How do you Dreamforce? The experts' guide to DF18

Kelli Blystone

July 20, 2018

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It doesn’t matter if you’re planning your first or fifth Dreamforce: the key to a successful experience is in the planning. The four-day event is an undertaking for novices and experts alike, so having a clear plan and objective before you head to San Francisco is crucial. We sat down with three seasoned Dreamforce attendees to get first-hand advice on how to make the most out of your 2018 experience!

Katy Engebretson, Partnership Alliances & Sales Operations Manager at Penrod; Dominic Ionadi, Salesforce Consultant, IT & Business Solutions at Burgundy Asset Management; and Conga’s own Peter Terhune, Salesforce Technical Evangelist and 10-year Dreamforce attendee all commented on their best Dreamforce experiences, what not to miss, and what to avoid. Read on for a few of our favorite tips, and be sure to check out the full recording of the webinar to hear straight from the experts.

What’s the most valuable aspect of Dreamforce?

All three of our experts agreed that Dreamforce is one of the best networking events of the year. It brings all of the players in the Salesforce ecosystem together, creating an opportunity for face-to-face interactions with people you might not normally encounter on a regular basis. Dominic also pointed out that it offers a chance to engage with people in the Salesforce community beyond your immediate industry. Peter recommends striking up conversations with others while waiting in line for breakout sessions. Chances are, you’re all looking to solve the same types of business problems or at the very least interested in similar topics, and could form valuable relationships for future situations post-Dreamforce.

What should attendees try to avoid at Dreamforce?

Our panelists were unanimous in their advice for what to actively avoid: the Dreamforce burnout. At a four-day event with 2,700 sessions to choose from, late-night parties, and endless networking, it’s easy to see how one might overexert themselves at Dreamforce. “You won’t make it to Wednesday if you try to cram too much into your days,” cautions Dominic. Peter recommends highlighting a few key activities you want to attend in the morning and late afternoon, and leaving the middle of your day open for a chance to relax, refresh, and network. “Most sessions are recorded, so it’s not the end of the world if you miss a session you were interested in attending,” he says. In short, don’t try to schedule yourself for every minute of the four days—your personal health will thank you for it!

How do you prioritize your schedule?

The best place to start when prioritizing your time at Dreamforce is with a focused, goal-driven agenda. Katy recommends utilizing the agenda builder in the Dreamforce app to make your life easier. “Consider your role, industry, and level of experience to create your objectives,” says Dominic. “Figure out what you want to accomplish and build your agenda around that. Don’t be afraid to lean on your Salesforce account manager to help you create an ideal plan as well.” To really get the most out of your time, Peter suggested opting for some of the longer, hands-on sessions in place of some of the lectures. While some may require you to commit to a three-hour endeavor, he believes they provide some of the most valuable takeaways of the conference. “The hands-on sessions offer tactical knowledge, where you will actually work through a solution in real-time with the experts,” he says.

Any tips, tricks, or final advice for Dreamforce newbies?

Peter strongly encourages all Dreamforce attendees—not just newbies—to invest in compression socks for the event. “Compression socks save lives,” he says. “Keeping the blood flowing in your legs is critical—some days you might be walking north of 50,000 steps!” Katy recommends utilizing a map of Moscone as you walk through the conference, to save time and ensure you make it to all of the sessions and booths you want to visit throughout the week. She also included a piece of sage advice: you don’t have to take all of the swag that’s offered to you! Otherwise you might end up needing an extra suitcase for the trip home just to transport all of your goodies (something Peter actually recommends doing).

On the technology front, Dominic urges attendees to bring a portable battery or charging stick for your phone—this tool will become indispensable, especially if you’re using your phone for GPS. He also noted that if you’ve made connections with people in some of the smaller sessions, it’s important to make a point of following up with them later after the event.

Don’t miss the full webinar for additional tactical recommendations from our panel of experts. To avoid the Dreamforce burnout, set aside time to join Conga at the Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. this year, where you can take a break from the crowds of Moscone, relax and recharge with great food and drinks, and network with other professionals.

Kelli Blystone

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