Dreamforce 2012 is fast approaching and this year’s stellar lineup of keynotes and panels looks incredible. As you dig in and start to plan for the cloud marketing event of the year, we have put together some tips for #DF12. We asked a number of Salesforce MVP’s and Dreamforce veterans for their top tips for making the most of this year’s event. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, below is a fantastic list of tips, or refreshers for the pros.
1. Utilize the Dreamforce App (Tweet this)– Find a group in the Dreamforce App that you find appealing and get involved prior to arriving so that you can find a friendly face in the crowd. For example, The Girly Geeks Happy Hour group is having an event on Monday evening to give women attendees the opportunity to connect. There will be a discussion panel featuring women who work in and around the Salesforce community followed by social time (i.e. wine)! This year there will also be a special “Women in Tech” track that will highlight sessions which are of particular interest to ladies working in our industry.
– Geraldine Gray, Senior Consultant, Appirio
2. Have a plan (Tweet this) – Every morning, look at the agenda, parties, networking invites, expos, sessions, etc. then ask yourself this question: “Six months from now, am I going to regret it if I don’t attend this today?” Star those items that you think are worth attending. Try to limit it to no more than 3 things, whether it’s meeting someone, attending a session or keynote, or going to a party. Schedule everything else around those items so if you happen to miss a session you can still do something you selected that morning. In the end, you’ll be able to look back and know you got something valuable out of each day of Dreamforce. You won’t be able to do it all.
– Judi Sohn, Senior Client Success Specialist, Common Ground
3. Wear comfortable shoes (Tweet this) – While San Francisco is a very fashion forward city, being comfortable is the order of the day. You’ll be glad you looked a bit odd in your sneakers because your feet will be grateful!
– Amber Niell, Senior Business Analyst at Red Hat.
4. Take a networking break from networking (Tweet this) – Get out of Moscone for a bit, grab some new Dreamforce friends, and have a beer! There are a couple of great breweries within walking distance of Moscone Center, namely Thirsty Bear and 21st Amendment (21st Amendment in particular is a common MVP watering hole during Dreamforce). If you’re into something a little stronger, you’ll find great margaritas at Tropisueno, fancy cocktails at Zero Zero, and scads of different scotches, bourbons, and other whiskeys at Whiskey Thieves (which is cash-only btw).
– Marco Casalaina, VP of Product Management, KXEN
5. Choose your sessions wisely (Tweet this) – Pick out the most important sessions to attend and leave the rest to view on YouTube later. Also, introduce yourself and start conversations. Everyone there wants to meet new people, so try and be the one to initiate conversation. You’ll never regret it! Additionally, be sure to collaborate in the Dreamforce Chatter app as it’s a very active, vibrant social network! Lastly, carry a small power adapter with you and offer others to use it while you’re charging up your devices!
– Scott Hemmeter, CEO/ Founder, Arrowpointe
6. Keynotes are not to be missed (Tweet this) – Plan to be at all the keynotes because they are very inspirational and eye opening, the energy is absolutely contagious. All the breakout sessions can be watched later on YouTube.
– Justin Edelstein, Founder, Chief Info Officer, Arkus Inc.
7. Book your sessions early (Tweet this) – Sessions get booked up very quickly so make sure you schedule these ahead of time. The hands on classes are particularly popular and extremely helpful. Always carry an umbrella with you as there is a lot of walking and in San Francisco, you just don’t know when it’s going to rain. I was caught in it last year without an umbrella, which was not so pretty!
– Meryl Flynn, Senior Salesforce Consultant, Synaptic Advisory Parnters
8. Stay tactical and practical (Tweet this) – Be sure to carry an extra battery pack for your phone or iPad. Take notes regarding the session logins and passwords for the workshops you attend (they are active for a week and give you a good opportunity to revisit what you learned). Try and gather as many workbooks as you can and take time for yourself by spending at least 10 to 15 minutes each day on a bean bag. And finally, smile and say hi to everyone!
– Deepa Petal, President, Halak Consulting LLC
9. Stay light on your feet and be agile (Tweet this) – Remember you will be on your feet for what will feel like days, so only bring the lightest and most key technology. Leave the laptop in the hotel and stick to a smart phone or tablet. Before you load up on every piece of material or booth giveaways, know you will be carrying it around for the rest of the day. Take things in the afternoon before you head back to the hotel to drop them all off. The expo can be extremely overwhelming with over 300 booths, so spend some time in the Dreamforce portal picking out what booths you want to go see, make a list, set aside the time and check them off as you go.
– Jason Atwood, COO, Arkus
10. Don’t be shy (Tweet this) – Proactively engage with different people. The connections you make at Dreamforce will have an impact on how you run your business. If you are going with co-workers, try leaving them while you are on the expo floor, or during birds of a feather events. To truly branch out you need to leave your comfort zone. If you are a little shy, make it a game. A former boss of mine and I went to a Dreamforce together in the past. We split apart and made a game of who could get more business cards by the end of the day. Many of those connections turned out to be valuable. Also – there are a ton of events going on during Dreamforce. Partners sponsor events, Salesforce sponsors events – it never hurts to make some connections to find out what is happening during Dreamforce. Also, Dreamforce might be the best place to get some free consulting advice. Pick a consulting partner and ask some questions!
– Andrew Gross, Senior Consultant, Bluewolf.
11. Aim high and think big (Tweet this) – Sign up for sessions that are above where you think your skills are. Chances are you know more than you think and the more advanced tips and solutions that you can learn, the better you will be when you get home. And be outgoing! Dreamforce is big, fast, and it will return to you everything you put into it. Say hello, tell a joke, share a story or a tip, and sign up for everything you can – you won’t regret it.
– Jared Miller, Senior Project Manager, Configero
Have any tips to add? Please join the conversation in the comment section. Also, be sure to check out Marketo’s Dreamforce party line-up!