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Top 5 Learnings from Dreamforce Sponsors

In the weeks leading up to Dreamforce, we had the pleasure of hosting a cohort to help a handful of ISVs prepare for the biggest Salesforce event of the year. Best practices were shared, tips were provided and conversations brought together ISVs with different perspectives and goals. The team wanted to share just a few of the learnings that made Dreamforce a success for our cohort members. 


It’s all in the preparation

Whether you invest in a 10×10 booth or something larger, the investment in Dreamforce can be your largest company/marketing line item of the year.  And that’s before you add in the time investment for your sales, marketing and executive teams. Creating a solid game plan and thinking through each step for optimal success will mean that your onsite experience and post event wrap up wow your team, your customers and your prospects. 

Organizing booth staff trainings is key to get everyone aligned on the outcomes we are looking to achieve and how to handle different personas that visit the booth, we recommend two 1-hour sessions leading up to the event. Here is a list of go-to questions to open the conversation.


Your Dreamforce booth location matters

A solid booth location attracts good foot traffic and the right kind of audience. Our tips… 

  • Consider on the floor plan which clouds your app is best suited for and find space near there. For example, if you are a field service app, you’ll find more value near the Salesforce Service Cloud hosted area vs. Marketing Cloud.  

  • But don’t get too close to those product areas. Avoid facing directly at the Salesforce product area – these spaces are vast and tend to look empty. With so much space to walk around your booth could be missed. 

  • Pick a booth location up alongside a theater. Theaters attract large numbers of individuals throughout the day. Having a booth in these areas means you’ll attract folks before and after sessions. 

  • Look for rows of other ISV sponsors that create density of booth visitors as people seem to be drawn to seeing what crowds of people are looking at.

 

More isn’t better for booth staffing 

This should be good news – not every rep, SDR and marketing contact needs to be at Dreamforce and definitely doesn’t need to be in the booth. If you have a small 10×10 booth, limit it to 5 booth staff at the most. Any more you could see the customers and prospects being intimidated and overwhelmed. Your booth should be a welcoming space where customers and prospects can have a comfortable conversation. 

Think outside the booth 

A booth gives a company a ton of exposure, there is no doubt about that, but it isn’t the only way to participate at Dreamforce. For companies that don’t have the budget or want another way to engage while at Dreamforce consider meeting space alternatives. 

  • Dreamforce floor meeting space – if you have a booth, you can spend extra on a meeting room to host more personal meetings. 

  • Outside space – plenty of companies and SIs rent space outside of Moscone Center. DocuSign used to rent the W, FinancialForce takes up Fogo de Chao, Conga used to rent out Thirsty Bear before they shut down in 2021. These outside spaces give you room to create your own environment with meeting space, demo stations and elevated food options. They are also pricey so an alternative is to sponsor within one of these spaces for a fraction of the price. Ask your SI partners and tech partners if they are sponsoring an offsite space and if they are looking for sponsors. 

  • Dinners, breakfasts, walks and happy hours. There is no shortage of before and after hour events that you can host or co-host with other ISVs, tech partners and SIs. Take advantage of these lower cost options as stand alone or additive events. 

 

Do not stress about real-time follow up 

Dreamforce days start early and end late. It’s tempting to want to upload leads after each booth day to get ahead of follow up but know that your prospects and customers aren’t checking their email during the show. If they’re answering high priority emails from their boss, not emails from booths they visited. Give your team the break and plan follow up for the week after Dreamforce. Create the content and be ready when you return to the virtual office but don’t stress yourself out (or your team) getting things out during the show. Remember that you weren’t the only booth they visited at Dreamforce, so how can you stand out from your competition and other ISVs who are competing for mindshare/budget? Consider sending photos of the booth to remind them!


In closing

Dreamforce is an evolving event and it is anyone’s guess how it will look next year. One thing is for sure, Dreamforce will continue to be Salesforce’s marquee event and will be one of the largest pipeline building events of the year for ISVs in the Salesforce ecosystem.

The best way to start your 2023 preparation is to take time this next few weeks to reflect. Talk with your team and your executives about what worked, what didn’t and document ways to improve and to better prepare next year. Start small with a company survey about what worked, what didn’t and what could be better next year. Then have a smaller group dissect real updates vs. ones that aren’t relevant or within budget.

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