperson can experience firsthand how their peers and the Salesforce community are using the Salesforce platform in new and unique ways. This arms them with stories they can take back to credibly advise their prospects and customers.
- Dreamforce is the mecca for all new innovation and technologies related to Salesforce. Each year Benioff goes above and beyond to break the status quo of the platform by introducing new offerings during his keynote that you can explore throughout the showroom floor. If you want your team to be ahead of the competition, they need to be there.
- Your team has to be where your customers are, or someone else will be. Get your team to create account plans for each of their customers that will be attending Dreamforce. Be sure your team is making the effort to carefully curate their customer and prospects’ Dreamforce experience (e.g. customized break out agendas, meals, entertainment and even Uber rides!). If your team isn’t hosting your most important prospects and customers throughout the entire event - guaranteed someone else will be! Take the time and effort to do this. You will build a deeper relationship with your customers by showing them that they are valued.
Each year Dreamforce showcases innovation and disruptive ideas that will not only impact our customers but even our own selling organizations. The Executive Summit provides the unique opportunity to engage with industry leaders, customers, prospects, and peers to better learn and understand how to turn ideas into initiatives that improve your organization.
Most sales leaders either are using or considering using the Salesforce.com platform for their organizations. Take the time to walk the expo floor, get demos, and ask questions to see firsthand how organizations are solving industry challenges and persistent challenges. And of course, pick up some swag to bring home to the kids.
My father-in-law always says Prior Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance. That couldn’t be more true for attending Dreamforce. Take advantage of Salesforce’s agenda builder to plan to attend the sessions that are most relevant to your industry and function–don’t chance it, reserve your seat in advance Also, Dreamforce events are spread throughout many venues in SF, you need to have plenty of travel time between meetings.
The main keynote is a must. Benioff sets the tone for the entire Salesforce ecosystem leading up to the following year, and he always has something up his sleeve.
My favorite part of Dreamforce is bringing customers and prospects together to share their experiences with one another. In some tech ecosystems, mixing prospects and customers is taboo. You’ll experience how powerful an open dialog can be in building trust and how sharing best–and sometimes, worst–practices can help move a sales cycle forward and build a trusting relationship.
No matter how well you plan, Dreamforce can get stressful. I recommend taking some time to escape downtown and walk from Chrissy Fields to the Golden Gate Bridge. The 20-minute walk allows you to decompress while taking in some of the best views San Francisco has to offer.