I spent all of last week in San Francisco for Dreamforce ’11, the annual user and developer conference hosted by salesforce. Picture this: 45,000 people within a few square blocks of an already-crowded city. Not a parking spot to be found, and rush hour-esque traffic from 6am to 11pm all week long.
By day, attendees sipped free beer in tents on the sidewalk (effective event marketing from HubSpot), and watched Metallica and Alanis Morissette concerts by night. I attended breakout sessions from sales comp automation to social listening techniques, and even saw Eric Schmidt discuss Motorola and Steve Jobs. Disappointingly, he imbibed not even one Diet Coke while on stage.
However, the true highlight of my packed week, at least according to anyone here at PGi, was my introduction to salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Talk about serendipity‚ and a special thanks to Gerhard Gschwandtner for facilitating the meeting, as well as a discussion about video conferencing. But more on what Benioff thinks about iMeet in an upcoming post. For now, let’s just say I understand why Gerhard says serendipity sells.
Allow me to share what I thought about on my return trip home (apart from the fact that I was going to see my little man, Chase, after the longest time we’d ever been apart):
The predominant theme of #DF11 was integrating enterprises with social media to achieve not only a comprehensive, 360-degree view of customers and prospects, but also a more mobile workforce. It’s much like the shift from silent, black-and-white photos to a full color video camera. While the potential is immense and vibrant, the transition could take a while.
Recent years have shown explosive growth in the CRM space, and the opportunities (or should I say, app-ortunities?) are endless. But layer various social media options on top of the always-on technologies, and you’ll understand why sales reps report increasing difficulty in sustaining dialogue with their prospects. There’s too much noise.
Sales enablement means getting out of the bazaar and into a private room with your prospects. Yes, you must select a seamless technology suite. But much like a video camera lens, careful calibration of technology is not the end, but the means. What matters is the richness of the interaction that’s being captured.
Technology should augment the essence of your prospects.
Who’s in your lens?