At this time last week I was finishing up Dreamforce, along with 135,000 other Salesforce users and partners in some of the nicest weather I have ever seen in San Francisco. I personally believe that Dreamforce, with over 1,400 sessions (many given by Salesforce users), keynotes on each application Salesforce offers, Moscone West transformed into a large developer zone and added this year an admin zone, the Marriott Marquis being home to the Salesforce Foundation zone, and evenings filled with networking, music, food and drink, was once again a definite highlight of the year.
But as with all good things, Dreamforce inevitably comes to an end, we all find our way back home, and for the briefest of moments, we have that small pause that comes when the music ends, and the realities of our day to day jobs return. But how do we continue to dance through the year with the same zeal and fervor that comes from Dreamforce? Here are five tips that I have used over the years to ensure that the love of Dreamforce does not come before the next year’s event!
5) Catch up on missed sessions: One of the greatest things about Dreamforce is the number of sessions, keynotes, presentations and even fireside chats that can be educational, motivational, and just down right fun. But, you’re only one person, and you likely missed a keynote or session you wanted to go to. Luckily, Salesforce has done a great job in getting as many of the keynotes and sessions as possible up quickly for people to view. You can go to Salesforce Live to view any of the eleven keynotes you missed, from the Admin Keynote right to the Salesforce1 Mobile. Along with this, Salesforce will begin to load all the recorded sessions from Dreamforce ‘14 to YouTube very soon, so that if you missed that one session on Process Builder, you can view it right from the comfort of your mobile device. Go back through your agenda, find the keynotes and sessions, and make a plan to watch them to gain the insights you missed in person.
4) Find local support: One of the best feelings I have at Dreamforce is sitting in Moscone South, and realizing that I am surrounded by people who are as excited about a business application as I am. And luckily, I also happen to live in one of 200 cities in the world where there is a Salesforce User Group. If you have never heard of User Groups, they are a localized group of Salesforce users (led by Salesforce users) that meet regularly to discuss new features, help each other with problems and issues, and just continue the networking and support that is felt at Dreamforce. There are now over 200 user groups, including many nonprofit groups throughout the world. Go to the Salesforce Community website, look for a User Group in your area (the list is alphabetical), and ask to join the group to find out more information and meeting times. And if there is no user group in your area, but you’d love to join one, join a group close to you and see if they use web conferencing so that you could join remotely!
3) Plan to Delve into the New: One of the most exciting portions of the main keynote is the introduction of new features at Salesforce. This year, the new features introduced by Marc Benioff and Parker Harris were Salesforce Analytics Cloud (previously known as Project Wave) and Salesforce1 Lightning. On the other hand, I met many people who were brand new to some current features within Salesforce as well, as their organization were not utilizing the full breadth of applications available. Whether it be Chatter, Process Builder, Data.com, or Service Cloud, there is quite possibly a feature set that could drive real value for your company. Take the time to look at your requirements as an organization, find the feature you already likely have an business case for that will drive real value and return, and then define, plan and implement the feature within your Salesforce. It is amazing to see how quickly the investment you made in Dreamforce can quickly be paid back in spades when you concretely use the knowledge gained!
2) Find local support, part two: It is not even a week since Dreamforce ended (at the time I write this blog), and the Salesforce team is already in the planning mode for their next effort – the annual Salesforce World Tour, kicking off on November 19th, in New York City, followed by a stop in Minneapolis on December 10th. Along with the Salesforce World Tour, there are many one- and half-day free conferences that make their way across the country during the year. You can keep an eye on upcoming events on the Salesforce Events page, and register for upcoming free events in your area. It’s a great way to get a refresher (and even new insights) from what you learned at Dreamforce, and as they are local, it’s a great opportunity to bring colleagues and coworkers to the event who may not have been able to go to Dreamforce.
1) Connect with those you met: Take away the sessions, the keynotes, the zones and the Expo halls, and you are still left with the most important takeaway you can get from Dreamforce. With so many people at Dreamforce, you likely have a stack of business cards (or pictures of badges, as I often do when people I meet have the cards tucked away in their backpack) of your newest Dreamforce acquaintances. If there is one thing you do, make sure you send them a quick email and connect with them. Follow them and converse over Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow them within the Success Community (or Power of Us Hub for nonprofit users). And continue to connect. It allows you to continue the Salesforce conversation (that you are also now planning to have at User Groups and local events, right?) started at Dreamforce, and become a great network to learn, teach and share with. And a funny thing can happen with these connections you make. I can tell you firsthand that many of the connections I have made over ten Dreamforce conferences have also become great, true friends.
So there you have it – five ways to continue playing the song called Dreamforce, so that you get the most out of your Dreamforce experience. Is there a key follow up that you like to do after Dreamforce that I missed? I would love to hear them; feel free to add them to the comments!
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