Why Dreamforce Matters: Even if you don’t use Salesforce CRM

I just returned from a wonderfully relaxing vacation. Hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park, and kickin’ it with family next to the fireplace of the old cabin we rented. Peaceful and rejuvenating! And it came at the perfect time because I will need all the energy I can muster for next week’s Dreamforce event in San Francisco.

Dreamforce 2012Salesforce, the company behind Dreamforce, bills the event as “The Cloud Computing Industry Event of the Year” and this is undeniably true. There are 750 sessions, 350+ Salesforce partners, and a host of success clinics, hands-on-training, and executive briefings—all in one place. On the event website under “Justify your trip,” it states that “post-event surveys show that Dreamforce is a surefire way to maximize your Salesforce ROI.” So what if you already use a CRM and it isn’t Salesforce?

It’s still an important event for you if you want to learn how other sales organizations are using technology to drive growth. Many of the 350+ Salesforce partners offer stand-alone versions, or versions that work within other CRM platforms. And you’ll hear from industry leaders and customers about how the social revolution is changing the way we do business.

Tickets to the Expo hall and the keynote speech are free. So even if you think you can’t afford to buy a full access ticket, there is still much to gain. The two hour key-note on Wednesday the 19th, presented by Mark Benioff (Salesforce Founder) and “special guests,” will be dynamic, inspiring, and motivating if it’s like others from prior years. And the opportunity to network among peers is really unprecedented.

But I think the biggest reason why Dreamforce matters, even if you don’t use Salesforce’s CRM, is to LEARN. Even if—or rather especially if—you’re a small or medium-sized company, this is the best opportunity to step outside of your day-to-day operations and learn about the technologies and trends that are impacting your business. Get ideas for how you need to evolve the way you do business across your organization including marketing, sales, finance, and customer service.

It’s an event we never miss for those very reasons. You’ll discover new ideas and solutions, and you’ll also most likely discover new people and opportunities to partner.

Here are a few of the 750 sessions we recommend:

Small and Medium Business Keynote –
Hilarie Koplow McAdams, President of Commercial and Small Business at salesforce.com explores how the Cake Boss of Carlo’s Bakery is transforming a neighborhood bakery, how Square is building a robust ecosystem of vendors and buyers and how top executives from Yelp are fueling their own hyper growth.

A Productivity-Based Approach to Closing More Business – Collaboration and task management using Do.com, a powerful productivity platform that is easy to use alone or to integrate with Sales Cloud if needed.

Marketing Cloud: CTRL ALT DEL –
Rebooting Your Business in a Connected World – In short: business has to reinvent not only itself, but the entire industry that it serves. The business world isn’t changing… the business world has already changed. Dramatically. Big, medium, and small businesses are being beat-up by two people, a clever spin on a traditional industry, some Ikea desks, open source software, and a couple of iPhones. What are you going to do about it? Join us to learn about the five movements that have changed business forever and how you can start thinking very differently about everything you do in this digital and social age.

Sales Cloud: Productivity Basics-Shorten Cycles with Instant Access to New Leads –
With Data.com available right within Sales Cloud, you now have the ability to deliver quality contacts and accounts for sales prospecting. Join us to hear how small businesses to large enterprise customers are saving time and money, doing more cross selling, and succeeding with the simple addition of Data.com.

Here are a few of the Exhibitors with solutions that we recommend:

Marketo (Booth 801)
Marketo’s powerful yet easy-to-use marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions transform how marketing and sales teams work—and work together—to fuel business growth. Marketo also offers Spark by Marketo™, a new brand of marketing automation tailored specifically for small businesses. Marketo recently acquired Crowd Factory to deliver the world’s first integrated solution for social marketing automation. Marketo works within or without Salesforce CRM.

EPrize (Booth 227)

Create competitions around key behaviors you want from your sales team. Make more calls. Pitch new products. Close more sales. Improve Salesforce adoption. Sales Contest Builder by ePrize; Lives 100% inside of Salesforce.com, includes a real-time, high impact leaderboard, and automatically updated contest standings, and can be set up in less than 30-minutes. Sales Contest Builder requires, and works within, Salesforce CRM.

OneSource iSell (Booth 1640)
OneSource iSell transforms sales by understanding the ideal targets for each sales professional and then continuously delivering the most timely and relevant opportunities personalized by their profile. By focusing on the right prospects at the right time in the sales cycle, iSell enables sales to focus on real selling opportunities, resulting in greater revenue and improved sales productivity. iSell works within or without Salesforce CRM.

Cloud9 (Booth 500)
Cloud9 streamlines the administrative process of forecasting reducing the normal drudgery. That’s a great thing by itself. But Cloud9 does more than that. It supplements a sales managers’ intuition with real data based on advanced analysis and that makes it possible to better judge forecast accuracy, understand which deals are at risk, and take action in time. Cloud9 requires, and works within, Salesforce CRM.

DocuSign (Booth 1113)
Thousands of companies use DocuSign in Sales departments to get contracts signed more quickly than ever before. In an environment where growing revenue remains top of mind, DocuSign gives you visibility and enhanced control over closing and booking every deal. There is no infrastructure to setup, and you can incorporate DocuSign into your existing process and get up and running quickly. DocuSign works within or without Salesforce CRM.

PGI (Both 138)
iMeet® is a simple, yet elegant, personal meeting room for sales presentations and discussions. IMeet®, the brainchild of PGi, (a company who’s hosted over 100,000,000 meetings for 70% of the Fortune 100) brings the best parts of conference calling, video conferencing, and social networking, all cleaned-up and ready for business. Getting together on iMeet® couldn’t be easier. Just enter your personal iMeet® Web address and go. No bulky apps to download. No huge files sucking up your hard drive. No delays starting your important sales calls.

Qvidian (Booth 121)
Qvidian is like a sales machine in a box. It gives sales reps access to everything they need to get their job done. This is serious software that’s easy to use. Qvidian combines 3 major elements sales reps require to get their job done efficiently: finding the right content, putting proposals together, and knowing what to say to prospects that have varied personas and requirements. It’s great for on-boarding new reps but it also helps every rep who wants to use their time most productively – that is, close more sales.

Data.com (Salesforce Booth)
Data.com is a community driven online directory of business contacts and companies that anyone can access by itself or within Salesforce CRM. The directory is free to use for obtaining company information like headquarters location, number of employees, subsidiaries, and background information. It’s also free to search for contacts by title, level in the organization (e.g. C-level, VP-level) or department. You can quickly obtain contact details like email and phone with a paid subscription. data.com solutions work within or without Salesforce CRM.

We want to meet you! If you’re going to Dreamforce, get in touch

Be sure to reach out to me if you’ll be there. Whether we get together for a quick hello, or schedule more dedicated time to talk, I’d love to meet you. You can contact me several ways:

Cell: 916-764-8013

Author, Nancy Nardin is the foremost expert in sales productivity tools. As President of Smart Selling Tools, she consults with many of the top sales productivity software vendors as well as end-user organizations looking to select the right tools. Click to get Nancy’s What & When weekly digest with invitations to complimentary webinars and informative publications. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools or subscribe to her Tool Talk blog. Nancy can be reached at 916-596-3035. To schedule a free 30 minute consultation.