by Michael Idinopulos
on October 14, 2014

My Dreamforce: Day 1 at #DF14

If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know what it’s like to look out on something so large, so vast that you simply can’t wrap your mind around its size. You can’t help but focus on some small corner of it, some piece that’s comprehensible. That’s the only way to make sense of your experience.

That’s the way I feel here at Dreamforce. The lineup of speakers, meetings, panels, old friends, new friends, customers, prospects, partners, analysts, exhibitors, luminaries is so dazzlingly vast that the mind is forced to focus on whatever and whomever it can wrap itself around. I saw Hillary Clinton on a big screen in Yerba Buena, so apparently she’s here. There are rumors that some guy named Marc Benioff will be on a stage somewhere. This event is so big that it has to be televised, even to itself.

I can’t really blog about what’s going on at Dreamforce as a whole because no one can. But let me tell you some of the highlights of my Dreamforce, my little corner of Dreamforce, Day 1.

Here’s the readers’ digest version of what I learned yesterday:

  • Dreamforce lives up to its hype
  • Social selling is all about adoption
  • People love Tastykakes

So what did I actually do yesterday? Here are the details.

Moderated an Awesome Customer Panel

It’s a cliché, but like most clichés it’s true: we do what we do in order to serve our customers. On yesterday’s panel I had the pleasure and honor of standing with a few of those customers as they told their stories to a Dreamforce audience.

The topic was “Social Selling Starts with CRM” and what can I say? They rocked it.

Philip Grosch from PwC Canada spoke eloquently about the need for CRM integration in order to scale social selling adoption in the enterprise. (Is he really that smart, or does the Johannesburg accent give him an advantage?) Lisa Natalicchio shared how State Street launched its social business program in direct response to the Occupy Wall Street movement (Who couldn’t a love a bank that has Lisa running its social media program?). Qlik’s Christopher Milas shared first-hand experiences about the challenges of getting through to “legacy sales people”, a phrase immediately adopted by the rest of the panel. And Mark Waxman, buoyant and brilliant, talked about CRM’s relationship to another important 3-letter acronym in social selling: ROI.

I’ve sat through a lot of panels in my day, and I’ll wager there wasn’t a better one at Dreamforce.

Talked to a LOT of people on the Expo Floor

Holy God what an expo floor! We were on our feet all day from 12-8 p.m. The flow never let up. And when I say never I mean, well, never. According to our booth scanners, we talked with over 200 people yesterday afternoon.

What brought all those people to our booth? I’m sure our awesome product, searing intellect, and stunning good looks had a lot do with it.

Or maybe it was the Tastykakes. We’re steadily working our way through our stash of 1,000+ Tastykakes. Even at Dreamforce, people love Tastykakes! Here’s my very scientific study of Dreamforce attendees response to our offer of free Tastykakes:

  • 24% responded “Oh my God, are you serious? I LOVE Tastykakes?”
  • 27% responded “Those look good. Can I have one?”
  • 49% responded “Those look bad for my diet. Tell me what PeopleLinx does?”

In all three cases, we’re having great conversations.

Most important, people “get it”. They see the power of social selling, they agree that adoption is a big challenge, and they love the idea of an automated social selling to-do list that makes it really easy for reps to take the right actions.

Caught up with present (and future) old friends

Of course the best part of the day was, predictably, the 1-1 conversations I had with the folks who are here: Running into Kurt Shaver in the (long) line to register, unwinding with Chris Milas and Mark Waxman in the swanky and historic Palace Hotel, sharing a nice cabernet with my friend and mentor Tony Nemelka, devouring oysters with Nathan Egan and Phil Grosch in the Mission, strolling SOMA with Srin Tangirala and catching up on six years of missed stories, trading jabs with Lena Keares, Alex Turner, Kevin O’Nell in the PeopleLinx booth. And those are just the conversations I can remember at this moment.

They’re all old friends, or will be someday. Just spending time with them was worth the price of admission.

Follow along with @PeopleLinx on Twitter as we journal our Dreamforce experience. 

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