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My Experiences as a Dreamforce Newbie in Product

 

Dreamforce 2015
Events
Salesforce’s annual extravaganza offers an incredible opportunity for four days of relentless learning, networking and face-to-face customer meetings. But with 135,000 attendees, 1,500+ break-out sessions and 500+ partner exhibits, it’s hard to know where to start particularly if you’re a first timer! I’m going to let you in on my Dreamforce experiences as a Senior Product Manager and give you all the top tips for surviving your first time.

On Arrival

Arriving at Dreamforce last year was like my first day at school. I picked up my pass, collected my new shiny Salesforce bag and enthusiastically booked myself into every possible session. But, much like your first day at school, a great idea in theory very quickly turned into a terrible one in practice. Sessions and meetings are based here, there and everywhere, so I was left to run around with minimal time to get from one location to the next. Therefore, I recommend that you put together a clear plan of action before you touchdown in San Francisco. Utilise Salesforce’s own Dreamforce builder to book yourself into all the different sessions and then list out those that you have to attend. You can find most of the material from a session you need online (if there isn’t a re-run of a session later in the week), so prioritise those that are the most critical and give yourself the opportunity to ask questions you wouldn’t get answers to online. That will then give you plenty of time to allow for those impromptu meetings.

Feedback

Dreamforce is an incredible opportunity, as a Product Manager, to put in some invaluable face time with your users and get some first hand feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly! It’s also a chance to show off what you’ve been working on behind the scenes. Ebsta is launching an incredible new product this year, so I’ll be focusing on sitting down with as many users as possible to make sure we’ve left no stone unturned! Dreamforce networking is important so be sure to do it well and use it to your advantage. Be sure to document everything as you go. It’s easy to get overloaded with information at Dreamforce and forget critical details, so make sure you always have your pen and paper handy and take notes diligently (with enough detail so they make sense when you next read them in the office).

Understanding the Market

Dreamforce has over 500 partners showcasing everything they’ve been working on so it’s a Product Manager’s playground when it comes to understanding the latest industry trends and technologies. Take the time to walk around the exhibits and listen to the different demos. Keep note of the most popular ones (to see whether they really had an amazing product or just some incredible swag) and anything you enjoyed about various sales pitches and marketing material (this can serve as a great source of inspiration at a later date). It’s a great place for you to get your products out there like Ebsta with our new Salesforce Email Integration Revolutionised at Dreamforce 2015.

Ongoing Workload

It’s vitally important that you share insights gleamed from your day with the rest of the team: What feedback did we get? What were the key lessons learned? What unanswered questions do we have? What meetings have we got booked in? The best thing to do is regroup with everyone at the end of the day. This will ensure everyone is fully up-to-speed and focused on getting the most out of their next day at Dreamforce. I also took the time to share my thoughts with those who weren’t at Dreamforce so they could start acting upon insights straight away. Whether it’s marketing sending out an email or a new idea for a product feature, it will help towards getting the most out of your experience. It’s important to remember that things don’t stop when Dreamforce does! So when you get back to the office, make sure you have a strategy for follow-ups with everyone you met and keep them updated with your product developments. You’ll find that Dreamforce was a far more advantageous time that you first anticipated. Don’t forget to book your meeting with the Ebsta team at Dreamforce at dreamforce.ebsta.com for our exciting new product launch!

Daniel Remedios

I'm the Senior Product Manager at Ebsta responsible for product strategy, and overseeing Customer Success. I'm always interested in getting feedback from our users, so feel free to email me on daniel@ebsta.com with your comments.

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