Dreamforce 16 was my 10th – yes 10th -including the first one way back in 2003. Dreamforce is the top Cloud-Computing Conference, a giant hug-fest for all Salesforce.com and the place to meet up with as many people as possible all rolled up into one crazy week.
With so many trips over the years, I have had varied experiences – from feeling overwhelmed and over booked to feeling like I missed some key people and sessions.
2016 Dreamforce for me was all about
The big event for anyone in sales at #DF16 was the #SalesSummit – an entire day devoted to growing sales with two event rooms and dozens of sessions. It worked well because all of the sessions were in the same area. Top sales leaders and many of my colleagues who consult and speak were there. A big tip of the hat to Salesforce Director of Product Marketing Tim Clarke for orchestrating this.
I was thrilled to moderate a panel of legitimate top sales leaders: Shep Maher of Guidespark, Ivonne Valdes of Schneider Electric, and Amy Appleyard of LogMeIn. We talked about tactical and strategic ways to take action to grow sales teams and leadership with more inclusion. We not only discussed ways to achieve success, but we shared a document with 18 Ways to Diversify Your Sales Team and Grow ROI ( download that PDF here)
I also made a point of being focused on learning the direction this massive company is heading in.
The Company, Products, and Partners
Watching Salesforce - the company, in action is amazing. I made it a point this year to listen to the keynotes, hear about the main product enhancements, and really take in the visual aspect of #DF16. The amount of effort and detail that is put into an event like this is amazing. As an event planner myself, I’m always in awe of how they pull it off. This year’s theme was in honor of the National Parks across the U.S. As someone who spend many summers of my childhood at Yellowstone, Glacier, and Mt. Rainier, I loved the theme.
The big, massive takeaway from Salesforce presentations is Artificial Intelligence and the many ways tools can much better support us when integrated into one place - in Salesforce's case this would be through CRM. I am very curious to see how they will integrate Predictive Lead Scoring, Opportunity Insights, Smarter eMail (Salesforce Inbox) plus recommending the best connections for sellers to make to go deep and wide in accounts. I'm curious because so many sales tool companies (Salesloft, Yesware, ToutApp, InsightSquared, etc) have created robust solutions already. Is Salesforce going to knock any of them out through evolved new tools fully integrated into the core CRM? This will be a fascinating next part of the journey.
The Einstein keynote is a great one to learn what Salesforce is rolling out with AI.
The Salesforce for Sales keynote was very helpful showing new features - especially the presentations by Sarah Varni, SVP Sales Cloud Product Marketing and Lynne Zaledonis, VP, Salesforce.
(Note: I'm not paid in any way by Salesforce to share this - they are the industry leader in CRM and when they have new integrations and features incorporating cutting edge technology, if you are involved in B2B sales and marketing, you've got to see what that is.)
Classes on Presenting
I attended two talks about incorporating stories into your presentations and they were phenomenal. It was as if I got a bonus learning opportunity in addition to all of the tech and cloud conversations going on. Well done to have someone from Pixar sharing top ideas along with improv experts.
BONUS: Making Connections
Always work to make new connections wherever you go at a conference. I met an amazing woman from China who now works at Chevron. We sat next to each other in the improv class. Now we are connected on LinkedIn. That’s how it works.
There is no replacement to attending a well-done, live event. Virtual learning is great, and we offer that, but being there in person is, well – amazing.
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Lori Richardson helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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