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Dreamforce 2022 Delivered
Dreamforce is an annual event that brings together the global Salesforce community of digital professionals to level-up their skills, connect with like-minded peers and, of course, have some fun. This year’s conference was the first live meeting in three years after the pandemic forced the affair online. Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Bret Taylor welcomed around 40,000 in-person attendees while another 110,000 joined online. Customers, analysts, investors and press flocked to the festivities in San Francisco, where Salesforce calls home. The event did not disappoint.
Newbies and Trailblazers alike selected from sessions spanning the roles of sales, service, marketing, commerce, IT, administrators, developers, architects and partners. A wide variety of industries were represented, as well with sessions focused on financial services, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, automotive and energy, retail, consumer goods, communications, media and technology, nonprofit, education and the public sector.
Oh, and there were celebrities, too. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Hudson, Bono, Magic Johnson and former Vice President Al Gore all spoke at the event. There was even a performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to benefit UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals and a reception to present the Colin Powell Medal of Courage to 21-year-old UCSF patient Jesse Coronado.
Simantelites Abby Bell, Sara Ingles and Clay Deal were certainly in good company. Below are a few of their takeaways from the extravaganza.
Abby Bell, Vice President – Abby oversees a team of marketing automation, development, research, media, content, strategy and analytics professionals. She’s been to countless Salesforce conferences, but there’s always something new. Here’s what she learned at Dreamforce this year.
“This community is amazing. No matter which cloud you use, how you identify, what your background is or what your goals are, there are people who are happy to support your journey and teach you what they know.
The Sales Cloud folks are a different breed than the marketing folks. Neither bad. Just very different. I started my marketing career in marketing automation – email marketing – Eloqua. But, before I was in Marketing I had a quick career spring in sales and used Salesforce as a CRM. I was drawn to return to my roots and got to hang out with the #awesomeadmin crowd. I got to sit down with Mike Gerholdt when I made an appointment in Admin Meadow. We talked about dashboards, and he encouraged me to take the associate cert. Later, I found out he’s somewhat of a celebrity when he was the MC at the Admin Keynote. Got the cert – thanks, Mike!
I learned some things about taking certification tests – great ideas from fellow test takers while we were standing in line or preparing:
- If you think there are two correct answers, you are probably right. Choose the one that is more right. Don’t try to put duct tape on an answer to try and make it work. Choose the answer that is the most correct.
- You know that little box that says “Mark for review”? Well, I met a friend who uses that in reverse. He only checks the box when he is absolutely sure of his answer. Then, at the end he looks at how many answers he knows are correct to see if he has enough of those to get a passing score.
- Many Salesforce products have different “objects” within their system. When you read a question, decipher which object it’s discussing and remove answers that do not belong.
Dreamforce is loud. Even for my usually extroverted self, it can be overwhelming. As inclusive as Salesforce is, I wish there were more quiet areas. There were “silent disco” sessions where everyone in the session wore headphones and the speaker’s microphone only fed into the earphones. So that helped with the overwhelming nature and stimulus of the conference. But, I also heard some mixed thoughts on those sessions. Did you attend any? If so, what were your thoughts?
Even “grown-ups” will stand in line for 30 minutes to pick up a cute stuffed animal that they’ve earned at a conference that they’ve already paid for! What can I say? Brandy and Appy are my favorites and they are adorable!
Also, I was inspired to see more people at the conference this year that “look like me”. What does that mean? It means minority women. The marketing cloud crowd is a little more balanced but in many of the development sessions, the numbers are still a little lop sided. I do want to join a group for Latinos using and promoting and educating others about Salesforce. Does that already exist? If so, will you let me know? If not, do you want to start it with me? I recently became a member of Latinas in Tech (not specific to Salesforce) and I see many Latino professional groups on LinkedIn. There’s a Hispanic group for Salesforce employees, but not for users and partners.
Related: Instilling a DEI Lens at Simantel
Through all the tips and tricks and advice, my biggest take away though is that I still have SO MUCH to learn! Even for those Trailhead rangers that have 20x certifications and shiny gold hoodies, there are new features or products announced almost every quarter. So, if you’re just getting started in the Salesforce ecosystem or are jumping into a new cloud – it’s ok. You will have people to help you if you ask for it. And there are many, many resources that you can use to learn. I would love to be counted as a resource for you as would the teams here at Simantel. So please reach out if you need something and we’ll do our best to help! Or find me on LinkedIn and follow along my journey.”
Sara Ingles, Director of Experience Strategy – Sara focuses on marrying the message and story, with the right channels where content will live. She came up in our creative department and has evolved her career into digital experience. Sara is the voice of the client and delivers the roadmap for a better customer experience. Here are her thoughts on Dreamforce ‘22.
“You can use your voice even if it shakes. As a designer who has evolved their career to support complex technology solutions it still feels intimidating to walk where you know you are the odd one out, questioning if you belong in the room. But at Dreamforce I felt welcomed. I didn’t feel different. I talked to countless individuals who started in a discipline and transformed their skills following their passions. It’s never too late to expand your knowledge, learn a new platform or try something that scares you.
Data will continue to change the way we make business decisions, but it is only as powerful as our understanding of it. Countless companies discussed how they were establishing a data culture, the collective behaviors, and the beliefs of people who value, practice, and encourage the use of data to improve decision-making. This shared language and understanding of data are critical. Without it our teams will flounder.
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I walked away feeling inspired (and a little overwhelmed). I forgot how it felt to be surrounded by others who share your passion. The past two and a half years have seen meet-ups and conferences transfer over to a virtual format. Did it fill the void? Yes. Did it match the energy of a room full of folks who love what you love? Absolutely not. I feel inspired to find the place where my creative heart and data-driven mind can meet to drive our work forward. I’m always interested to talk customer experience, please reach out if you want to know more.”
Clay Deal, Associate Media Director – Clay leads a team of digital media buyers and strategists, helping them hone their skills, craft insightful campaigns and work cross-functionally with our other teams. This was Clay’s first Dreamforce.
“As I reflect on my week at the Salesforce event that was Dreamforce 2022, a singular word keeps popping up in my mind, WOW.
I knew the event was large, but I didn’t know how big or what to expect. When we arrived at the nucleus of the Dreamforce event on day one, I was very overwhelmed. It was just a sea of people and continuous movement. At one point I said it reminded me a bit of Disney World during high season, but with no rides. After arriving home, I did some Googling and found that the in-person attendance was around 40k people, which was down from the 150k pre-pandemic numbers. I’m not sure I would have survived the pre-pandemic numbers… LOL. I did read that approximately 110k attended the sessions virtually, which puts total attendance closer on par with pre-covid times.
The events were spread out over multiple buildings in downtown San Francisco, but there was never a “non-busy” or downtime during the conference, both from a session level and volume of people. It was a lot to take in the first day. I attended five sessions on day one, six sessions on day two and four sessions on day three. While it was great that there were a lot of options, it too was also a bit overwhelming to choose. I settled in more on day two, was able to navigate around a bit better and had a great experience the rest of the conference.
In many of the sessions and breakouts I attended, there was one reoccurring theme – that many companies continue to fight the same issues, which is data being siloed in the organization. Salesforce estimates that organizations average 978 different data sources, which leads to extreme amounts of waste and redundancy. How do we consolidate data and have a central view so that each department within an organization can access the information they need to support customers and clients?
Another theme that emerged daily was the passion the people from Salesforce had along with the attendees. We all were excited about hearing the new release news and updates that were happening. It was cool to see and be a part of individuals coming together from various parts of the world to learn and train on this platform with common goals in mind. Just the energy of people sharing knowledge and experiences together was a fantastic thing. Many people were coming in to either renew or obtain new certifications (Congrats to Abby btw!).
Overall, it was a great experience! I loved San Francisco. This was my first time out in California and it was perfect. The weather, the people, the sights, it was all just wonderful. A huge shoutout to my colleague Sara who helped me feel right at home in San Fran. She’d been to the city previously and helped show me around, hitting all the must-see spots. It was a great experience all around, both the conference and the opportunity to travel with my work friends!”
Did You Attend?
Salesforce refers to Dreamforce as “the world’s largest software conference, with a healthy dose of magic.” Abby, Sara and Clay agree it was quite the experience. Did you attend? Tell us what you thought about it in the comments below. If you missed it, don’t fret. You can catch up for free on Salesforce+. Send us your notes.