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Dreamforce 2018 - Inspiration, Innovation & Success

  • elizabeth_keenan

That’s it, folks...Dreamforce has come and gone for another year.

This amazing event can feel like a whirlwind. With so much energy on display, lots of kilometres walked, and lack of sleep - definitely down to jet lag, not parties - once it’s finished, it’s hard not to feel slightly deflated. 

I find it takes a few days to decompress and evaluate the vast amount of information expertly presented through the keynotes, sessions, demos and networking events. 

With this in mind, I asked myself “What are my key takeaways from Dreamforce?” Below, I’ve outlined some of the key topics and discussion points I have distilled from the event. These will obviously vary from other attendees, as everyone had their own interests and reasons for being at Dreamforce. 

Here is a brief highlight video capturing some of the atmosphere of Dreamforce 2018. 

1. Everyone is a Trailblazer

This key message was evident from the very outset of the keynote. Before Marc Benioff spoke, we got to see how customers like Lars Ulrich and Metallica were using every aspect of Salesforce to deliver the best possible experience for their fans.

We also saw beautifully-made videos and polished demos highlighting how Brunello Cucinelli, Unilever and Marriot Hotels are trailblazers by using Salesforce’s Customer Success platform - more of that in a minute.

For those who have attended Dreamforce before, you may know there is a Trailblazer campground and Developers’ area located on the ground floor in the Moscone West centre. In these zones, anyone can take time out to upskill and obtain Salesforce certifications, earn Trailhead badges and much more. By taking part and completing some trails and badges on Trailhead, our very own team took home some swag by winning the coveted Trailblazer Hoodie.

At Dreamforce, everyone can learn something new, meet new contacts, progress their skills and blaze their very own trail. 

2. Salesforce - the 360 Customer Success Platform.

Throughout the four days and multiple keynotes, one particular phrase was continually delivered - Salesforce Customer 360.

Customer experience is becoming the number 1 reason people are choosing certain products/services. With Salesforce’s Customer 360, every business can now deliver connected customer experiences across channels and departments. 

“Customer 360” comprises of a set of powerful platform services that enhances data management across Salesforce apps. Companies can now break down siloed departments and provide a definitive source of truth on all customers across marketing, commerce, sales and service.

Salesforce has stated, “Customer 360 will help companies move beyond an app- or department-specific view of each customer by making it easier to create a single, holistic customer profile to inform every interaction.”

As a result of this holistic view, customers will now have a single ID that enables Salesforce apps to identify a customer across multiple channels regardless of how they identify themselves —  name, email, phone number, social media handle, etc. 

Previously, the missing piece of the jigsaw was the ability to integrate with external data sources. However, the recent acquisition and integration of Mulesoft into the Salesforce eco-system will play an integral role. With this integration, companies can now easily connect with applications, data and devices through APIs and bring all their valuable data back into one unified platform.  

A truly connected customer experience has just gotten one step closer.

3. Einstein Voice added to the AI arsenal

Einstein Voice also played a starring role at this year’s event. This feature was showcased in both the Main Keynote and Sales Cloud keynote.

This feature should transform the way salespeople input data into Salesforce. Einstein will be able to identify specific information and update the relevant areas within Salesforce.

In the Demo, we saw how Einstein Voice can listen, capture and transcribe back the key details of a narrated message by a Salesperson. This will be a huge time-saver for Salespeople who either struggle inputting data or looking for an easier way to update and manage their opportunities.

In the video below, you’ll see a great example of how Einstein Voice can analyse a message and update the Opportunity Amount, Change the Close Date and create a task to schedule a call without having to type a single letter - easy peasy right!

4. Win the Digital Experience Race with Community Cloud

As we have implemented numerous Communities Clouds for clients, the team were super excited to hear about the new enhancements to this platform. 

Community Cloud for Salesforce is booming and over the last number of years the amount of communities going live has double, with over 29 community clouds going live every day - that’s one every hour! 

The main feature that really piqued our interest was CMS for Community Cloud. This has been on the wishlist of our Engagement Managers and Developers for a long time. With CMS for Community Cloud, companies can start building a unique digital experience for their customers. Now you can create, modify, manage and deliver news, blogs, videos and rich media content natively within Salesforce. 

The ability to easily customise Communities has also been a major bug bearer for our team. However, with the introduction of custom Components, Custom Themes and CMS Collections, it has become much easier to design and build a community to suits your every need.

Tied in with the release of CMS was the announcement of mySalesforce for Community Cloud. Companies can now build branded native mobile apps with all the functionality of Community Cloud. These branded apps can then be published on the App Store and Google Play store, allowing customers to easily download and begin their mobile journey with your business. 

5. Selling Just Got Easier...and Smarter.

As Salesforce put it “There's never been a better time to be in sales.” Throughout the event, it was hard not to see and understand the impact that Artificial Intelligence is having on the Salesforce eco-system. 

However, this became even more apparent when we seeing it used with Sales.  

In the Sales Cloud keynote, we were introduced to High Velocity Sales for Inside Sales teams. This impressive demo highlighted how sales teams, using insights powered by Einstein, can identify the best leads, automate tasks and boost their pipeline. With ‘Sales Cadence’, managers can easily create activity sequences with in-built best practices (when-to-call, email templates, call sheets, etc.), so novices and experienced salespeople alike can sing off the same hymn sheet. With ‘Work Queues’, salespeople can access prioritised email and call lists, so they can focus on the right leads at the right time. 

Collaboration and alignment between Sales and Marketing has always been a difficult task for most companies. However, with Pardot - powered by Einstein and Lightning - these teams can now bridge the gap. Marketers can gain greater insights from their campaigns, prioritise leads and arms sales with personalized content at the right time. Key new features include: 

  • Einstein Campaign Insights - marketers can now drill down into campaign engagement. and identify which campaigns are most successful based on content and subject line.
  • Einstein Behavior Scoring - identify which prospects are most likely to convert, based on their engagement behaviour. Einstein can analyse how a user interacts with website and campaign and prioritising leads, allowing Sales teams to convert the right leads to opportunities.

6. ‘Lead with Purpose’ - Salesforce

During Dreamforce, Salesforce announced a new platform called Philanthropy Cloud. As we are aware, Salesforce is extraordinarily proactive when it comes to equality, culture and giving back.

Philanthropy Cloud is for everyone - corporate, government, education and of course, non-profits. It provides a solution that allows companies to track and organise activities, such as volunteering, grants, employee giving, pledges and much more. 

The idea with Philanthropy Cloud is to have one platform to revolutionise and change humanity for the better. Companies such as Adidas and Sprint are already using Philanthropy Cloud to give back into their communities. 

Check out the full Philanthropy Cloud Keynote here.

The Final Round-up 

After removing the rose-tinted glasses and having some time to reflect, it’s still hard not to be hugely impressed with the sheer scale and size of Dreamforce. The sheer logistics of the whole thing is mind-blowing. 

Moving around the event still has its challenges but it is extremely well organised. It was also great to see such a diversity of Rangers (helpers) as well - from young to old - everyone was so helpful when challenged with questions.

My only criticisms would still be the distance between some of the hotels. You really have to sacrifice some sessions, as turning up even half an hour before does not guarantee entry.  

In my own opinion, it felt this year’s keynote seemed overly long/drawn out. Although the content was expertly presented, I thought some of it was quite repetitive. To gain entry, you really need to be there an hour beforehand, so you are sitting down for a good 3 hours. As a result, I found the last hour a struggle and difficult to remain fully focused. 

That said, Salesforce’s commitment to their eco-system, culture, values and the environment is remarkable and it’s hard not to be swept up emotionally by it all. However, it also clear to see the inequality around the streets of downtown San Francisco.

With homelessness so prevalent, not just in San Fran but around the world, our commitment to making the world a better place for all has never been so important. 

We look forward to seeing all our customers, partners, friends and all the Salesforce family next year at Dreamforce 2019. 

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