The Results: Dreamforce – A Good Return on Investment?

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Dreamforce: should you go? Attending this highly popular mega-conference should be a no-brainer – after all, over the course of 4 days, there’s thousands of sessions, the promise of proximity to the experts, and famously fun networking opportunities (with any of the 200,000+ attendees).

It’s an obvious choice, until you come across the $2000 price tag – a significant amount of money that becomes an investment. Not only do you need to factor the conference pass cost, but demand raises accommodation and transport to eye-watering expenses (especially for international attendees). Is Dreamforce a good return on investment?

Now that Dreamforce registration is live, it’s a good time for us to reveal what we found when we asked this exact question to the Salesforce ecosystem. Also, Dreamforce conference passes are rumored to be selling out soon (and, trust us, sell-outs do happen), which places some pressure on your decision making.

This results summary will hopefully help you make a decision, possibly uncovering considerations you may not have thought about before – but first, the results.

Results Overview

Overall, close to two-thirds (61%) agreed that Dreamforce gave a good return:

Here are the insights I pulled out:

Results Overview

A Financial Return Is Not The Point

Variety, Enormity & A Peek Into The Future

Hearing It From The DF Veterans

Prepare & To Do The Follow-up

Go At Least Once!

What If You Really Can’t Go?

A Financial Return Is Not The Point

When asked directly about return on investment, many were quick to point out that it’s not all about the money:

“Go to network, go to learn, go to have fun. Looking for a financial return on investment is not really the point”

“The interactions you get are worth it”

Plus, the face time with Salesforce Solution Engineers and Product Development: “This is where I meet the people that have the answers to Salesforce Obstacles.”

It’s a key point that we are prone to overlooking at first. The experiences on offer at Dreamforce are priceless – in that, it’s impossible to put a monetary value on face-to-face networking and spontaneous encounters.

Variety, Enormity & A Peek Into The Future

Nowhere else on earth can you find so much Salesforce spirit – the city of San Francisco vibrates with the energy for the week.

“Part of the fun of Dreamforce is the enormity of it”

The scale and buzz of the event is something to marvel at, mostly because incredible innovation is showcased in epic performances. Aside from the showstopper keynotes, every part of the Salesforce platform gets the showbiz treatment:

“A ton of good interaction and getting to see the 10,000 foot view of some sexy offerings.”

Roadmap sessions give us a peek into future features, but you can balance this with a variety of how-to sessions that you can apply straight away:

“Dreamforce has given me lots of insight into road-maps on what is coming, balanced with an overload of ‘how to’ sessions/ workshops/ and 1:1 encounters.”

Come to reignite your passion for your favourite platform feature – or, will you even stumble across a ‘sexy offering’ and spark a new interest?

Hearing It From The DF Veterans

Don’t believe us? We heard it from Dreamforce ‘veterans’ that have been countless times, and have soaked up value from the conference, time after time:

“I am a 12-time Dreamforce attendee and use it to bring myself up to speed on the most recent features/apps/etc., as I find it hard to stay completely current throughout the year as an overworked solo Admin.”

12 years of Dreamforce?! One word: impressive.
These Trailblazers can be a wonderful source of support during the event too:

“I have attended Dreamforce for 2 years, and I would have been completely lost had I not had some advice from my 9-time returning admin I was attending with”.

Prepare & To Do The Follow-up

A group of respondents focused on the practicalities.

Firstly, planning your movements and logistics is key:

“If you aren’t super strategic in what sessions you attend, you will spend all your time getting from one place to another and missing out.”

Secondly, getting a good return on Dreamforce involves making the connection between the big Dreamforce ideas, and executing those ideas in your organisation when you’re back in the office:

“The enthusiasm after the event is like a wildfire, but it needed to be documented and shared with a dose of reality.”

Go At Least Once!

Every year brings thousands of newcomers. Anecdotally speaking, no newbie is disappointed; from my personal experience, I remember how pumped I was even a couple of weeks after the event.

A reoccurring piece of advice that was shared in the survey was to go at least once:

“I would encourage every SF specialist to attend at least once.”

“I feel like going to Dreamforce at least once is really helpful as a newer SFDC Admin/Dev”

“Interesting to attend at least once. And then you can decide if you want to attend more, or rather go for local events.”

“Only went once, which was my first year as an admin, when i took over as the solo admin. Dreamforce was very helpful. Hopefully, I will be going this year after a 3 year absence and hope to focus on long term goals this time around instead of just getting up to speed like I did the first time.”

In short, pull out all the stops to go at least once, then you will be best placed to make a decision the following year (I say this with tongue in cheek, of course).

Take a walk in Candice’s footsteps before you decide, by reading her openly honest account at her first Dreamforce as a Salesforce Admin.

What If You Really Can’t Go?

Sometimes, your circumstance is unavoidable – be it monetary, work commitments, or the travel involved – or simply, you missed out on the conference pass sale! There are two useful suggestions to soften the FOMO*:

  • Attend remotely
  • Other Salesforce Events

(*FOMO = fear of missing out)

Could you consider attending remotely?

The sessions are available online so that no one misses out on the news and knowledge sharing.

“A lot of what I got when I went was similar to what I got when I didn’t go, and watched online”.

Even if you don’t sit yourself down in a quiet corner to attend remotely, the trail of Dreamforce content lasts far longer than the event’s hype:

“the recordings that are posted online after the sessions can are VERY helpful in providing tutorials to the community.”

Other Salesforce Events

While Dreamforce blows the other events in Salesforce calendar out of the water in terms of size and publicity, a few were named as alternatives:

“While I love Dreamforce and it’s a ton of fun, I see much more value in smaller more educational conferences. My favorite being the bootcamp portion of TrailheaDX. My favorite Salesforce conference of all time was one that only lasted 2 years – Destination Success.”
“Some of the other SFDC events like World Tour & TrailheadX give you similar feel/content…the actual technical knowledge you [can] acquire”
“once you are on board, you can gain more from TrailHeaDX or local events.”
“As someone who works on the System (Admin, Dev, Architect, Solution Engineer), your roi will be much better when attending TrailheaDX or even better, any Dreamin’ event (less SF Marketing and Show, more hand-on real-life topics and sessions).”

Summary

Attending Dreamforce is an investment in terms of money, time and energy. One thing that shone through in the responses, is that it’s not all about the monetary return on investment – Salesforce have engineered Dreamforce as an experience, and nowhere else on earth can you find so much Salesforce spirit, with a contagious buzz that comes with face-to-face networking and spontaneous encounters.

However, when it does boil down to ROI, there are strategies attendees use to ensure they soak up the most value, and deploy that value for their users once they get back into the office.

Hopefully this post has given you some extra considerations you may not have thought about before. See you there?

Keep checking our Complete Guide to Dreamforce 2019 – a bumper resource for planning and attending the conference.

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