Craig Rosenberg’s Dreamforce ’15 Agenda for Executives

This is a guest post by Craig Rosenberg, the Co-Founder and Chief Analyst at TOPO, a research and advisory firm that helps businesses accelerate growth.

As a CEO or executive attending Dreamforce, the conference can be a difficult balancing act of attending sessions, networking, and taking meetings to develop business relationships.

With so much going on, it’s vital to make sure you are choosing your sessions wisely. When planning out your schedule, I recommend thinking about your business’ specific weak points. What are the areas that you want to improve on in order to accelerate your growth? Look out for the sessions with speakers who are truly experts in those specific areas, and come into it with questions that you are looking to have answered. Stay after and ask follow-ups if you aren’t satisfied and take full advantage of their expertise to help grow your business.

For CEOs or executives heading out to San Francisco in a few weeks, I advise a balance of sessions that will help you learn about leadership, as well as more focused ones in sales, marketing, and customer success. Here are the sessions I recommend blocking off your in schedule to get ahead of industry trends and connect with other like-minded leaders.

Tuesday Sept. 15

Top Tips for Crushing Your Quota for the Year

Keri Brooke, Sr Director Product Marketing, Salesforce
Denise Dresser, Salesforce
Melisa Margraves, EAM Manager, HP
Ron Mifsud, Account Executive, FinancialForce.com
Kirsten Schaub, Senior Account Executive, Healthcare and Life Sciences, DocuSign
Cody Stine, VP Inside Sales, SolarCity

As a general rule, I like sessions with lots of practitioners. I like this even more because it includes actual sales reps. Additionally, this sessions has some time built in for a brainstorm to discuss how you would implement these ideas at your business, which will be a great opportunity to interact with peers and ask questions.

Sales MBA: 4 Leadership Tactics to Be the Master of Your Sales Results

Matt Evans, Director of Customer Success, Salesforce
Rob Jeppsen, Senior Vice President, Zions Bank

This session is perfect for anyone struggling to get the most out of Salesforce. Learn best-in-class tactics to use Salesforce to grow your business faster. Move past using Salesforce to see lagging indicators and start to become a data-driven leader using predictive sales analytics. This session is an extended edition of last year’s session, brought back by popular demand.

Wednesday Sept. 16

4 in 40: 4 SMB Customers Share Their Sales Success Secrets

Matt Bullock, CEO / Founder, eWAY
Justin Hart, VP, Member Acquisition, Surf Air
Damian Mogavero, CEO, Avero
Joumana Mousselli, CEO, President and Co-Founder, Xtreme Lashes
Cale Tully, VP, ESB Sales, Salesforce

I’m always eager to connect with other CEO’s and executives of growing companies to hear their stories of success, obstacles they’ve overcome, and struggles they’re still dealing with. Although the description on this one is a little vague, I think the conversations that come out of more open-ended panels are often extremely valuable, and it’s a great opportunity to ask questions.

The Future of CRM: Discussion with Paul Greenberg, Denis Pombriant, & Ray Wang

Anne Chen, Salesforce
Paul Greenberg, Managing Principal, The 56 Group, LLC
Denis Pombriant, Managing Principal, Beagle Research Group, LLC
John Taschek, Salesforce
R Wang Founder, Chairman, and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Inc.

As this session description puts it, consumers today are more empowered than ever, and companies need to rethink the way they engage with and retain their customers. Paul Greenberg, President of The 56 Group, LLC and best-selling author of “CRM at the Speed of Light” is one of my analyst heroes, and any time I get a chance to listen to him, I take it.

10 Strategies for Increasing Retention, Driving Upsell & Managing Renewals

Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight
Allison Pickens, Gainsight
Helen Valentine, Director, Customer Success Operations, Workday

Although this session overlaps with the previous session, it is another panel filled with subject matter experts that I’m looking forward to. They’ll discuss how they’ve been able to achieve increased net retention 5-10 points and their processes around identifying risk customers, driving upsells, and managing retention. Customer success is a huge focus for me and the companies I work with, and I’m looking forward to hearing the perspectives represented in this group.

Lessons from Unicorns – Billion Dollar Tech Startups

Sam Blond, VP Sales, Zenefits
Max Crowley, Uber for Business Lead, Uber
Brett Gilbert, Salesforce
Mike Krilich, Director, Sales Operations, Mixpanel
Matthew Rosenberg, SVP of ww Sales and Business Development, Eventbrite
Ryan Toben, VP Sales Strategy & Operations, Mixpanel

Make sure to come prepared with questions to this one and leave time to network. All of these leaders come from companies that have experienced incredible growth and are part of a new generation of disruptive technologies. They paved their own paths within their respective industries and are sure to have some inspiring lessons from their experiences to share.

Thursday Sept. 17

Flaunt Your Culture, Build Your Tribe

Mark Mullen, VP Strategy and Planning, GPJ
Scott Burns, Executive Creative Director, GPJ

Building a strong brand culture and being able to communicate that to your target audience can be a key differentiator for your company. As a leader, you should always be focused on cultivating a strong workplace culture and thinking about how that can work to your advantage in the eyes of your target audience. Mullen and Burns from the experience marketing agency GJP will talking about tools and tips they use with clients in both strategy and execution around communicating brand culture.   

Startup Culture: Lessons Learned – Trials & Definitely Errors

Scott Bessler, Salesforce
Jason Li, Salesforce

In July 2014, Salesforce bought relationship intelligence software startup RelateIQ for $390 million. In this session, two of RelateIQ leaders, Bessler, Chief Software Architect, and Li, VP of Engineering, will talk about the many phases of the startup lifecycle the company went through. This is another session that will attract likeminded business leaders, and a great opportunity to hear about the journey of a company from inception to acquisition.

Friday Sept. 18

Onboarding: Inspire, Motivate, and Engage in the First 90 Day

Alex Nayman, Salesforce

Your employees are your growing company’s greatest assets. The more quickly and effectively they are onboarded, the more able they will be to hit the ground running and start delivering results. Salesforce onboard 4,000 new employees a year and has developed an extremely successful and scalable process for doing so.  

How to Coach Inexperienced Inside Sales Reps into A-Players

Howard Brown, CEO, RingDNA, Inc.
Sally Duby, General Manager, The Bridge Group, Inc
Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales, Sumo Logic
Craig Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Chief Analyst, Topo

I also have to recommend that executives attend my own session focused on turning inexperienced sales reps into valuable team members. Today, the average experience on an inside sales rep is just 2.6 years. For your sales organization to succeed, you have to create a strong onboarding process that ramps inexperienced reps quickly. Learn the coaching strategy and sales tools your team need to succeed.

With so much happening every day at Dreamforce, it’s vital to take a strategic approach to your agenda selection. Hopefully this session guide was helpful and saved you some time planning your executive-focused schedule at Dreamforce.

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