That's a wrap! Dreamforce 2019 ended a couple of months ago, but as we learned from interviews with seven leading sponsors below, it's never too early to start planning for the biggest b2b event of the year.
With competition rising ever higher for attendee time & attention, it's no wonder that Dreamforce planning is truly a year-round sport.
Dreamforce 2019 Innovator Sponsor
OwnBackup is a leading cloud backup and restore vendor. Dreamforce 2019 was OwnBackup’s fifth time exhibiting at the show. The company significantly increased its presence in 2019, with the OwnBackup Boardwalk, Beach and Arcade, a trio of eye-catching booths in strategic locations around the exhibit floor.
OwnBack also went beyond the booth, placing speakers in 15 sessions and sponsoring over 30 offsite events at Dreamforce 2019, including the 5th Annual Dreamforce Charity Poker Night. This sold-out event raised almost $50,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
“Dreamforce is our Super Bowl,” says Steve Malone, Director of Demand Generation at OwnBackup. “It is by far the largest portion of our annual marketing plan and makes up a significant portion of our investment. This event will significantly fuel our Q4 2019 along with 2020 and beyond.”
Steve and his team at OwnBackup started planning for Dreamforce almost immediately after last year’s event. “We began planning with a retrospective a week later, then kicked off the process of planning our theme and offsite venue in the weeks following.”
With a team of 71 on-site staff, OwnBackup generated thousands of sales leads and meetings at Dreamforce 2019, building on a process of continuous year-over-year improvement. “We took learnings from our Dreamforce '17 and '18 retrospective meetings, which included internal and external feedback,” Steve says. “These retrospectives are designed to help us manage Dreamforce bigger and better each year.”
High level planning turned into execution for much of the 6 months leading into the event. “Ensuring every detail of these kinds of events can be challenging. The most rewarding part is when all the pieces come together and the event turns out amazingly.”
Dreamforce 2019 Explorer Sponsor
Xactly provides cloud-based incentive compensation solutions for employee and sales performance management. The company has been a Dreamforce sponsor since the very first Dreamforce, way back in 2005.
Pulling from 14 years of Dreamforce sponsorship experience, Xactly’s engagement strategy utilizes an “all hands on deck” approach and a polished meetings venue to efficiently drive pipeline. Erik W. Charles, VP, Solutions Evangelist at Xactly, says events and in-person meetings help Xactly build stronger relationships with customers, especially as our economy moves toward more of a subscription basis, where customers renew their relationship with brands at every touchpoint.
We do about a dozen events per year, “ says Erik W. Charles, VP, Solutions Evangelist at Xactly, “and Dreamforce is the biggest.”
Walking a block up Mission Street from the Dreamforce Campus, attendees could not miss Xactly’s full building transformation of the SPUR Urban Center into the Xactly Loves Me Lounge. The company hired an events agency to design and install a complete, temporary rebranding of the three-story LEED Certified building and interiors, including a lounge, bar and meeting rooms.
Erik brought 75 members of the Xactly sales team, as well as a full slate of company executives, to Dreamforce for back-to-back meetings with prospects and customers over five days. “It’s really expensive to be at Dreamforce,” Erik says, “but it’s a lot cheaper to bring in all my executives into a one-hour meeting at Dreamforce and then move onto the next one than to fly them from San Jose, CA to Rochester, NY for a two-hour meeting.”
As might be expected from a performance management solutions provider, Erik maintains meticulous accounting of his ROI from Dreamforce and across his events portfolio, taking both sales influence and costs into consideration. Though Erik admits that attribution modeling is “still a dark art in the industry,” he utilizes Salesforce Campaigns to track the influence of events and in-person meetings on opportunities and revenue, and uses this insight to evaluate his event marketing investments year-to-year.
Dreamforce 2019 Navigator Sponsor
Traction on Demand develops innovative cloud technology solutions for North America’s largest and most influential brands and hundreds of non-profit organizations. In the week before Dreamforce, as they have for the past seven years of the event, team members from Traction on Demand took a nearly 800-mile road trip, from the company’s Vancouver headquarters all the way down to San Francisco, on the Bandit Tour for Good. This year, the “Bandits” drove a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The team of 20 provided pro-bono Salesforce services to local nonprofits and committed “Bandit Acts of Kindness” in communities along the way. “Dreamforce is where we connect with our customers, our partners and the general Salesforce community. We actually drive a ton of our business and business relationships over those 4 days,” said Chris Peacock, Chief Marketing Officer at the company.
Traction on Demand fully subscribes to the Salesforce Trailhead approach to community and used badges, accreditations and certifications to inspire and influence. At Dreamforce, a team of 108 Bandits wore denim jackets adorned with badges and themed their booth to match the ‘80s heavy metal Trans Am aesthetic. "Each badge created was a teaser for a Traction on Demand story,” Chris says. “Our mission was to peak people's curiosity and have them ask us about the story behind the badge. The result was the start of a conversation and a connection."
In addition to exhibitor space, Traction on Demand rented out two nearby venues, Swig Whiskey Bar and a classic diner, where the team got to break bread with people they met at the event. ”A lot of organizations at Dreamforce are focused on grabbing the highest number of leads and getting tons of data so they can hammer people with marketing follow up. We really take a different approach to Dreamforce, which is to create higher quality connections. The objective is not only making new connections for ourselves, but also to leverage what we know of the ecosystem to connect others. Our ultimate Dreamforce mission is to create community."