This is my first year attending Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference and I am very excited. As a first timer, I wanted to make sure I was prepared, so I turned to Twitter and Dreamforce Chatter to find out the scoop on what to expect. Here are the top 10 tips I’ve compiled to help you (and myself!) get ready for Dreamforce 2012.
1. Wear comfortable shoes, this is the most talked about recommendation on social media right now! You spend almost all day on your feet, so take care of them. High heels may look great on Day 1, but your body will regret it on Day 2 if you can barely stand…
2. Bring an extra battery! From session hopping to coordinating meet ups with your iPhone you are bound to lose battery power. Make sure to bring your charger (there will be charging stations) or buy an extra long battery to ensure you aren’t without power halfway through the conference.
3. Flag that full session! Didn’t get to register in time for a session you are dying to attend? Don’t fret, Salesforce is now allowing you to go to the Agenda Builder and “flag” each full session. If you flag the session in the Agenda Builder, Dreamforce will notify you when they add an additional session. For example, to find out more information on how to flag the hot GE Capital “360° of Excellence” ROI session, do so here.
Another option—just show up! Most likely there will be some “no-shows”. Go early! It’s first come, first serve.
4. Stay out late and meet people! There will be a lot of cool, interesting people at the restaurants and bars around the Moscone Center ready to chit chat. It’s a great way to network and learn about new products.
5. Don’t overload on sessions! There are tons of great sessions you are dying to see (like FirstRain’s, of course!) but scheduling back-to-back sessions will leave you with very little time to explore the expo. Limit yourself and be mindful that sessions are at different buildings.
6. Party time! Interested in checking out the social scene after the Moscone Center closes? Check out this App for up-to-date events happening at Dreamforce.
7. Bring Layers! Never been to San Francisco before? SF is a layering city. September may be one of our warmest months, but depending on the micro-climate on that particular day—or of that exact block—you may experience a whole range of temperatures. Bring a sweater (or two).
8. Take advantage of San Francisco’s coffee and donuts! Blue Bottle Coffee is just a couple blocks away and Philz isn’t too far. SF has a Starbucks on every block, but these coffee houses brew each cup individually. Caffeine is a necessity to keep yourself energized throughout the conference. And If you are planning on staying out late, make sure to visit Bob’s Donuts on Polk street. They are open 24 hours but make donuts fresh at around 10pm. You won’t be disappointed, they are fantastic. I’m a regular!
9. Be organized! Map out all the sessions you are attending and the booths you want to visit. This year, a lot of the sessions are held outside of the Moscone Center at nearby hotels. Familiarize yourself with the area prior to the conference.
10. Make sure to check your social media and talk to DF alumni! Stay active with #DF12 and Dreamforce chatter for new recommendations while the conference is happening. As well as reach out and talk to DF alumni! Many of the FirstRain team are Dreamforce veterans and are helping me get #DF12ready.
And for those of you attending Dreamforce12, you can check out the full thread where I compiled all these great ideas, if you want even more great tips (and special thanks to Jeff Grosse for so many terriffic suggestions).
Dreamforce season is upon us! Attendees and Salesforce.com employees are talking about what they are wearing and not wearing (I really hope not!) to the event, the Dreamforce party app is hopping, SaaSy videos are going viral, animated gifs are turning up everywhere, sessions are filling up fast and rumors are flying around.
So what are we doing in preparation? Well, some hard work of course as we coordinate our booth (#1626), our customer session [360° of Excellence: How GE Capital Drives ROI Through Customer Intelligence], our team schedules and our client appointments—but also some fun, because that is how we roll here @FirstRain …
If you’ve been following @FirstRain or Penny, Ryan or myself on Twitter, you may have noticed we’ve been tweeting out about our new customer intelligence Tumblr: “You Had Me At Hello, Letters to Marc Benioff“, with a couple new posts a day.
So what exactly is it? You Had Me At Hello are letters directly from Penny to Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com’s CEO. They are ‘penned’ in Penny’s own voice—no marketing content editor behind the scenes—and are what our COO, YY Lee, recently called “like passing hallway notes between two CEOs”.
We have had a lot of positive feedback from our customers (including many who are mutual customers with Salesforce.com), along with many ”thanks for making me smile.” This ticks off our #1 objective as we all continue to be manically busy trying to prep for Dreamforce, deliver our updated AppExchange offering, work on a couple of new client SFDC implementations and continue to drive value to our customers rolling out tools like Sales Cloud.
Here are some highlighted posts from the Tumblr in the last week that might also make you smile:
View the full archive here.
I began a customer introduction the other day stating that I was a “recovering salesperson.” I have been in sales in one way or another for a long time and will always use the sales skills I have learned selling into the enterprise, regardless of what job role I am in. When working in a start-up like FirstRain everyone has to be a salesperson, so even as I lead Business Development, I am selling!
If you look (or if you have ever been subscribed to one of the hundreds of daily ‘sales’ newsletter), every day you can find a list of things to do to improve your sales game. Today I found this one on the Salesforce.com corporate blog: ‘10 Tips to Up Your Sales Game‘ written by Salesforce.com’s VP of Sales, Scott Keane. It got my attention because it is a list (remember the #1 top thing to do to drive blog traffic? People love lists, and just about any kind of list is bound to attract traffic. Top 10 lists, 5 things not to do, 3 reasons I love something, etc. Start with a number then take it from there).
These 10 tips are probably not new if you have been in sales for a while, but are still well worth a read for the refresher. If you follow through with these tips, they can certainly help you get more appointments, create more pipeline and close more deals.
Here at FirstRain we’ve observed that top performing sales and marketing teams deeply understand their customers’ business and their markets. For example, as we start a new client engagement that is focused on Sales we spend time up front learning about how that company sells, who they sell to and what customer intelligence will help them connect with their customer end-markets and achieve their revenue goals.
Our aim is to deliver intelligence tuned to their specific strategy, and our major account sales customers (as well as our own reps!) find that FirstRain helps them much more effectively achieve many Scott Keane’s best practices, such as …
4: Have a conversation - Who wants to sit and listen to someone talk about how great they are? The answer is “no one”, in case you’re wondering. With that in mind, don’t sell or “pitch” your product. Make conversations about the person you’re speaking with, and learn about them first, then about their company or issues.
6: Be prepared - Know who you are calling & why. You need to own the conversation and if you don’t have a reason for calling and can’t articulate the connection, any objection they give will throw you off your game
7: Be the expert - Know the industry terminology, trends, and key pain points. You want them to look to you for recommendations so make sure you can give those.
8: Do your research - Leverage internal and external resources to understand the company vision and priorities. This sets you apart from the other sales reps and allows you to build a relationship faster. They’ll look at you as a consultant and friend rather than a sales person.
9: Float like a butterfly – Be flexible like a boxer and adjust messaging based on the audience. Speak to what they care about most. For example, CEOs care about achieving growth objectives, outpacing competitors. CMOs on the other hand are concerned with pipeline generation, how to leverage social media, keeping costs as low as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about how FirstRain can deliver customer intelligence specifically tuned to your sales strategy drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever thought about how, when you are in a specific situation or have something very important on your mind, you begin to see it all around you? For example if you have ever been pregnant—ALL you see around you are other pregnant women, as if it were a global pregnancy epidemic! Last week Steven Feinberg visited our office and I learned about our brain’s reticular activating system (RAS), the part of the brain that recognizes patterns and “makes sense” of your experience. Your brain does this by looking for evidence to prove your beliefs—yes, the part of your brain that spots all those other pregnant women, or all the Mini Coopers on the road!
So maybe it is my reticular activating system acting up because it was another BIG Monday morning for Social Business Big Data in my content streams.
Here are some highlights:
“Why Big Data Will Deliver ROI For Social Business“ If you are at all interested or affected by social business, then you have probably heard of Dion Hinchcliffe, whose focus has been social business and next-gen enterprises working with some of the biggest companies out there. In this post in InformationWeek, he talks about driving forward very real business outcomes by harvesting the missing social business intelligence capability within most organizations. You can follow @dhinchcliffe for daily knowledge of social business.
“Business Intelligence (BI) Trends Go Beyond Analytics” on Forbes.com by SiliconANGLE’s Editor Kristen Nicole. This popped up on my radar because it mentioned what we are doing at FirstRain, by adding context to the data FirstRain finds and packaging it up for business use so a sales professional can immediately understand their customers.
“Why Context Matters—Forget Real-Time, Achieve Right-Time” this one goes back a couple of weeks but I just found it and, although it is B2C focused, had a key point that addresses the B2B Social Business harvesting of Big Data:
“Customers and employees only want engagement aligned with self interest. Relevancy of information is required for customers and employees to respond. Real-time interactions quickly evolve into noise. Signal to noise ratios must be improved as garbage in will lead to massive garbage out. In some cases, customers don’t want engagement. They just want the experience.“
“Can Data Science Save the US Economy?” Saroj Kar, takes a slightly different take on the importance of Big Data by focusing in on the data scientists:
“In recent months in the U.S. alone, large organizations, from staffing companies to universities, have seen a growing interest in a new professional class around data. A curious mix of business expertise, analysis and information technology, this new title is underway in various vertical markets such as energy, commerce, healthcare and financial services. And if experts are right, this is just the beginning.”
I found this article because it mentioned our CEO Penny Herscher’s recent TEDx talk on how “Coding is the New Literacy “. It not only highlights what we see in the marketplace as a real need for business skills but how FirstRain delivers (in doing the ’heavy-lifting’ of data analysis for business users) such value to our customers—of course we have a team full of data scientists ourselves!
Have you seen more articles on the subject that we should highlight? Tweet them to me @danielabarbosa
Image| Flickr| adopted raebrune
FirstRain India had another great team-building event this week! These events allow people from different departments to come together and team up to excel in an entirely different setting, and this was our first event since forming teams in June (you can read more about our team building events here). It was fun to see them in action!
For this event, each team nominated four members to work together and come up with a unique costume, made completely out of newspaper. They had 30 minutes to complete the project. One member of each team then modeled the costume for the entire FirstRain India Team. It was great to see the teams work closely together and come up with some fantastic ideas
By the end of the 30 minutes we had some great costumes, ranging from a tribal prince, to a queen, to an Indian mother (rooting for their Olympic athletes!). We voted on the best costume and it came down to Preeti (representing “Team Avengers” dressed as a modern Indian Woman) and Priyanker (representing “Team The Y-Nots” dressed as Eklavya). Priyankar received the most votes and the win went to “Team The Y-Nots”!
The event demonstrated our team’s creativity and efficiency, and was a lot of fun!