Dreamforce 2019: Turning Lessons Learned into 2020 Strategies

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On the week of November 19th, 170,000+ Salesforce community members flocked to San Francisco for Dreamforce 2019. With over 2,700 breakout sessions, trainings, hands-on demos, and hundreds of partners and solutions, there are countless opportunities for attendees to discover the latest customer-centric trends and strategies. 

To connect with our portfolio companies and partners in attendance, Insight’s Marketing and Sales Centers of Excellence hosted a networking breakfast for 35+ executives. At the event, we were curious to know, “how will you will take what you’ve learned at the conference and implement it at your company in 2020?”

Here’s what some of our attendees had to say:

Daniel Incandela, CMO of Conga

Two main themes stood out to me at Dreamforce – data and digital transformation. While the industry has been talking about both of these, they are still very much in vogue and I think it’s because no one has figured them out yet.

First, I believe data is how organizations are going to stay on top and find the insights to make the best decisions. Conversations around data won’t be going away.

But more importantly, digital transformation. While you’d think this would be an older term and everyone would have digital transformation figured out – the reality is they haven’t. From the keynotes, to the booths and conversations, everything at Dreamforce was centered around how organizations must figure out transformation internally to scale, have more time to think, and ultimately make things easier and less tedious.
 
At Conga, we believe documents are a critical part of the overall digital transformation efforts for companies. Businesses run on documents, but the reality is documents can be a tedious process. As almost every company is embracing DX in some way, transforming document processes is key to achieving this and organizational wide goals. In fact, 87% say it allows employees to work on more strategic and fulfilling work. We want to make it easier for our customers and future customers to have time to shift from the tedious work to focus more on strategy, and part of what we’re doing at Conga is helping them set up processes to scale and do just that.

Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft

I don’t look at Dreamforce as a place for learning and best practices. I look at it as the best opportunity to deepen customer relationships. That’s my highest priority. 

Dreamforce is one of only two chances I get each year to be absolutely surrounded by SalesLoft customers. (The other one is our annual conference REV2020.)

I talk with customers often. But I meet with hundreds of them over a four-day period in person at Dreamforce. I get to look in their eyes, shake their hands, listen to them, and build trust. I get candid feedback, learn what critical problems they’re working on, and provide insights. This requires a different strategy than dealing with Dreamforce scheduling, badges and booths. Our team takes over a nearby restaurant for the duration of Dreamforce. We hold 450 customer meetings there. We let all of our customers, prospects, and those in our community know we're available every day for happy hour. The doors open at 4:00 and the customers flood in.

One of the best things is how we get to drink our own champagne for Dreamforce. We run the executive invite cadence through SalesLoft. I personally used it this year to send ~100 personalized invitations to target customers and scheduled ~40 meetings.

Sam Gutmann, CEO of OwnBackup

OwnBackup's 5th Dreamforce and supporting messaging was all about helping Salesforce customers shore up their digital transformation. Customers are innovating on Salesforce as part of their digital transformation journey. Typical steps along this journey include mergers and acquisitions, Lightning Transition, compliance initiatives, enhancing Salesforce Shield, org migrations, integrations, and application development. Business data loss and corruption risk is high during each step of the digital transformation journey. That's why OwnBackup is here to help shore up your digital transformation.

During Dreamforce 2019, the OwnBackup team learned the power of aligning our messaging with Salesforce. At the event, Salesforce featured their Customer 360 circle and messaging to support it. Even though our digital transformation boardwalk concept is similar to their Customer 360 concept, the terminology differs. OwnBackup has such a broad range of customers in the Salesforce ecosystem since every Salesforce customer needs to have a data backup and recovery plan to protect their business-critical data. Therefore, we should better coordinate our messaging with theirs in 2020. 

In 2020, we’ll continue to more closely align with Salesforce on their messaging to ensure we have an even greater impact on Dreamforce 2020.

Heather Connell, Director Partner Integration at intent 

My Dreamforce tactic was to learn as much as possible about how to improve the daily lives of my team, whilst still getting everything that I, and other leadership functions, need to make sound business decisions. Automation, AI, and smarter workflows are definitely the key here.  So in 2020, I'll be looking for opportunities to optimize the more common, repetitive and predictable tasks, with a goal to inject more happiness into the team(s) and develop more actionable insights for leadership.

Jeff Coveney, CMO at Digital Pi

My big takeaway is the continuing alignment of the marketing operations and sales operations roles. Several years ago, these roles were completely separate–the teams often worked in silos. Today, we are seeing more alignment between the organizations which is essential for overall operations success.

Jodie Boeldt, Director of Sales Enablement at PDI Software

Dreamforce 2019 provided visibility into the latest advancements influencing sales including the role data continues play in guiding sales enablement activities.

  • Analyzing time usage data allows managers to better understand how sales resources are using their time to progress opportunities.
  • Forecast waterfall reports via Einstein provide vision into weekly pipeline movement.
  • Leveraging the power of 3rd party data applications  to update customer profiles, enables the  alignment of accounts to the most appropriate sales rep.

Automation was another key driver at this years’ Dreamforce.

  • Enhancing the SalesForce.com platform to enable sales to live in Salesforce not only for opportunity management but for everything they need to be successful. Keeping them in Salesforce streamlines their day-to-day activities and leads to revenue growth.
  • Integrating coaching applications to push small just-in-time learning for new reps, and continuing education for those more experienced, ensures a knowledgeable salesforce.
  • Automated account plans, stakeholder analysis, and white space evaluation empowers sales reps to gain valuable insight into their accounts and opportunities. These new insights give sales reps the advantage with their ability to add value to their customers.

Dreamforce 2019 provided clear focus to sales enablement by demonstration how combining the advancements in technology and data with the desire for human coaching will raise the impact sales enablement can have on a business.

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