Impressions from a Quick Visit to Dreamforce

By Warren Shiver on Nov 13, 2017

In a word: Wow! I hadn’t attended Dreamforce (DF) since 2010, and I think it has tripled in attendance. Seems like DF must suck up all of the A/V production capacity in the Bay Area. How great it is to have 170k people pay to be sold to by Salesforce.com (SF) and the partner ecosystem and brand themselves with DF swag. Great business model – I’m certainly envious.

I had the pleasure of speaking during the conference at the Quotable Sales Summit in support of our book, The Multigenerational Sales Team.

One sign of a generational divide: for this Gen-Xer who’s accustomed to putting phones away during meetings, it’s still fun and surprising to see pictures being snapped of slides. Guess that’s a sign of decent content. Thanks to Travis Hill for snapping this pic.

Snapshot from Quotable Sales Summit

Some other observations I made during my time at DF:

  • The sales enablement space is getting really crowded… tons of nice tools and platforms. Would expect a shake-out and consolidation to happen there in the next couple of years.
  • One of the DF themes was a focus on “trailblazers.” My rough, non-scientific analysis of the crowd was that there was at least a 3-1 margin of those in blazers, as in men’s sport coats. Kudos to Marc Benioff for highlighting gender equality in his keynote and pointing out that Salesforce looked internally, making $6m in comp adjustments to normalize pay. Looks like all of us in the partner and Salesforce practitioner community obviously need to continue to focus on the issue, as diversity in technology has been a well-publicized need with little short-term improvement.
  • Kudos to Nick Worswick and the team at WeWork. Nick shared elements of the company’s growth and sales strategy, mentioning that WeWork took 8 years to open 250 properties, and in 2017 they will have opened 250 more. Amazing growth – especially for a business with a “physical” product.

If you are looking for a more tech-oriented update of Salesforce’s product and partnership announcements, see this excellent summary.

For those of you planning to attend next year, be sure to check out Quotable’s Sales Summit schedule, as it’s focused on sales, sales ops, and L&D leaders vs. a focus for technologists. It was impressive to see the impact and adoption of SF platforms in B2C firms, such as Adidas, 20th Century, and T-Mobile. You can do a lot (especially with so-called Einstein AI) when the underlying data is solid. This remains a huge challenge with most large B2B sales organizations and is sure to be a hot-topic next year.

See you there!

Warren Shiver

Written by Warren Shiver

Warren Shiver is the founder and managing partner of Symmetrics Group, a management consultancy focused on end to end improvement in sales force effectiveness. Through Warren’s leadership, Symmetrics Group has helped numerous organizations build high-performing sales teams focused on the right go-to-market strategy, disciplined sales process and well-designed enabling tools. Clients and consultants appreciate Warren’s uncompromising focus on quality and measureable impact and how he embodies the firm’s core values.

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