Know Before You Go: Dreamforce 2019
Dreamforce is exactly one week away, and soon hundreds of thousands of people will be walking around downtown San Francisco for the biggest event in the Salesforce ecosystem. This year will be my sixth Dreamforce… Yes, that number shocked me too! I feel lucky my job has allowed me to attend all these years, initially as a Salesforce customer and now as a Salesforce partner (who is still a customer!). Even coming up on six years, I don’t feel like a veteran. There’s always something to learn, a benefit of Salesforce’s constant innovation. And as a self-proclaimed introvert, attending Dreamforce always comes with some level of nervousness!
Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t picked up a few things along the way. Here are some tips for those of you attending.
Divide and conquer with your team.
If you’re attending Dreamforce with a team, don’t be afraid to split up! You’ll cover more ground this way, and with over 2,700 sessions to choose from, more is more! Depending on your team, it might make sense for one of you to attend admin sessions while another attends marketing sessions, for example. If you have an admin-heavy team, perhaps one of you focuses on learning the new Flow features while another attends one of the available Salesforce partner office hours to get help on that one problem that’s been bugging you for months! You can always share notes later!
Go to sessions you know nothing about.
When I first started learning Salesforce as an admin, exposure was key. I wanted to attend a variety of sessions to learn about a variety of use cases and how they were addressed with Salesforce. You might not be a salesperson, but as an admin, it’s part of your job to make sure Salesforce is running smoothly for them. Attend a sales-focused session, and you’ll gain insight into the questions and challenges salespeople are faced with every day. Use this insight to make changes in your own organization for your own salespeople.
Attend Roadmap sessions for your industry/product cloud.
Roadmap sessions are by far my favorite type of session. These sessions are where Salesforce staff review their roadmap for the next year and give a sneak peek into what new features or products are in development. If you’re thinking about implementing a new business process in Salesforce, pay attention to the roadmap session for your industry or product cloud to see if what you want to implement is already in the works. Rather than buy something off the shelf or implement it custom, Salesforce might already be developing the solution you need.
Skip the lines and watch the Keynotes from outside.
This is a bit hard to say since the announcement of Barack Obama as a keynote speaker, but what’s even more true now is that the line to get into his keynote is going to be packed, and it’s going to start well before 7 AM. Know that all Dreamforce keynotes are broadcast in multiple places around campus, where there are no lines and no crowds.
Talk to everybody! Dreamforce is the easiest place to network.
Talking about Salesforce with another person who “gets it” is so rewarding, it’s almost therapeutic. And Dreamforce is the one place where you can unabashedly talk about Salesforce to your heart’s content with literally everyone you meet. Questions like “Is this your first Dreamforce?”, “How long have you been in the ecosystem?”, or “How did you solve XYZ problem at your organization?” are commonplace. You know Salesforce, they know Salesforce, no icebreaker needed.
Don’t be afraid to take breaks.
I think at any conference, we tend to push ourselves to attend just one more session, one more networking event, or one more happy hour. It’s an investment for anyone to attend a conference like Dreamforce, and you want to get as much out of it as possible. If you’re feeling a bit run down, be sure take some time to recharge! Whenever I need some time by myself, I will literally find a spot deep in some hotel lobby corner or, weather permitting, get some fresh air and people watch while sitting on the grass. And now that Salesforce Park is open, you have no excuse not to take a breather.
If you’re not attending Dreamforce this year, feel free to browse through the sessions and bookmark the ones you find interesting. After Dreamforce is over, keep an eye out for the session recordings to be posted, and there you go! It’s like you were there after all.