9 Can’t-Miss Moments from Dreamforce 2017

dreamforce 2017Last week, nearly 170,000 business professionals touched down in sunny San Francisco, CA for the largest and most anticipated tech conference of the year, Dreamforce 2017.

This event features daily keynotes presented by some of the most reputable speakers in the world, hands-on workshops where attendees are able to fine-tune their skills, expert panels for discussing industry trends, late night networking parties, and even a headlining concert. The Dreamforce fun never stops.

Couldn’t make it to this year’s gathering? Fear not! We’ve compiled some of this year’s most memorable moments.

1. “This is what we call the fourth industrial revolution.” – Marc Benioff, Founder & CEO Salesforce.com

Dreamforce 2017 opened with Marc Benioff’s opening keynote session, “We Are All Trailblazers: Customer Success In The Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

As always, the presentation spoke at length about the new, exciting features, special releases, partnerships and other headline announcements surrounding the ever-growing Salesforce.com platform. However, one standout component of Marc’s presentation really got the crowd talking and set the stage for the coming week: The introduction the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

In a nutshell, Marc defines this concept as a new era of significant growth within the tech industry.  He highlights amazing new advancements like AI, nanotechnology, and mobile computing, that have significantly impacted our world.

Businesses must recognize the following considerations in the face of the 4IR:

  • Customer expectations are changing.
  • More products are being enhanced by data and intelligence.
  • Companies must undergo a digital transformation to adapt to these shifts.

In summation, as our world advances, so does our audience. To stay afloat, businesses must rise to the challenges the 4IR presents and find new ways to connect and engage with their audiences.

2. “It’s not enough for us to walk through the door of success if we’re not reaching back and pulling everyone we can through that door with us.” – Michelle Obama, Former First Lady, Activist, & Inspirational Speaker

A major fan favorite from Dreamforce 2017 was former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Unlike other sessions, Michelle’s presentation was less about sharing practical business knowledge, and more focused on providing the audience with a dose of inspiration. And inspire she did! From education to health, there wasn’t much Mrs. Obama didn’t touch upon – and regardless of political association and personal beliefs, much of the insight she shared resonated across the board.

The quote above happens to be one of our favorite points Michelle made. While admirable, individual success is not enough. To see true change in the world, we must help each other achieve our goals.

3. “Creating a great customer experience involves reaching out and touching customers. We need to talk to our customers.” – Jeff Lawson Co-founder & CEO, Twilio

This quote and the following quote both come from the Fortune CEO series: Reshaping the World. In this day-two panel, host Pattie Sellers (Executive Director of Fortune MPW Summits and Live Content, Time Inc.) was joined by the CEOs of some of the industry’s most disruptive start-ups, including Tan Le of Emotiv, Nirav Tolia of Nextdoor, Salle Krawcheck of Ellevest, and Jeff Lawson of Twillio.

During the session, participants discussed how their respective organizations were able to achieve rapid growth in an unprecedented amount of time.

One major takeaway from the panel was provided to us by Twilio co-founder and CEO, Jeff Lawson, who cited open communication as the key to achieving organizational success. In fact, it’s the principle Twilio was found on.

Chances are, your customers have an opinion or two about your business. Don’t ignore them! Instead, engage with them; give them the opportunity to dictate the experiences they have with your company.

4. “Not everyone is going to resonate with what you’re building. Take a step back and really identify who you resonate with.” – Nirav Tolia Co-founder CEO Nextdoor

As co-founder of the social media platform, Nextdoor, Nirav Tolia advises: rather than pitching your ideas to the masses, focus on investors who truly believe in your products or ideas.

From raising capital to improving marketing strategies – success rides on our ability to identify and target individuals who are most relevant to our company. If our mission doesn’t resonate with an individual, they’ll likely never become a customer—so why continue to waste valuable time and resources trying to convince them otherwise?

5. “To be a 106-year-old-company, you have to be willing to change everything about yourself except your core values.” – Ginni Rometty Chairman, President, CEO IBM

Chairman, President and CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty joined Salesforce’s Marc Benioff for Tuesday’s keynote. Theydiscussed the future of technology and how it has, and will continue to impact both business and society.

Throughout the conversation, Ginni shared some insights she’s gained since starting with the tech giant 36 years ago. Among these insights is this: An organization cannot expect any sense of longevity unless they are willing to constantly change everything about themselves – except their core values.

Although IBM products, strategies, and leadership have changed many times, Ginni believes the organization’s success can be attributed to one specific value: Innovating technology, and applying it to business and technology. As Ginni herself said, “It was true then, and it’s true now.”

6. “People + AI = The Future. Not AI alone! – Trish Bertuzzi, CEO The Bridge Group Inc.

Joined by fellow sales pros, John Barrows, and Doug Landis, Trish and crew were featured in the Quotable Sales Summit session, AI: Friend or Foe to Sales?, where they discussed the good, the bad and the ugly of artificial intelligence’s impact on sales.

The ultimate takeaway: AI can help sales reps become better at selling – but nothing replace the human connection.

7. “The foundation of ABM lies in clean, connected data. Without it, any ABM strategy you create will never get off the ground.” – Rishi P Dave, CMO D&B

Our next quote comes from CMO of Dun & Bradstreet, Rishi Dave. As a follow-up to last year’s most popular session, Rishi and other panel members discussed the importance of proper ABM execution.

Rishi’s advice for an ABM strategy that wins? Clean data! From account targeting, to message creation, accurate data fuels every stage of your ABM program. Without it, you can almost guarantee failure. We couldn’t agree more, Rishi!

8. “The complex nature of today’s purchase funnel generates absurd amounts of data that’s hard to keep fresh and accurate across the organization.” Rishi P Dave, CMO D&B

Rishi was back on our radar again Wednesday afternoon with his breakout session, “3 Steps to Always Be Closing: How Marketing & Sales Can Drive Real Revenue!”, where he discussed the importance of using data and sales intelligence to find and close more deals.

As the B2B sales journey becomes longer and more complex, more and more data  is collected. While this may sound ideal at first, without the proper upkeep processes in place, data becomes dirty, unconnected, and unusable.

9. “You need both quality and quantity to see an increase in opportunities” – Will Frattini, Manager – New Business Sales, ZoomInfo

This quote comes from ZoomInfo’s own, Will Frattini, during his Dreamforce session: “You Don’t Have a Quality Problem – You Have a Quantity Problem”.

Will focused heavily on the impact bad data can have on a number of vital business functions. From lead generation programs, to lead-to-customer conversion rates, the issues keeping you from organizational success often trace back to the health of your B2B database.

As Will’s quote points out, your business woes aren’t a matter of the quality or quantity of data you possess. Instead, it’s a combination of the two. To drive improve your efforts, you must make the switch from one-time data audits, to ongoing, automated database maintenance.

If you attended Dreamforce this year, we’d love to hear about the sessions you attended. Did you have a favorite speaker or workshop? Let us know!

If you’re looking for more posts like this one, check out our post Growth Acceleration Summit wrap up blogs: