Key takeaways from Dreamforce 2016
Now that we’re all back and settled after Dreamforce week, it’s time to talk about what we saw, what we learned, and even what awed us. The conference never fails to inspire, well beyond the realm of technology, and this year along with 170,000 other registered attendees, we walked away with new ways of perceiving our work, the future, and how technology affects the world.
Before we get to the key takeaways, it must be noted that at a conference this large there are so many “highlights” that no one would attempt to name them all. The following topics represent an extremely abbreviated and consolidated list of subjects that resonate with us as providers of customer feedback and engagement solutions that integrate with Salesforce.
Here are our key takeaways from this year’s Dreamforce event.
1. Marc Benioff takes change into his own hands. As usual, CEO Benioff set the gold standard for what it means to be more than just a business leader, but also a community leader and a person committed to using his influence to drive positive change. Of course he runs one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world, but DF16 attendees turn out in droves to hear him for more than just that.
Well known for putting philanthropic efforts at the core of Salesforce’s mission and for taking a strong stand on social issues, Benioff embodies passion (and actual plans) to improve the world beyond his own circle. He’s deeply inclusive and compassionate; he brings together others like him from varied disciplines such as music, art, and politics to emphasize the point that technology should be used ultimately not just to expedite business efficiency but to make the world work better.
Hats off to Benioff for so many things, but this year among them, introducing the company’s Chief Equality Officer and inviting U2 to the Dreamfest stage to increase AIDS awareness and to raise $10 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.
2. It’s still all about the customer. While Benioff outlined the five concepts that drive Salesforce’s development strategy — intelligence, speed, productivity, mobility and connectivity — it became clear that these concepts still revolve around one central premise: enable Salesforce customers to better understand and serve their customers. Dreamforce underscored that Salesforce continues to build a suite that strives to provide a 360-degree view of customers, greater connectivity, deeper collaboration, and more quality-focused relationships. Terms such as “customer lifecycle marketing” and “customer journey-building” were all over the place, which warms our hearts, as we’ve been beating this drum for years. With Clicktools and Salesforce, companies are empowered to collect and act on feedback across the entire, holistic journey — rather than envisioning partitioned, separate journeys handled by siloed departments. Thanks to Salesforce for their leadership in driving these conversations and ideas further forward. Additionally, we’ve formally launched an Engagement Solutions offering, working with our sibling organization Badgeville (also a CallidusCloud company) to deliver powerful gamification, digital motivation, and feedback solutions that integrate with Salesforce to increase loyalty, satisfaction, and advocacy. Take a hop on over to the CallidusCloud site to read more on our Engagement Solutions >.
3. We spotlighted our own customers. One of the highlights of #DF16 was the opportunity to host our own customer panel, “The New Rules of Loyalty,” which featured four Clicktools customers from HMH, YP.com, and Patheon. The session was moderated by our very own Jon Shalowitz, former Badgeville CEO, and current GM of CallidusCloud Engagement Solutions. The session allowed these customers to explain the increased efficiency, speed, and insights gained by integrating the Clicktools platform with Salesforce to transform feedback into action. We predict that several of these folks, as well as other Clicktools customers, will soon begin to incorporate Badgeville solutions into their technology mix to improve service and sales performance, and to further maximize the power of Salesforce using gamification and digital motivation. A big thanks again to our Dreamforce panelists for sharing their stories with the Salesforce community.
4. Salesforce urges its customers to trailblaze. One of the themes this year was to “be a trailblazer,” which ties into Salesforce’s Trailhead system — an extremely innovative online learning tool that teaches how to use Saleforce to users, admins, and developers alike. The systems sets “trails” as mini-courses that introduce and overview particular topics, laid out presumably the way a trail guide would lead someone through a large park. The trailblazing theme is much bigger than that though and Dreamforce made it clear that organizations can lead the way and change how we work with customers by adopting more pioneering attitudes and practices. For example, a trailblazing organization would ask for and analyze feedback not because CSAT is a required metric, but because the feedback program data can drive action and change within the organization.