Dreamforce 2021: Day 1 Recap

Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual event that brings together the entire Salesforce community, is underway, live in San Francisco and virtually across the globe on the new Salesforce+ streaming platform.

If you’re part of the Salesforce ecosystem, Dreamforce is THE can’t-miss event every single year, where “Trailblazers” from around the globe congregate to share their trials, tribulations and successes; learn from one another; and network.

Day One is in the books. Below are some of the highlights. 

Welcome to the Trusted Enterprise

After a rousing start facilitated by Leah McGowan-Hare, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff took to the stage to give his annual keynote address. Much of it is the same, year after year, and Benioff suggested as much, stating the audience could probably present much of it from memory. 

From a business perspective, Salesforce is crushing it, again. But, as Benioff stressed, it’s not enough for the company to be doing well. It needs to be doing good too. 

That was the segue into the meat of Benioff’s keynote, Building the Trusted Enterprise. In the speech, within the context of our greatly changed world of the past year and a half, Benioff spoke to the changes of the Trailblazer community, and driving the transformation to, and the evolution of, the trusted enterprise. 

Collectively, we’re in a crisis of trust. There’s the pandemic, of course, and that crisis has spawned a workplace crisis, with resignations and relocations leading the charge. Also related to the pandemic is an equality crisis, as data shows the pandemic has not impacted all communities the same (e.g., women losing jobs in the pandemic at the rate of 1.8x over men). Finally, there’s the sustainability crisis. 

But, as Benioff shared, business can be the biggest platform for positive change. In an era when citizens are losing faith and trust in their governments, 61 percent trust business, more than the percentage for any other institution (Edelman Trust Barometer 2021). 

The Salesforce message: You might not be able to do everything, but you can do something.

The playbook starts with trust and is quickly followed by being customer-first. From there, the layer cake requires the building of a digital headquarters for everyone in the organization to be present, health and safety, and sustainability. Of course, SFDC can help in all regards, empowering businesses to develop direct, trusted relationships with their customers. 

Salesforce President & COO Bret Taylor then followed up Benioff’s “what” with examples of “how,” featuring trailblazers from Mercedes Benz, IBM and Engie.

We’ve moved to an all-digital world, and we don’t seem to be going back, ever. The nature of work hasn’t changed. But what has changed is where and how we work, and with whom. 

Ending the keynote, Grammy-winner Lionel Richie killed it with an engaging performance of Easy (Like Sunday Morning) and Say You, Say Me. 

Grow Moments into Relationships with Slack-First Marketing

This season was facilitated by Michael Kostow, EVP & GM, Marketing Cloud, who brought up the importance of checking out SFDC’s annual State of Marketing report. This year, one of the most interesting statistics in the report is that 78 percent of marketers surveyed reported they had adopted new technology during the pandemic. 

The tech stack, however, needs to be seamlessly integrated, providing a single source of truth about customers. That reliable, scalable source allows an organization to develop intelligent conversations with customers as people, not data.

Embed Sustainability at the Core of Business with Salesforce

Farshad Family of Accenture led a fast-paced presentation on the growing importance of sustainability, the challenge associated with an initiative and how Accenture attempts to work on the issue with its clients. 

Accenture shared that 73 percent of CEOs believe sustainability is critical for the ongoing success of their enterprises. There’s lots of stakeholders involved too, including employees, consumers, investors and the government. 

How important is sustainability? On the investor front, it’s expected that the dollar value of assets under management in verified, sustainable companies will double in the next five years. The old adage, “follow the money” has never been more true. Sustainability transformation is likely to be as big, or even bigger, than the recent digital transformation of business and society.

Sustainability has a big impact on the bottom line, too. Sustainable companies, from 2017-2020, averaged 21 percent higher EBITDA margins. Family kind of switched up Benioff’s quote in the morning, saying, “It’s not about just doing good, but doing well.”

Accenture’s go-forward plan for clients include:

  • Establish the fact base
  • Build environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting capable
  • Embed ESG KPIs in workflows

Career Advancement in the Salesforce Ecosystem

The SFDC ecosystem is all about us, the Trailblazer community. Get engaged and connect with your fellow trailblazers who are where you want to be; ask, listen, learn, and pay it forward by sharing.

The community is there to support you. But, it takes you to start!

The New Sales Playbook to Accelerate Growth from Anywhere

The past eighteen months have certainly been … different. Some businesses have prospered. Others have folded. Most have had more than their usual share of troubles. Now’s the time to return to growth, bringing opportunities to all stakeholders, customers included.

We live in a “from anywhere” world, where we work, live and have fun anywhere. It requires transforming the Sales function to be digital-first, across all channels and touchpoints. 

This session featured recent Emmy winner Jason Sudeikis, he of television’s favorite American football turned soccer coach, Ted Lasso. Jason shared some Ted Lasso-inspired coaching tips for all Sales leaders. First, all of yourself as much as anyone on the team. Secondly, coach individuals to succeed within themselves, with humanity and empathy. 

On his show, everyone is allowed to pitch ideas. The best idea wins. It takes trust in people and the process, and it leads to winning. 

Words of wisdom for all Sales leaders.

Then, to finish off the day, Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters got busy with Einstein the his buddies.

Can’t wait to see what Day Two brings!

  • DF21
  • Dreamforce 2021
  • Salesforce
  • SFDC
About the Author
Ray Hartjen

Ray Hartjen is an experienced writer for the tech industry and published author. You can connect with Ray on both LinkedIn & Twitter.