How to Get the Most Out of Dreamforce DF13

Dreamforce 2013 is just around the corner and minus the crowds, I’m most looking forward to, well, almost everything; the sessions, keynotes, networking, music and fun.  With more than 1000 expert-led sessions (and more than approximately 50,000 people to compete with for sessions), it’s critical to carefully plan your Dreamforce conference agenda ahead of time. With the session locations spread out over 8 to 10 blocks of San Francisco, it’s not only important to pick the sessions that might benefit your business the most, but also to coordinate your schedule so that you can physically get to the sessions on time. (Thus, all the jokes about the most important part of attending Dreamforce being wearing comfortable shoes. At the end of day 2 last year, I collapsed in my bed worried I wouldn’t be able to walk the next day. Seriously! And I was wearing Clarks!

Here are some tips on how you can get the most out of your Dreamforce experience:

Make a List of Your Dreamforce Goals
Dreamforce may seem overwhelming when your first look into the Dreamforce App Scheduler. The simplest way to start planning your Dreamforce experience is to write a list of your personal and business goals for your trip. There may be specific skills you would like to learn more about (like how to create workflows and approval processes) that will deliver an immediate benefit when you return from your trip, while other skills may have more long term benefits.

Bring Your Salesforce Roadmap
If you want to continue to maximize your investment in Salesforce, it’s helpful to think about your Salesforce Roadmap before attending Dreamforce.  Many companies start using Salesforce as a standalone tool to manage their basic sales processes. However many efficiencies can be gained through integrations with ERP and other systems, the addition of Salesforce Apps, and through expanding your use of the Salesforce Cloud (i.e. Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Work.com, etc.). Other smaller efficiencies can be easily gained just within the Sales Cloud. For instance, do you share information and processes with Sales support departments like the credit department? Can these processes be handled by Salesforce? Before attending Dreamforce, it’s a good idea to meet with each of your company’s business teams to understand if there is a way to incorporate these processes into Salesforce. Review your Dreamforce Goals List and your Salesforce Roadmap, and use the Dreamforce Agenda Planner to plan your sessions and activities accordingly.

Divide and Conquer
If you are attending with your business team, you may want to write your Dreamforce goal list together and then “divide and conquer” to gain the most collective knowledge from the conference. Be sure to register for the breakout sessions as soon as possible because the sessions fill up fast. Force yourself to write up a half-page summary of every session you visit to share with your team so that your company feels like they got something concrete out of the conference. Get a lot of free gear for the office (esp. for the people who aren’t excited about SFDC).

Download the Dreamforce App for iOS
Click here to download this handy app to help you remember your schedule and stay in touch with everything that is happening before during and after Dreamforce.

Get Your Headshot Made in the Community Success Zone
These days people are making their first impressions via social media. Improve your social profiles with a great headshot! Salesforce is providing this service free again this year in the Community Success Zone. Last year our co-worker, Mallory Fontenot had her headshot made here and it turned out great! Check her headshot out in the top right corner of the Community banner.

Visit the Dev Zone
The Dev Zone is inspirational! You’ll find a slew of developers working on complex Salesforce solutions, and they are all very friendly. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation about what they’re coding. It’s fun to hear about their projects, and it might spark a few ideas for solutions of your own.

Attend Product Keynotes Relevant to your Salesforce Roadmap
Here you’ll have the opportunity to expand your knowledge of different aspects of the application by speaking to Salesforce product experts. These keynotes are a great place to get your specific product questions answered.
Connect with Fellow Attendees
Use Dreamforce Chatter to connect with other attendees during the conference. There are many different types of interesting groups; groups by industry, region, topic etc. Follow the Salesforce MVPs to get Dreamforce tips you might otherwise miss.  Do some general networking between the sessions and events. Put together a list of things that your company will implement in the next year, or difficulties with the current system, and discuss them with random people. Often times people don’t mind sharing their experience (even with strangers!) e.g. “How are you guys integrating your SFDC data with your data warehouse?”
Visit the Cloud Expo
The Expo is a great place to learn more about different solutions. You should pick and choose the Partners you let scan your card wisely, because you’ll receive follow up emails and calls from them after the conference. Partners are GREAT at follow up. Take the time to schedule demos with the Partner solutions you’re interested in after the conference. They’ll be able to tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of other apps since they’ve already studied their competition.
Take Breaks and Soak It In
You should accept that you can’t do it all. The experience can be overwhelming, with the amount of information presented, the list of things to do, and just the experience of being in an awesome city! Take a break, stand back, and soak it all in! Remember, most sessions will be available via YouTube by the time you get home. Be sure to “follow” the sessions you attend, as well as the sessions you were interested in but couldn’t fit in. You’ll receive slide decks for those sessions you follow.
More questions about Dreamforce or Salesforce in general? Contact us today! Email us at marketing@westmonroepartners.com.
Phone: 312-602-4000
Email: marketing@westmonroepartners.com
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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