In case you haven’t noticed, Salesforce is paying attention to the needs of marketers in an ever growing way, and this year’s Dreamforce lineup is a glowing example. If you are attending and interested in marketing products and best practices a great place to start is the Dreamforce for Marketers page, which lists the locations of marketing-focused content and keynotes of interest. Sessions are clustered mostly (but not exclusively) in the Palace Hotel, with keynotes in Moscone, so you still have to get a little bit of exercise.
The main page notes a couple big-name sessions, but a dive into agenda builder reveals some other gems. I will surely be attending some of the product roadmap sessions, which are typically given by product managers--you know, the ones who really know the skinny on new features. These sessions are a great opportunity to ask follow-up questions on announcements that are not always easy to get answered in a virtual context.
Also on my agenda are the “How Salesforce Uses…” and Hands-on-Training sessions. These take a more practical-application approach and can be especially insightful for those of us who work with Marketing Cloud and/or Pardot on a regular basis. I’m especially looking forward to How Salesforce Uses the Marketing Cloud to Onboard New Customers.
Even if you’re got a user of Salesforce’s own marketing products, there are sessions for you. Download intelligence on email and social from experts in the field. Shopping for a tool? This Demo Jam promises to be particularly exciting.
And remember, if you can’t make a session, bookmark it in agenda builder anyway and watch the video after the fact. I like to focus on making it to sessions where I want to participate in the Q&A or try to meet the presenters and save pure curiosity for the recordings.
Sessions are just one part of the experience, though. If you’re in marketing, you already understand the value of making connections, so don’t let this opportunity slip by. Take advantage of lunch and cocktail hours and strike up a conversation. With a centralized area for marketing this year, chances are high you’ll meet someone doing work you can relate to. We are here to build our expertise and learn from each other, which includes the person next to you in line, not just the one on the stage. Perhaps I will see you there…
While we love to blog about the new Salesforce release, sometimes we just focus on the clouds (Sales, Marketing, etc.) or give a rapid reaction. For Winter 17, I am going to try something new and just highlight things that made me smile or cheer. I call these things "The Good Stuff."
Ok, so these are not really all Winter 17 features, or actually features at all but one can never start planning for retirement too early. The Stay-in-Touch feature has long been the bane of the Administrator's life so I am jumping for joy at its long overdue retirement. The Cloud Scheduler, while once a cool idea, was never given more love, updates, or a training hand to get full adoption. Also notable retirements coming to a release near you are the LinkedIn Pilot and Chatter Answers. Salesforce must be buying those gold watches in bulk.
While I am not so keen on everything getting a "Lightning" marketing makeover, this feature could be the most time saving for the next 10 years. This new "no password" feature takes two factor authentication to the next level, just click your username, tap to approve a mobile application notification and enter in a pin or fingerprint. Now that is pretty neat. It is also nice to see Salesforce catching up with the times using Touch ID and fingerprints for authentication.
Speaking of logins and security, this new feature will allow the Authenticator application to back and restore your accounts from one device to another. This is great for when you lose (crazy party) or upgrade (fell in the toilet) your new phone and don't want to go through all the hassle of setting things up again.
Saving the best for last and getting to the heart of an ugly user interface. For years (and years) Flows have been a powerful, if dated looking, feature of Salesforce. They allow for a more wizard based, multi-step data collection with decisioning along the way. While the underlying feature was great, the look and feel left a lot to be desired so getting a new "Lightning Skin" is a nice new addition. Hopefully this is the start of the merge between Flows and Processes which seem like a natural direction.
As with the last several releases there’s a heavy emphasis on the Lightning Experience and with Dreamforce 2016 just around the corner, I imagine this trend will continue into what I hope is the most epic Dreamforce yet. Many of the changes to Lightning Experience are subtle, but go a long way in improving the usability of the interface for end users. A few of my favorites are listed below:
Field Level Help: A feature as old as time from Classic is now Generally Available in Lightning Experience. Add help text for your users which when hovered provides additional context/details.
Save & New Buttons: With the addition of Save & New buttons, one can easily and in quick succession create new records without leaving their place inside of the application.
“Never Forget” Record Details: As more and and more information is available on page layouts, Salesforce now remembers when users expand or collapse a section and when a user returns, these settings are honored. This makes it easier and faster to navigate page layouts, seeing only those sections or details that matter most to you.
But perhaps, the User Experience update that takes the cake (at least in my book!), is the ability to edit list views in-line and en-masse. Users can now modify a record or records from the list view without ever going to the detail or edit page. Please note that there are a few limitations with this release, mainly that if the list view contains more than on record type or filter logic with OR clauses then the inline edit functionality won’t be available. This feature is also available in Salesforce Classic for those of us who haven’t yet made the switch to Lightning Experience.
Second to UI/UX changes, the long awaited ability to associate a contact with multiple accounts, highlighted by our very own Peter White in Checking in on Summer ‘16, continues to get a facelift. In addition to the Summer ’16 feature release, with Winter ’17 we gain a View Relationship Action, Validation Rules on the Account Contact Relationship Object, and the ability to indirectly relate person accounts to accounts.
While all of these goodies are great, by far my favorite new functionality is Lightning for Gmail (Beta). All of us Google Apps users have been waiting a long time for this one. Lightning for Gmail, is the latest email integration from Salesforce. While not yet generally available and requiring some internal IT Administration to setup, users can take advantage of searching and viewing matching Salesforce records directly in Gmail through a new Salesforce Side Panel. Additionally, if your organization uses GCal or Google Calendar?, events from Gcal sync to Salesforce. The reciprocal Salesforce to Gmail calendar sync is not yet available, so you’ll want your end users to be mindful and aware. There are certainly some limitations here, but as someone who relies heavily on both Salesforce and Gmail, I could not be more excited that Salesforce is bringing this functionality to us.
Have you read the Winter ’17 Release Notes Preview? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter @HollyRyall
I’ve always been partial to seeing the big name speakers when at Dreamforce. I can remember back to my first conference, Dreamforce 2008, where I was introduced to the quirky and brilliant writer Malcolm Gladwell (whose books and podcasts I consume as though they are going out of style) along with the aptly named Dr. Larry Brilliant who at the time was running Google.org. Ever since getting a taste of seeing these larger than life personalities live I’ve always made it my mission to get to these keynotes. From Bill Clinton to Bill Gates, these talks rarely disappoint. Here are a few big name speakers I’m looking forward to seeing in person this year at DF16.
I cannot think of a family that has done more in the area of philanthropy over the last 10 or so years than the Gates family. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives to such a wide array of causes to ensure that the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world is met. For those interested in giving back and philanthropy this is a can’t miss talk.
How often do you get a chance to see a hero from the civil rights movement in the 1960s in person? This man was a part of the walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama and continues to fight day in and day out for civil rights in congress. No need to get all political, just saying, this man has lived a full life of fighting for what he believes is right and that is extremely respectable and should lead to a very powerful keynote speech.
The owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of Shark Tank is always entertaining. He’s a tech geek at heart which is always fun at a tech conference. I’m expecting him to bring an energy to his talk that will inspire many to become entrepreneurs and utilize the skills that they are learning at the conference to start their own business, create an app, or generally just get juiced up about the possibilities of what one person with a great idea could accomplish.
The CEO of (RED) is going to be a major highlight for me. Not only is (RED) an outstanding organization that is innovative in every sense of the word but they are also an Arkus client. I cannot wait to see what Deborah has to say about the impact that (RED) has on fighting AIDS in Africa. I think this will be a tearjerker for me.
Billie Jean King
Let's get this out of the way - I am a tennis geek. I go to the US Open every year and was even a ball boy for a few years back in the 90s. I’ve actually met Billie Jean King before at a tennis tournament that I participated in (and won) that took place at the USTA National Tennis Center (now called the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center). She’s been an outspoken voice for years on the topic of equal rights; in particular when it comes to women. I think she’s a great addition to talk about Women in Tech and generally is such an iconic figure in the world of athletics which makes me happy to see two of my favorite worlds collide (Salesforce and sports).
There are so many amazing speakers this year I can’t mention them all. Let me know who you are really looking forward to seeing by commenting below or on one of our many social outlets. Maybe we can meetup for one of these talks - hit me up.
Where has the time gone? It felt like it was only yesterday I was enjoying the sounds of the Foo Fighters at Pier 70. Dreamforce 2016 hits the streets of San Francisco on October 4th thru the 7th and there is no better way to kick-off the MLB playoffs than to hear about what is new in the world of Cloud Computing with over 130,000+ other Salesforce disciples. Here are the top ten reasons to attend Dreamforce 2016.
Heard of Shark Tank? Want to pitch a startup idea to Mark Cuban and other celebrity judges? Here is your opportunity with the first ever Dreamforce startup pitch event being called Dreampitch. You can apply online and the three finalists will be flown out to Dreamforce with the opportunity to win 150K investment from Salesforce Ventures.
#9 Keynote Opening Band
One of the Dreamforce surprises I always get a kick out of is the guest band to open Marc Benioff’s keynote. Last year we got to hear Stevie Wonder, in 2014 we got the Beach Boys and in 2013 we got to go back in time with Huey Lewis! Who will it be this year?
#8 Tony Robbins
This is not the first time we will see Tony Robbins at Dreamforce but he never disappoints. Fresh of the release of his Netflix “I Am Not Your Guru” documentary, Mr. Robbins will be giving us a three hour keynote I am sure will be filled with music, inspiration and a lot of energy. A great way to end day one of Dreamforce.
#7 Dreamfest and UCSF Benefit featuring U2
Last year was an epic concert featuring The Killers, Gary Clark Jr. and the Foo Fighters. How do you top that? How ‘bout one of the greatest bands ever, U2. I personally have never seen U2 so this is definitely a bucket list item for me that I am eager to check off. Last year the concert raised over 10 million dollars to benefit the UCSF Children’s Hospitals. Hopefully this year they can top that!
#6 Celebrity Keynotes
Last year’s list of celebrity keynote speakers didn’t disappoint with the likes of Goldie Hawn (Actress), Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube), and Jessica Alba (Actress). This year we are lucky to hear Deborah Dugan (CEO of (RED)), Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly and Billie Jean King (Tennis Star and Sports Icon) to name a few. Some will have limited seating so registering sooner than later is recommended.
Dreamforce is not just about technology and what new big product or functionality Salesforce plans to deliver in the coming months. (Safe Harbor) It is very much about awareness of global issues, what we can do about it and act upon while we are there. Whether it is a food drive, book drive or the ability to make a donation to one of many nonprofits to be featured on stage, Salesforce makes it easy to give back.
Each year we get to meet new people from around the world who share the love for Salesforce and other things. Whether it is for career advancement or just to collaborate with like minded people in your industry, Dreamforce is a networking mega event. This is also a great place to reconnect with some old friends. Some of my better friends today were made at Dreamforce.
#3 Marc Benioff
How often do you have the opportunity to hear “the decade’s top innovator” as per Forbes speak in person? Marc Benioff has made a lot of news this past year inside and outside of Salesforce and with the Presidential Election right around the corner I am very interested to hear what he has to say in his keynotes. It’s also great to witness the chemistry between Marc and Parker Harris and you only get to see that at Dreamforce.
Salesforce surveyed previous attendees and it just so happened that 96% of the attendees surveyed said their business improvements outweighed the cost of going to Dreamforce. In addition they reported gains across key business metrics for sales, service, marketing, and IT. Results reported a 32% average increase in sales productivity, 36% increase in customer satisfaction, 39% increase in marketing ROI and a 51% faster deployment of IT programs. If you are having trouble getting approval to go to Dreamforce, feel free to drop these stats on the boss.
Salesforce has done a ton of work in helping enable people to learn Salesforce with the likes of Trailhead and the continued growth of user groups and regional events. At Dreamforce however you get access to over 2,000 sessions, 1,000+ product demos, hands on trainings, certifications and other educational opportunities such as meeting with product managers or mingling with Salesforce MVPs in The Dreamforce Campground.