Dreamforce. Thousands of Salesforce customers, partners and no doubt, employees, look forward to the event, just as soon as the prior years’ event ends. It’s that one time of the year where the Salesforce Ohana is nearly guaranteed to renew long-standing friendships and begin new ones. It’s also that time of year where Salesforce Partners initiate a full year’s worth of pipeline and hopefully close some deals that have been in the works. Marc Benioff’s keynote is likely the most watched single event of the entire Dreamforce conference. And this year, was much like years’ past, and yet, also so very different. Here’s the top 4 ways this year’s Benioff and friends’ keynote was the same, and different than previous years.
Different Dreamforce – Same Message
- Thank You Ohana: In what has become Benioff’s signature style, he begins nearly every presentation by thanking the Salesforce Ohana – the Salesforce family of customers and partners, for making the company what it is today. Marc also highlighted the company’s best advocates with a special thank you. MVPs are not only the company’s best supporters, helping to share knowledge and passion for the platform by answering an estimated 90% of all product-related questions customers ask through channels like the Trailblazer Community and Social Media, they are also the company’s biggest critics, openly sharing new product ideas and viewpoints (good and bad) on product features, both already generally available and those still under development.
- Salesforce is Built on 4 Core Values: Trust, Growth, Innovation and Equity. Salesforce is just as committed to those values today as they were many years ago when the company started.as is evident by the addition of a Chief Equality Officer, Tony Prophet, earlier this year. As well the approximately $6 million investment Salesforce made to achieve gender equality in pay issues.
- Philanthropy – Baked into the Culture at Salesforce, and the Ecosystem: Benioff continued by explaining that he doesn’t simply want to have a great company, with great employees, he also wants to enable others to make a bigger impact in the world. This began when Salesforce was founded. The company founders pledged to give back 1% of the company’s profits, products and employees time towards causes that make a difference in others lives. Marc often says that “in the beginning it was easy to make that pledge, because the company had no profits, very little products and no employees. But that one simple statement, pledging just 1% has led to a world-wide revolution in corporate philanthropy, and that’s truly making a difference for hundreds of thousands of people. Benioff continued by indicating that to date over $168 million in grants have been given, over 32,000 nonprofits have been granted free licenses, and 2.3 million hours of company employee time has been given back to the greater community.
- Highlighting the Great Work of NonProfits (NPOs) and Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs): Benioff then asked everyone in the room who works for an NPO or NGO, along with those who provide support to those great organizations to stand and be recognized. Benioff spent a few minutes showcasing the work of some of Salesforce’s customer trailblazers, highlighting the personalized marketing prowess of Adidas by showing off how they get customer engagement at scale, providing each customer with a truly personal shopping experience.
Different Dreamforce – Different Message
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Benioff talked about history and the major changes that have happened to shape where we are today. The first industrial revolution was harnessing the power of steam. Second was electricity. Then along comes the age of computing, from mainframes to laptop computers, to cell phones and cloud computing. Finally, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with intelligence helping to drive decision-making.
- Everyone & Everything is Connected: The driving force behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution – consumers. Benioff discussed the fat that consumers and technologically savvy and empowered in their decision-making process. Now companies have come to expect the same level of empowerment in B2B transactions, and that 70% of those companies expect a personalized experience. They expect the companies they buy from, and the buying processes they use to be smart, always on, and as connected as they are personally. Nearly 90% of B2B Buyers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.
- Trailblazers Drive Success: Benioff continued by explaining that those who blaze a new trail are the ones finding success faster, and more often that those following the “tried and true” methods of the past. Times are changing, the speed of live – and business – is accelerating, and those who adapt quickly will be the winners. Marc highlighted the trailblazing activity of Stephanie, sharing her personal story of shifting from working in the cotton fields with her Grandfather, to becoming a Salesforce MVP, starting a Salesforce study program using Trailhead, called Salesforce Saturday, and later co-founding PepUp Tech, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s technology leaders.
- My Everything: Marc introduced My Trailhead as the method that ties all this together. With My Trailhead, companies can reinvent corporate learning and enablement, by empowering the personalization of the learning experience for each and every employee. He went to to say that Artificial Intelligence is available for everyone wit My Einstein, giving businesses the ability to empower their customers with AI-powered apps. But that’s not where it ends – businesses will be able to brand these apps specifically for their own companies, using their own unique themes, and tailored to their specific business needs. And taking that one step further, empowering businesses with a Listing Wizard to launch the apps on Google Play or the App Store.
Personalized learning. Personalized apps, Personalized experiences. All leading to enabling businesses to serve the needs of their customers better and faster. Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To learn more, check out this video from Salesforce.