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Oct 16, 2006
Event Wrap-up

Dreamforce Show Wrap-up -- a salesforce CRM Lovefest

SUMMARY: Do you know what marketing ideas your sales reps are being exposed to? Last week, 4,250 sales execs attended salesforce.com's annual user get-together, the dreamforce expo, where they discussed far more about marketing than you might expect.

Here's MarketingSherpa's behind-the-scenes show report from one of the 750 marketers who also attended:
By MarketingSherpa Reader Janine Popick, President & CEO Vertical Response

Last week I attended (and spoke at) dreamforce expo, salesforce.com inc.’s annual user conference in San Francisco.

It's turning into one of the most influential shows in business-to-business sales and marketing. Yet, only about 15% of attendees this year were from the marketing department. Here are my show notes from a marketing perspective for my fellow MarketingSherpa readers who couldn’t make it:

Quick Show Outline:

In his keynote, salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff asked how many attendees were existing salesforce.com customers, and it seemed like 85% of the 5,000 people in the audience raised their hands.

Attendees broke into three groups:

o Sales managers wanting to learn how to better use CRM to convert leads
o Administrators of the salesforce.com platform
o Small business owners
o Marketers responsible for filling the lead pipeline

There were also about 160 partners exhibiting on the show floor.

Marketing Buzz Around the Show: 3 Points

#1. Marketing automation.

Although a hot topic, marketers don’t want to pay big bucks for it. They want drip campaigns and they want it integrated into their CRM system. Any CRM system that doesn't integrate with email is on its way out.

#2. Landing page integration.

This seemed to be hot when integrated with a CRM solution, so companies can track exactly where visitors go from their campaigns. The data needs to be is updated right into your CRM system. It solves problems because SMBs don’t have the resources to hire creatives and enterprise customers are fighting in-house for them.

#3. Marketers want to learn from marketers.

In general, marketers attended the sessions! Somewhat of a surprise, since at some other shows people aren’t so crazy about attending sessions (instead, networking in hallways and on the floor). At dreamforce, there seemed to be a general “want” to learn more about how to improve CRM.

Note to other vendors -- use more client-presented case studies at your user conference instead of endless pitches from your own management and sales team.

The addition of the Appy Awards (celebrating new salesforce applications) was a brilliant idea, rewarding mostly customers who do some great implementations and great customizations and a few partners doing some great things with the API.

Feeling on the Show Floor: salesforce Community Feels Like Apple Users

At first, I didn’t know how to feel about the layout of the show floor, which broke partners out by “Sales,” “Marketing,” “Financial Services” and “Business Productivity.” But in reality, it saved attendees a lot of time. It was like a grocery store, with the aisles clearly marked. People were checking off their partner grocery list.

The floor setup also established the very middle as the salesforce “campground.” The interesting thing was that immediately after demos if someone were interested in a specific feature, they sent them directly to the appropriate partner. (That's a clever layout other user conferences should steal.)

Contrary to other shows we attend, people come to dreamforce with a mission. They do their homework with questions to ask partners to solve real problems. You can be three deep at your booth at times instead of having to drag people in with hokey giveaways.

Some said it was good that there were more salesforce customers than prospects because customers understand the need to plug in more functionality, while prospects don’t necessarily understand the need until they have already deployed and used salesforce for a while.

Chris Hoffman from Triple Tree told me that this was their fourth Dreamforce (ours, too) and that while the early days had a lot of solutions looking for a problem, now it’s real problems looking for great solutions.

All in all, the show is a lovefest. It is extremely energetic. You’re constantly moving and talking, whether your customer is a salesforce user or a partner. There are many deals done among partners as well. The zealotry of the salesforce community feels like that of Apple users.


Useful links related to this article

dreamforce expo:
http://www.salesforce.com/conference/


Vertical Response
http://www.verticalresponse.com






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Comments about this Event Wrap-up

Oct 16, 2006 - Mark Mangano of Salesforcewatch.com says:
I'm definitely one of the zealots. You can read my coverage of the Dreamforce conference at my salesforce-related blog: http://www.salesforcewatch.com


Oct 16, 2006 - Jamie Grenney of Salesforce.com says:
Salesforce is posting slides and videos for all the Marketing breakout sessions online. http://blogs.salesforce.com/dreamforce06/marketing_executives/index.html



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