Every year San Francisco welcomes more than 170,000 people to what some consider the marketing technology version of Cannes: Dreamforce. As Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce offers inspiration, workshops, and detailed insights into how you can better succeed with the platform’s tools and integrations.

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Dreamforce 2018 National Park entrance

Four days included more than 2,000 sessions of tailored content for every industry, role, and company size. As a Platinum Salesforce Consulting Partner, DEG sends a team of associates each year to grow their knowledge, network, speak with clients, and bring back what they learn to implement into our practices and increase success for our clients.

Discover what resonated with us most at Dreamforce 2018.

Jenn Horner, Senior Relationship Marketing Specialist

As more new products are added to the @Salesforce Marketing Cloud suite, we’re getting closer to having a truly singular view of the customer.

Last week at Dreamforce, I saw new product offerings related to Marketing Cloud that will allow us as marketers to cut through the clutter and help brands stand out to their customers. DMP will help marketing teams keep their funnels filled with new customers. Interaction Studio will help brands identify actions that customers are taking to engage with them. This information can then be used to allow brands to customize the message and channel for their next communication touch point.

As more new products are being added to the Marketing Cloud suite, we’re getting closer and closer to having a truly singular view of the customer. It’s an exciting time to be a partner and customer of Salesforce — and I’m excited to put these new tools into action for our clients.

Cara Olson presenting with Piper LeJeune of The Salvation Army

McKayla Allinder, Business Analyst

My favorite session at Dreamforce 2018 was “Ladies Be Architects: Admins Can Become Architects Too.” I heard it was the highest-rated session for the day, and for good reason.

The session was led by three inspiring women, all seeking to become Certified Technical Architects (CTAs). This rare certification is achieved by completing many other required certifications, including System Architect and Application Architect, as well as passing a difficult Review Board exam.

What stunned me the most were the statistics around the CTA certification. There are only a few hundred CTAs in the world. One in 25 are women.

There are only a few hundred Certified Technical Architects in the world. 1 in 25 are women. That’s why the Ladies Be Architects group was created.

The speakers believe there are currently only 11 female CTAs in total, and they shared their inspiring journeys so far on the road toward this rare achievement.

The Ladies Be Architects group in the Trailblazer Community was created as a place for all people to gain and distribute knowledge, share experiences, and celebrate achievements.

At Dreamforce, I gained further knowledge on many products, viewed road maps, and came away with many ideas. As a woman continuing to work toward further certifications, I feel that attendance at this session and joining this group were two of my most valuable takeaways from the conference this year. I’m excited to see where I go from here.

Chelsea McDonald, Senior Social Media Strategist

Much like Dreamforce 2017, the buzz-worthy phrase heard in every session this year was, “the 4th industrial revolution.” It’s a term for the major industrial era we find ourselves in currently, characterized by the fusion of technologies, such as shopping and social media.

Many of the social media sessions at Dreamforce focused on everything from WeChat and social ROI to Social Customer Service automation and chatbots. There was also a heavy emphasis on the Customer 360, a new cross-cloud technology initiative that makes B2C marketing, commerce, and service products work better together. However, there was still no clear path for how to integrate social media into 360.

While Marketing Cloud journeys have an Ads Studio integration, most companies are still a long way away from seeing their customers’ social activity and information as part of their customer profile.

Salesforce Master Solution Engineer Iman Maghroori presenting about lead management

Drew Flowerday, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Dreamforce 2018 themes were consistent, with Einstein rearing his head in nearly every conversation. What stood out the most to me as a digital marketer was the level of focus on Account Based Marketing (ABM). While there are plenty of conversations about the new, shiny features for all of the clouds, strategic conversations for those interested in sales and marketing operations frequently touched on this notion of developing an ABM strategy, and how tools like Pardot and Sales Cloud can be leveraged to implement it.

With all the attention on ABM, one of the most refreshing pieces of advice was in Andrea Austin, VP of Nokia Software, and Tracy Eiler’s, CMO of InsideView, session “The Secrets to Driving Growth Through Aligning Sales & Marketing.” They offered that, as excited as everyone has been about ABM, don’t rush into it. You need to first make sure the fundamental elements, like data hygiene and clear targets, are in place before implementing an ABM program.

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David Adler, Salesforce CRM Consultant

We often hear about the promise of the fourth industrial revolution, and this year we’re starting to see the impacts in a tangible way. While bots are key and ever present, what is truly exciting is how Salesforce has taken various components of AI and is making it accessible to agents to better serve their customers.

Common for DEG clients is configuring and tweaking the knowledge keyword search to give agents access to the right article directly from the case. But with AI big data processing, you don’t have to choose, or hope the words match, as both context of the case and the article are analyzed for better recommendations. And that rock-star agent that somehow naturally knows what a customer needs? AI will learn from them, too.

Now, you can pull in more context of where the customer has already visited on your website — including self-service articles they’ve already read — and data, such as order history and status. In addition, with customer 360, you can pull in data from external sources, and the impact is endless.

At Dreamforce, we saw demos of how AI will be leveraged on commerce sites to use image search to recommend similar products that can change the way retail customers will interact with companies.

Learning about Marketing Cloud API integrations from Salesforce’s Sanjay Nagamangalam

Adam Spriggs, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Engineering Team Lead

Dreamforce 2018 was filled with many sessions focused on personalization and integrations that can help make the personalization of content better for your customers. This is an incredibly important topic.

Allen Hoem, product manager of Messaging Services at Salesforce, had an excellent session on the New Messaging APIs for Transactional Sending in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. He mentioned these could be used for integrations that send emails and SMS via the Marketing Cloud for improved reporting of delivery status.

As excited as everyone has been about ABM, don’t rush into it. You need to first make sure the fundamental elements are in place before implementing any program.

One of the most polished sessions I attended was “Interaction Studio: The Engine for True Personalization.” I learned that the Interaction Studio will be a top navigation-level product in the Marketing Cloud, helping you track customer engagements across multiple channels to connect with individuals at the right moment.

In the “Optimize Sitecore Content with Salesforce Marketing Cloud Campaigns” session, I got to see a similar demonstration of the Sitecore connector for Marketing Cloud that I saw at DEG earlier this year from our Sitecore friends. I learned that Marketing Cloud will eventually include data extensions with translated Sitecore behavioral data. This data can be used for coupons, segmentation, and as a driver for dynamic email content.

What was your favorite part of Dreamforce? Let us know in the comment section. And learn more about our Salesforce partnership.

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