My 4 Big Takeaways from Dreamforce 2012
As I look back at Dreamforce 2012, it is very clear that Salesforce.com is a very different kind of company. A couple of things are very evident about the company named the Most Innovative Company for the past 2 years by Forbes – they know how to have fun and they take customer satisfaction to a level few other companies can dream of. Here are my four big takeaways from this year’s Dreamforce:
1. Salesforce sets the bar for all other conferences
With presentations from heads of state to performances by legitimate rock stars, Salesforce ensured that this year’s nearly 90,000 attendees had plenty to keep them engaged throughout the conference. From the feature film quality intro to Marc Benioff’s opening keynote to the Red Hot Chili Peppers performance complete with video projected onto San Francisco’s City Hall, the show often felt more like a rock concert than a corporate event.
Make no mistake though, amidst the buzz and excitement of some of these marquee moments, the conference was very much about Salesforce’s business, products and vision. Keynotes from General Colin Powell, Sir Richard Branson and Tony Robbins as well as a schedule packed full with breakout sessions provided attendees with professional insights and endless ideas to further leverage their Salesforce.com investments.
2. Salesforce takes care of customers
Each year, Dreamforce feels like the manifestation of a company that truly values its customers. It’s impressive to see an organization that has grown to such immense size but managed to maintain such a customer-centric culture. The dedication to customers can be seen throughout the year at Cloudforce and Customer Success events. Maybe most surprisingly, it can even be seen in the company’s org chart.
I’m always surprised to see the number of Customer Success Managers and Account Executives stopping by the partner booths in the Expo Hall genuinely interested in how the technologies and applications could potentially help their customers. It seems that Salesforce.com managed to not only pioneer the subscription software model but simultaneously master the art of driving customer success and renewals required by the model.
3. Adoption is still an issue
As strong as the Salesforce brand is and as focused as the organization is on customer success, one thing became very clear in my conversations with hundreds of customers on the expo floor – customers are still struggling with adoption. While most keynote presentations understandably looked forward to what could be possible with industry-leading technology, most customers seemed to still struggle with the age old questions – How do I get people to use the system? How do I get people to fill out all the fields I need to run my business?
This was very exciting for us here at Bunchball and we saw a ton of interest in our Nitro for Salesforce offering focused on driving adoption, driving data quality and driving the types of behaviors important to the business.
4. Social is huge…and doesn’t make adoption any easier
Salesforce has clearly moved all in on their goal to bring social into the enterprise. The continued focus on Chatter was only amplified by the addition of multiple social acquisitions the company has made since the last Dreamforce. However, as anyone who has tried building a social network can attest, adoption is far from guaranteed when it comes to social.
The entire value of a social application rises and falls directly in line with the activity levels on the system. As you can imagine, this is very good news for us here at Bunchball. We have found that anywhere someone is trying to build a community is a perfect opportunity to leverage our application to drive the types of results they are looking for.
Like most attendees, we here at Bunchball left Dreamforce extremely energized and excited for the future direction of enterprise software. It was exciting to see the grand visions presented throughout the week and hear so much validation that our offering provided a key component to help organizations realize those visions.