Chances are you have heard it mentioned in some passing context. Maybe you are aware that the annual conference, hosted by Salesforce.com in San Francisco, is the world’s largest enterprise cloud computing event and has been described as “Vegas for cloud, mobile and social nerds.”. You might even know that the event represents a great opportunity for Salesforce users, partners and developers to rub shoulders and exchange ideas on the latest and greatest in CRM, sales, marketing and technology.
But what is really the big deal with Dreamforce?
As seasoned Dreamforce attendees, we think we have a pretty good idea. Read on to learn what Dreamforce 2013 is all about.
It’s gonna be HUGE!
Make no mistake about it; Dreamforce 2013 promises to be a massive event. More than 100,000 attendees are expected to show up in droves for the four-day conference – a far cry from the 1,130 attendees at the first Dreamforce in 2003. It is now considered the third biggest tech industry event (behind TED and CES), and is rapidly approaching can’t-miss status. Would you want to miss out while your competitors are taking full advantage of all that Dreamforce has to offer?
Unlimited learning opportunities
Hobnobbing with the other 100,000 attendees is one way to learn, but Dreamforce also puts on formal expert-led sessions. There will be more than 1,250 such sessions, designed to address the interests of any type of attendee. For example, if you are…
an executive? Check out “New Measures of your Market: Discovery, Engagement and Value,” hosted by Peter Coffee, the Head of Platform Research at Salesforce.com.
a marketing professional? Pull up a chair at the roundtable on how to “Incorporate Social Media and Technology into your Marketing Strategy.”
a sales professional? Share ideas at the workshop on “Building a Winning Sales Organization.”
a Salesforce.com partner? Learn “5 cool ways to Customize the New Profile.”
a developer? “Analytics Unleashed – Putting the New Analytics API to Work for your Business” might pique your interests.
an entrepreneur? Dig deep and look behind the curtain and “Beyond the IPO: Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur.”
These are but a handful of the hundreds of available sessions, addressing a wide variety of topics and led by all manners of experts. However, be mindful of the fact that there is only one of you with no way of being in multiple places at once, so plan out the sessions you want to attend and prioritize to maximize your learning experience.
Keynotes and “celebrity” speakers galore!
Marc Benioff, the Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, has an industry-wide reputation as a captivating speaker – you won’t want to miss his keynote as he shares his vision of where the company and the industry are headed. Yet, Benioff is far from the only ‘big name’ scheduled to speak. He will be joined on the main stage by…
Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook
Deepak Chopra, Founder of The Chopra Foundation
Marissa Mayer, President & CEO of Yahoo!
Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti
and maybe even an appearance from Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle. Ellison and Benioff famously feuded for years, but appeared to bury the hatchet at a joint conference call in June, when Ellison accepted Benioff’s invitation to attend Dreamforce. Stay tuned!
A hotbed of innovation
The AppExchange on Salesforce has been a great sandbox for independent developers to contribute to the Salesforce.com community and network – InsightSquared has also contributed several great free apps! This year, Salesforce is raising the stakes at Dreamforce by launching an unprecedented $1 million “hackathon” prize, challenging developers to take their stab at creating the next great innovative app that will change the way businesses run. Think you have that one great idea that can take home the prize? Start coding away!
Entrepreneurs / SMBs: Stand up!
Salesforce.com loves working with entrepreneurs, startups and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). For the first time in the event’s history, Salesforce.com will be dedicating a whole track of content and events deveoted specifically to entrepreneurs. Part of this track includes a Founders Forum, where a handful of entrepreneurs will share their growth experiences. Some of these leaders include:
Jason Lemkin, founder of Echosign – acquired by Adobe
Mark Organ, founder of Eloqua – acquisition by Oracle
Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox
SMB owners will also be excited to hear that Dreamforce is delivering “the biggest SMB experience” in its history. This means more sessions, more free success clinics, and more thought leadership on what SMBs can do to be more effective and grow faster.
Finally, our very own CEO and co-founder Fred Shilmover will be speaking on a joint panel with Work.com. You won’t want to miss what he has to say!
Work hard, play hard
As mentioned above, Dreamforce is considered a Las Vegas of sorts by its fans. That’s a pretty apt description. The attendees at Dreamforce certainly subscribe to a “work hard, play hard” mindset. There will be parties and events galore throughout the week, culminating in a Green Day concert held at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
Dreamforce is a game-changer.
- Manvir Sandhu, Senior Director, Hewlett Packard
Or, if you are more convinced by data, consider this:
96% of attendees said they saw a positive return on investment (ROI) upon returning from Dreamforce.
Whether it was due to a tremendous networking and prospecting experience at the conference, unearthing new useful technologies and apps, learning best practices and tips on specific sales, marketing and technology areas or simply discovering what they don’t know, attendees can truly gain a wealth of knowledge and experience from Dreamforce. More importantly, their experience and insights can be immediately and actionably applied, resulting in very real ROI.
Now that you know what the big deal about Dreamforce 2013 is, what are you waiting for? Register for the conference, book your plane tickets, remember to pack both your learning hats and your party hats, and gear up for what promises to be an unforgettable experience.