Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Headlines from #DF13 @SanFrancisco

Dreamforce 2013 is now under way! The turnout is huge with over 130,000 registered and 350 exhibitors expected this year.

We kicked off the day with the French delegation where we heard Alex Dayon, President, Applications & Platform at speak about how the company intends to continue to drive its leadership position by:
  •          Listening to its customers
  •          Working with startups to create new possibilities
  •          Focusing on Mobility and Social with Chatter

Social networking is still a great focus with example of French beverage leader Pernaud Ricard, home to such leading brands as Absolute Vodka, Ballantine’s, Beefeater and Chivas, sharing how their 17,000 users use Chatter daily to share ideas and boost innovation.

Visitors were treated to hear futurist, Paul Saffo, discuss the history of consumption patterns and how value will be created in the economy.

Afterwards, we broke into working groups to brainstorm, using methodology developed by, with the aim of helping our customers solve their most important problems.

Lunch was held at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel where we enjoyed good food, networking opportunities and amazing view of the city.

One of the highlights of Dreamforce’s main session was Cracking the Code on Social Selling, which was moderated by’s Seema Kumar. Speakers included Mark Synek of Sales Benchmark Index, Ralf VonSosen of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, and Mari Anne Vanella of The Vanella Group.

Seema spoke about how social is cannibalizing the old ways of doing business.  In a time when 30% of Americans get their news on Facebook, Twitter raises $2.1B in an IPO, and social referrals exceed Google traffic, it’s getting harder to believe that “my customers aren’t on social networks.”    

Mark Synek noted how B2B customers are now making first contact with suppliers 57% of the way through their decision process.  Mark summed up the two choices clearly: 1. Stay with the "status quo" or 2. Embrace the trend. With the fact that 84% of B2B decisions makers begin the buying process with a referral, social selling makes a compelling argument.

LinkedIn’s Ralf VonSosen centered social selling on relationships - it's knowing who to talk to, what to say, and how to connect.  He recommended helping one of your first degree connections, without expectation of an immediate return. Steps like this increase the chances they'll help you with a referral or insights later on.

Mari Anne Vanella discussed how the buying cycle begins before your first meeting.  Today when a prospect calls you, they already know about you.  It's important to nurture with social until prospects are ready to engage.  Mari Anne also advised that it’s important for salespeople to take the initiative and start using social for pre-meeting research on prospects, weekly research on opportunities, and take the time to build your social presence, not just wait for your company.

Another highlight of the afternoon session was a Dreamforce session about Integration.

We also had the chance to see the beautiful Telsa Model S electric car being given away by one of the vendors.

The evening wound down at a local jazz club.

We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s big Saleforce1 (The Internet of Customers) announcement from Benioff.