Dreamforce 2013

Hacking Your Way to Dreamforce

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Dreamforce is daunting – especially for a first timer. Here’s why:

  • 120,000 expected attendees
  • 1250 break out sessions
  • 378 sales-specific sessions

This is all taking place in a mile square of downtown San Francisco over the course of 4 days.

All in 96 hours.

I’ve done the scouring of blogs for you and came up with the best tips for success I’ve found from the pros.

Plan out your sessions

I’m a sales professional. I always want to learn how to work smarter and to use the tools that I have. A big one of these is Salesforce (obviously). I have planned to attend sessions that will help me as an end-user take advantage of the platform. A great example of these are the sessions in the CEB series. I used the Sales Productivity, Mobile and Emerging Trends filters while looking for sessions.

Pro Tips:

  • Plan time between sessions for travel between locations
  • Be at least 30 minutes early for sessions and 60 for keynotes
  • Move to the middle and make conversation with those who fill in around you
  • Be involved with the Chatter and stay engaged
  • If you miss anything it will be up on YouTube after the event

Be outgoing and make friends

There are actually 120,000 potential friends, business relations and Salesforce advocates descending upon Moscone for 4 days. Take advantage of this. There is an automatic common interest and a way to make conversation.

Me: So how do you fit in the Salesforce ecosystem?
Friend: I’m an admin at ABC company
Me: That’s awesome I am an end user and the admin role seems so interesting. How many seats do you manage?

BOOM. Friend.

…or at least friendly conversation. Try it – the least you will have in common is that you work inside of Salesforce every day.

Pro Tips:

  • Follow your new friends on Chatter, Twitter or LinkedIn (but don’t be creepy – choose one).
  • Seek out potential partnerships and customers – get those business cards.
  • Don’t stop hustling. People from every industry will be at Dreamforce and it’s a great time to meet with partners, clients and prospects.

Dress Appropriately

No I’m not talking suits and ties. You will probably walk upwards of 5 miles each day. YOU WILL HATE YOURSELF IF YOU WEAR HEELS. Just don’t even think about it. Look clean, professional, and travel lightly. Dreamforce vets give this as the resounding advice.

Pro Tips:

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Bring blister bandages and moleskine.
  • Regardless of forecast, bring a packable jacket (I’m bringing my trusty Patagonia).
  • Don’t lug around your laptop.

Imbibe wisely

Dreamforce has parties Sunday through Thursday, so imbibe wisely. You don’t want to wake up late for the keynote on Tuesday, you will miss it or be in an overflow room. It’s also a very long week. If you party like you’re back in college you won’t be taking full advantage of what Dreamforce can do for you professionally.

Pro Tips:

  • Bring your badge and ID with you everywhere or you won’t get in.
  • Register for VIP when you can. There will likely be food and higher-quality drinks.
  • Check out the Dreamforce Parties Apptus posted.

Bring the right tools

Download the Dreamforce App now. It just went live and has some great features. There is a map of the campus and you can explore sessions right from the app.

Pro Tips:

  • Your data network will probably be spotty so make sure you have offline mode on your most important apps. For this reason, always carry your business card and a pen.
  • Use Evernote. It is much easier than carrying around a notebook.
  • Use FullContact Card Reader. It will get complete data of the people you meet into your Salesforce as leads. That way when you get back to your desk you can continue the conversation.

Dreamforce is bound to be exciting, fast-paced and overwhelming. This applies especially to a first timer like me. I will see if hacking my way to success works – but more on that next week.

Image Credit: Jon Mountjoy via Flickr

Don’t miss the other posts in our Complete Survival Guide to Dreamforce:

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