Our Dreamforce 2018 Recap
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By John Barrows
With Morgan, Lucas, and John attending Dreamforce last week, we wanted to all share our perspectives from Morgan’s second time attending, Lucas’ first, and John’s countless time at Dreamforce. In no particular order, here are our top takeaways from Dreamforce 18.
The power of voice
Voice and an AI assistants are here to stay, as we predicted earlier this year. Salesforce announced their new iteration of Einstein, Einstein Voice. The same way we’ll say “Siri, set my alarm for 6:30”, we’ll say “Einstein, update Account XYZ to 70%” or “Einstein, add a note to opportunity XYZ that says we discussed what implementation looks like and the key decision makers were Jim and Sally. Also set a reminder to follow up by Tuesday of next week”.
Rarely is any single item a game changer, but the impact of this will be seen and magnified over time. Imagine if your CRM was more up to date because it was easier to enter, and you spend 10% less time typing out your notes.
Bots to assist reps
In addition to voice helping out reps, we’re going to see bots stepping it up as well. The same way that bots like Drift or Intercom can help prospects and customers by suggesting relevant next steps (ex: booking a call after looking at pricing or leaving a review after logging into the app three times), bots will start to help reps by proactively suggesting next steps, sales training to watch, or making tasks like proposals and quotes more conversational.
Anything that helps reps reduce their manual and repetitive tasks, is likely to see high adoption.
Sales engagement platforms on the rise
Something very notable was the rise of sales engagement platforms like SalesLoft and Outreach. As this guide from Topo points out, one of the reasons for this is that it’s easy for reps to use these tools and see the direct benefits whereas CRM feels like a chore.
We’re excited to deepen our relationships with companies like SalesLoft in this space as we think it’s poised for rapid growth.
Increasing of B2B Commerce
Just like we’re removing manual and repetitive tasks from the reps, we’re removing them from buyers as well. The Demandware acquisition by Salesforce is making this even more feasible than ever before. As a buyer, if you know the tools you want and are ready to buy, there’s no reason to get on a sales call or spend time waiting for invoices. As a seller, B2B Commerce ensures your company gets paid on time and eliminates the headache of net 30 and chasing money.
And this isn’t just for new customers, it’s for existing customers too. Now it’s easier than ever to pay with credit card than it is to get on a call with your account manager, wait for an invoice, and send it to finance only to be tracked down later by the account manager for not paying it.
Plan, but don’t over plan
Dreamforce is a whirlwind. As Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Have fun and engage in genuine conversations with the people meet, but don’t try to meet with everyone.
On that note, if there are certain people you want to connect with, get their numbers ahead of time. Schedules get delayed or changed and constantly checking email will get annoying.
Build and foster relationships
We ran into a lot of friends we’ve made over the years at Dreamforce and we took the time to catch up with them. It’s important to keep fostering these relationships as you both grow your career because as these relationships deepen, both parties will be able to leverage the connection for advice, collaborations, introductions and other opportunities to open doors.
And don’t forget, use this face-to-face time to work on the deals you need to be closed by the end of the year.
Attend the sessions relevant to you
Dreamforce has an overwhelming amount of amazing experiences to offer. Do your homework ahead of time and categorize the sessions you want to attend into “must attend” and “nice to attend” lists. The Dreamforce app also does an amazing job of reminding you of your desired schedule and how far out you are from each session. Just remember, you aren’t the only one who wants to see these talks. Arrive early to grab your seat as many sell out fast.
You don’t need a pass to attend
You don’t need to shell out for a Dreamforce pass to take advantage of the event. Dreamforce gets over 100,000 pass holder attendees, but tens of thousands more come to San Francisco to join in on the networking. With events like SalesLoft Engage, Sales Enablement Soiree, Ops Stars, and countless others, you can do just about everything without ever stepping foot into Dreamforce.
If you want to be inspired, go to Dreamforce
There is no way you won’t be inspired by the crowd energy, the sessions about companies tackling tough problems, and the opportunities to meet other reps, founders and investors. If you do get a pass, spending a day walking the floors and seeing the cool innovating tech can be just as inspiring as some of the keynotes and breakout sessions from people like Al Gore, the head of e-commerce for Under Armour tackling problems like making sure only people who like The Rock are getting emails about a new brand partnership for a seamless experience.
Make it Happen!