Another year and another Salesforce World Tour has flown by! 

It was an action packed day filed with so many people I wanted to see and so much content I wanted to absorb. It left me, and many of the people I met at the event, crying out for this to run over two days (at least) moving forward!

The event, like last year, was sold out weeks in advance, with 12,500 buzzing around the Excel, whilst many more were watching online. I hope all the talks will soon be available online as there were multiple session clashes, with 8/9 topics on at any one time! Decisions, decisions! Additionally, if you weren’t at a talk at least 10 minutes early, you were probably going to be too far away from the speakers to hear what was actually being said!

Here’s a brief overview of what I did manage to attend (and hear).

“A Marketer’s Guide for Success with Marketing Cloud” – Dan Sykes

Dan’s opening story was about how popular Marketing Cloud has been over the last 6/12 months: “wow, a lot of people want to know about Marketing Cloud”. Dan spoke about how journeys and journey mapping allows brands "the ability to connect with their customers real time and cross channel”. He demonstrated how journey builder creates an omni channel experience allowing you to reach your customers via email, social ads, SMS etc.

Some key messages from his session were:

  • Set goals & KPI’s – Every journey requires a purpose and this enables you to track your progress real time.
  • Understand your data – how will you use it to guide decisions?
  • Think about what you want your customers to think, feel and do.
  • Agree omnichannels – is mobile too invasive to your customers?

“We Are All Trailblazers” – Simon Mulcahy (Keynote)

As is customary, the keynote was packed with facts, stats, individual and customer success stories. Some interesting snippets that i picked up included: 

1. It's been widely acknowledged that we are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; It is marked by emerging technologies such as robotics, AI, biotech, blockchain etc. but Andy Lawson, Salesforce EMEA VP, argued that it’s also the customer revolution

In this increasing technological world we live in, there’s so many products out there, the availability of technology solutions is not the issue, it’s the customers that are the problem and the ones who demand to be at the centre of the decision making processes. It’s vital that companies understand and engage with their customers.

The case study of Ulster Bank epitomised this importance. They changed to a model of putting the customer at the heart of what they do and have used Salesforce to transform customer success and become a profit making business. You can hear more about their Salesforce journey here.

2. In my job as a recruiter (for my sins), I couldn't help but be excited by the facts shown by IDC's review of Salesforce. 3.3 million new Salesforce related jobs by 2022, 2 of the top 10 jobs in 2017 were "Salesforce Administrator" and "Salesforce Developer". When asked to produce intelligence on how big and diverse the Salesforce eco-system is, IDC concluded: "You don't have an eco-system, you have an economy!"

3. We also heard about some new features. I was particularly interested about Conversational Queries, which I understand is now live. You can find out more here.

4. A special mention must also go to the feature on ASTRiid – a charity established to tap into the invisible talent pool and connect businesses with individuals who have long term health problems. 100,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year, and 57% of people lost their jobs. David Shutts (ASTRiiD CEO) and his team have pioneered a project demonstrating that life is not over at diagnosis and that people can be, and want to be highly valuable employees. Read more about ASTRiid here.

 “How Salesforce CPQ Brought Visibility & Control to Sales” – Amanda Beard-Neilson

Another hot application, Amanda demonstrated how the old “process” pre CPQ increased human responsibility and reduced automation. This led to too many touch points, fractured systems, no end-to-end view, poor processes and no clarity of what was sold.

Amanda’s top tips for success with CPQ included:

  • The role of the executive sponsor – this is a massive change for your business and you need them to champion your corner and be committed to supporting you.
  • Have a strategy/roadmap. Where are you going with this? She also advised you think about your data strategy at the start, rather than the end of the project.
  • Consider your stakeholders – they are the ones using the system. What’s their availability for UAT and show & tells? How can you ensure they will be engaged and therefore positively effect adoption?
  • Don’t bring all your legacy information with you – CPQ won’t be able to cope!
  • Make sure you understand CPQ as a product and it’s strength and limitations. It’s a sales tool not a content management tool.
  • Think about your customer- tailor the solution to their needs!

I’d be interested to hear from individuals who managed to attend sessions on Lightning and Einstein to trade notes – these were two topic areas I was particularly keen to hear more about. I’m already looking forward to next year (and hopefully two days of World Tour), but first, Dreamforce…