Earlier this month the ultimate Salesforce conference broke a record in its fourteenth year—with more than 170,000 attendees, Dreamforce became the world’s largest conference built around a single company.
There was no shortage of star power, as luminaries in technology, business, entertainment, and even politics—ranging from Melinda Gates to will.i.am to Nancy Pelosi—addressed conference-goers in San Francisco and millions more around the world who tuned in to the live web stream.
It would be impossible to fit even a sliver of the information that came to light during the 2,700 Dreamforce sessions into a single blog post, but we wanted to share the top four takeaways from the Salesforce conference that we think will be important for sales organizations everywhere.
Get Ready to Work With Robots
There was plenty of chatter ahead of the conference about the new “Einstein” artificial intelligence feature that would be unveiled at the event, and indeed Salesforce executives throughout the conference promised this would be a central component of the new ecosystem.
Using machine learning and other “intelligent” technology, Einstein aims to surface relevant insights based on a wide range of data sources from within and outside of Salesforce to help with everything from sales to marketing to customer service.
At Velocify, we’ve always been keen on using data-driven algorithms and analytics to help salespeople achieve optimal results, and the “Einstein” release shows that this trend is likely to become more widespread.
This isn’t the “rise of the machines,” and the value of human engagement will continue to rise as our world becomes increasingly digitized, but it shows that sales reps have a lot to gain from leveraging smart technologies and outsourcing busywork and administrative tasks to artificially intelligent assistants.
Account-Based Sales Takes Center Stage
Salesforce has expanded far beyond its initial focus on sales organizations to encompass many more aspects of today’s businesses. But when selling was the topic of discussion at Dreamforce, account-based sales techniques were guaranteed to be part of the conversation.
Originally adapted from the trend of account-based marketing (ABM), the growing integration between sales and marketing departments has resulted in an “account-based everything” approach, in which sales reps and marketers work together to pursue specific accounts and customer segments with messages tailored to people based on their role. It’s part of a trend that moves away from the old method of cold-calling a list of leads to a more intelligent and process-oriented approach of converting prospects.
This technique can be incredibly effective, but sales organizations must first ensure they have the structures in place to coordinate an effort that requires deeper alignment within sales teams and across different departments.
At Velocify, we understand the value of developing an account-based sales (ABS) strategy to deliver a customized prospect experience. Developing an ABS strategy allows you to engage prospects in a more personalized way that matches sales activities, content, and “plays” to the buyers unique pain points. Check out this recorded webinar to learn five easy steps for creating an account-based sales strategy.
The Focus Turns to Women Sales Leaders
This year’s Dreamforce put an even bigger spotlight on the importance of empowering women in sales and leadership roles than it has in previous years.
The Salesforce conference highlighted equality as a core value across all four days, but made special efforts to dedicate a full-day to women and equality.
The Women and Equality Summit underscored how a renewed focus on elevating the role of women in sales organizations can have a positive impact on businesses’ bottom lines.
Talk of Acquisitions
Going into Dreamforce this year, there was significant buzz of a Salesforce acquisition of Twitter. However, a week following the event, Benioff officially put an end to speculation that the company would make a bid for Twitter in an interview with the FT, stating that it “wasn’t the right fit for us.”
The buzz around a potential Twitter acquisition fueled conversation at Dreamforce about the strategic acquisition spree Benioff has been on lately.
Salesforce has recently made several high-profile purchases, such as its $582 million deal for Quip, $534.6 million buy of data management company Krux, $110 million purchase of data analytics startup BeyondCore, and of course its $32.8 million gain of MetaMind — which played a big part in Salesforce’s A.I. push.
Typical of a Salesforce conference, Dreamforce exceeded expectations on every level. Continuing to innovate, inspire, and help us envision the future of sales, we are looking forward to #DF17! What were your favorite takeaways this year?
About the author: Matt Reid is the vice president of marketing at Velocify. With more than 15 years of marketing, strategy, and management experience at Fortune 500 and early-stage technology companies alike, he oversees marketing, sales development, and growth strategies for Velocify’s complete solution portfolio. Prior to Velocify, Reid served as chief marketing officer for Procore Technologies, led global marketing for the advertising technology company OpenX, and built sales and marketing from the ground up for Eucalyptus Systems, an open-source cloud platform acquired by HP. Earlier in his career, Reid led product marketing for all SaaS technologies at Citrix, directing the initial market launches of GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. Reid earned his Master of Business Administration degree in marketing at California State University, Sacramento, and dual bachelor’s degrees at the University of California, Santa Barbara.