Navigating your way through a Dreamforce is a challenging task.
What is at risk if you choose a wrong couple of sessions to attend?
Nothing except for losing time and money invested into that time. And also opportunities for a business growth. Thus, it worth spending a reasonable time and choose wisely.
The first obvious option is to rule out anything that is not related to your industry. It might be interesting to get to know latest success cases from retail, but if you work for a manufacturing company maybe it is not your top priority to those sessions.
Secondly, browsing through a Dreamforce website, visiting Dreamforce blog - where related publications can be found is a good idea. Insights on what will be going on and where all over main Dreamforce main page. For instance, from the article above I learned that at Sales summit integration of AI with sales would be a hot topic.
Another idea that hit my manager after reading aforementioned article is that networking at a Sales Summit would not be beneficial as it is a place where only other sales people gather. Rather, in order to make connections with decision-makers it is better to visit executives sessions.
It all fine but still how to navigate through 200 sessions? My way is to go through a full list of them and pick by topic name those that make sense for our company. As a result I selected 30 such sessions - a quantity much easier to digest.
Luckily most of sessions' descriptions are quite short. Structuring information helps a lot when one needs to take a decision. From descriptions of selected sessions, I created a table giving me more comprehensive outlook on information collected. Example see below:
In the last column, I summarized what this session is about with two-three most descriptive terms. It is much easier to decide if I want to attend a session dedicated to boosting sales productivity and automation or the one dedicated to building sales teams.
In order to prepare short summary reading a session full description is needed. That is why it can hardly be done in one day. Apart from learning, most of sales people looking at events as opportunities to get connections, that they could convert into opportunities later on.
The best sessions, consequently, would be then, those where your typical customers gather. Understanding that requires a bit of research of your typical customers' needs. Answering questions: "What needs do my customers have? What are they interested in? What bothers them?" will help to understand which sessions would be most appealing to potential customers. Preparation here is a key.
I suggest making a list of guesses of customers' needs. After that, go through relevant sessions structuring them and finding matches. Result of that work should be sent to potential customers as short notes where it is explained why selected sessions would be of a special interest. It will also be a part of a preparation to meetings with potential clients and having meaningful conversations. It will also help arrange meetings with some of them in advance.
To sum up, choosing meaningful sessions takes time, effort and preparation. When it comes to sessions, meaningfulness could either mean a point of learning or a place to meet with potential customers. In both ways a thorough work needs to be done in advance. In order to better digest information it is better to structure it.
Dreamforce's site helps with finding the latest updates and news. A search that groups sessions in categories by roles, products, industries, themes, etc. can also be found there. A research should be done on understanding what would be meaningful for potential customers. But that effort and time invested properly would not be wasted when you are at the event.
See you at Dreamforce 2018!