This is my 6th time attending Dreamforce - the crazy annual party / conference / education that happens around this time each year in San Francisco. The 2012 event has not disappointed- it is not over yet, and in fact I'd say it is the best ever. It doesn't hurt that the weather here in the Bay Area has been low on fog and high on sunshine. Here are 5 things that make me a better person for attending:
1. Mark Benioff's Keynote kickoff is always long and over done, but this year, with strong, professional video and live demos it was actually enjoyable. It was still too long, it's just that instead of telling and telling and telling, showman Marc Benioff (and his minions) had a much nicer multi-media experience. Read a couple of posts about it from my colleagues on a curated Dreamforce 2012 page. I gained knowledge about new products and how they will help the people we serve.
2. The top-notch educational sessions are not every session - there are standouts each day, though. It is hard to know which session will be outstanding. One highlight today was a discussion on Social Selling, creating "social proximity" sales territories, and integrating mobile into your sales strategy. It was great to hear Michael Lodado in person, and also enjoyed William Behr of Gannett discussing how sales is changing.
3. Live, in-person connection is so important and there is no substitute for this. As Matt Heinz and Anneke Seley mentioned in our Pre-Dreamforce Webinar, (Dreamforce Survival Strategies) you can make amazing connections when you least expect it. I had one such conversation in a coffee line and who knows what may happen because of it.
4. Meeting up with potential strategic partners and rekindling connections with those you wish to work with more is also something that magnifies when done in person. Many people I know had a lot of these types of conversations. Some attendees work everything around 1-on-1 and small group meetings.
5. The Show Expo has a little something for everyone. For me I can meet with the vendors that focus on mid-market sales team solutions in a way that I can't by phone or on an ad-hoc basis. This has been hurried and crazy, but I've been able to talk with so many vendors who can help those that read this blog. I'll be leaving with tools, contacts and ideas that will last for months.
Those that I didn't connect with I'll be reaching out via LinkedIn or another means. For us, Dreamforce is just the start of the conversation - in between sitting in bean-bag chairs and enjoying the sunshine, we couldn't get to everything - so there will be a lot of follow up to meet those focused with CRM and cloud solutions for all of you midmarket fronline sales folks. Stay tuned for more on this!
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter.