Heading to Dreamforce? Pack Your Skepticism.

Updated: Aug 17

On November 19, Salesforce will gather customers for its annual extravaganza to celebrate new offerings and boost expertise with its products. Some 170,000 will flock to San Francisco for this year’s event, which boasts more than 2,700 information sessions, 400 Salesforce partners, and a mind-boggling array of parties and networking opportunities, making Dreamforce one of the largest (and most fun) conferences in the country.


While Dreamforce is information-packed and a great time for most attendees, it is also one of Salesforce’s best tools to promote and elicit new purchase behavior from a captive audience.


Takeaways From Last Year’s Dreamforce


Salesforce reps use the event to probe for key business details that can be used in future deal negotiations. Information control is one of the most critical elements in driving any successful deal, so the importance of understanding this sales tactic cannot be overstated. Leaking confidential information is all too common at events like Dreamforce – and Salesforce is counting on it.


We’ve distilled Salesforce’s top four Dreamforce sales tactics and listed ways to neutralize these strategies below:


1. “Innovation Center” Deal Making

Salesforce has an exclusive conference area dedicated to finalizing and negotiating potential new deals, commonly referred to as the “Innovation Center”. Attendees may be tempted (or pressured) to meet with their sales reps to discuss deal dynamics, product inclusions, and anticipated future demand. The one-on-one setting makes it easy for sales reps to pull information from attendees and gain maximum insight to potential deals.


We encourage attendees who visit the Innovation Center to bring a procurement lead to help control the tone and content of the conversation, preventing an end-run by Salesforce to negotiate privately with business unit leaders. Attendees should work together and diligently to guard all info about your budget, needed products, wish-list products, go-live dates and other demand-related intelligence at Dreamforce.


2. Networking Events and Salesforce-Hosted Dinners

Salesforce reps are instructed to wine and dine their clients over the course of the conference. They know that in casual settings, there is an increased chance for information to be leaked unintentionally. Be aware that these “informal” conversations with Salesforce reps are tracked manually through their Salesforce mobile app and later converted to lead information on your customer profile.


To mitigate risk in these situations, we remind attendees to refrain from discussing any details related to Salesforce products or current deals in-place. Conversations must remain broad and vague when sales reps ask leading questions about your product interest.


3. Registered Events, Sessions, and Keynotes

Salesforce holds over 2700 sessions and product workshops to teach new skills to their attendees. Be aware that every event or session you register for will be tracked by a Salesforce rep to see what products are of interest to you.


We caution attendees to diversify their conference agenda to keep from showing your company’s interest in any specific product set.


4. Badge Scans – a Final Note

Upon entrance to the conference, Salesforce provides everyone with a customized badge. When scanned at booths, sessions or asking questions of “knowledge workers”, the badge maps to specific Salesforce selling opportunities.


We remind attendees that it’s OK to refuse to have your badge scanned when it may compromise your control of information regarding what products or directions your organization is exploring.


For more information about Salesforce’s sales strategies, follow the links below to listen to a recent webinar on the subject.


Francis Gagliano is an analyst at ClearEdge.


This blog post was inspired by the webinar on Managing Leverage in a Salesforce Deal. You can access the full recording to this webinar below. For a deeper dive, we urge you to sign up for our online certification program.