For sales and marketing teams at business-to-business technology companies, the calendar is divided into two unequal parts: Dreamforce and the rest of the year.
For one week in the fall, tech workers pull on their logo’d polos, pressed denim and crisp white sneakers, and march through the halls of the Moscone Center where more than 100 “household”-name vendors unleash their flashiest marketing creative and practiced sales narratives. Hundreds of thousands of slightly bewildered guests dart back and forth between the exhibit hall, thousands (literally) of educational sessions, off-site restaurant takeovers, and the gigantic green lawn where who-knows-what is happening (maybe it’s a keynote stream, perhaps it’s a monk-led meditation session, or maybe there’s a live band performing). But halls empty when the Hawaiian music kicks off the annual Benioff-and-Harris multi-hour keynote, and I’m sure there’ll be silence when Michelle Obama takes the stage this year.
I couldn’t even begin to estimate what the entire ordeal costs, but I can tell you this: if you want to showcase your goods in the exhibition hall, get ready to write a whopper of a check. The price per square foot rivals Tribeca real estate — but at Dreamforce, the space is yours for only four days.
And yet, despite the countless distractions and one-more-zero-than-expected prices, InsightSquared is going all-in at Dreamforce 2017. How “in” is all-in? We’re upping our presence from a single, 48 ft. sq. booth in previous years to three booths totalling 700 ft. sq., several speaking sessions, two meeting rooms, a nearby customer suite, and, of course, a bunch of nighttime happenings. We’ll have one of the ten largest footprints in all of the Moscone. All from a marketing guy who comes from the “inbound” school that expels ephemeral investments like tradeshow sponsorships.
Because while not every attendee is a potential InsightSquared customer, pretty much every potential customer is an attendee. Because we are still, nearly a year after Dreamforce 2016, closing business that was influenced at last year’s event. Because many of our customers are there, and the digital world affords us precious little opportunity to simply thank them and shake their hands. Because nothing forces sales and marketing to align faster than an event of this magnitude. Because despite all of the three-letter-acronyms and conversion rates and benchmarks that now dominate marketing, brand still matters — and if you are a business-to-business tech company, Dreamforce is the foundational event for brand-building.
See you at Dreamforce 2018. And if you are looking to get really deep sales analytics out of your CRM, meet us at Dreamforce. Please. After all, at some point I’ll have to justify the investment.