Salesforce, its partners, and its customers will all feel the absence of its massive, in-person extravaganza this year, experts say: ‘The Dreamforce void will hurt’ (CRM)

Dreamforce 2019 Opening Keynote Marc Benioff

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Salesforce’s flashy, star-studded annual Dreamforce conference is usually one of the most anticipated tech conferences each year. Thousands of attendees pour into downtown San Francisco each fall to hear from Salesforce executives, partners, and customers alongside high profile speakers (like President Barack Obama in 2019) and performers (like Metallica in 2018). However, this year things will be quite different. 

In April, Salesforce cancelled all in-person events for the rest of 2020 and said it would “reimagine” them in “in new and virtual ways.” Salesforce has yet to announce any new information about what a virtual Dreamforce event would look like this year. 

CEO Marc Benioff did make it clear during the company’s earnings call in August that no one will be getting together live. 

“There is no Dreamforce in 2020,” he said. “We know that. We’re not all heading to San Francisco next month, where Metallica is not playing. We’re not all going to be going in the keynote room.” 

It’s still unclear what this means for a virtual Dreamforce event happening this year but a Salesforce spokesperson told Business Insider: “In the coming weeks, we’ll share news about our completely reimagined Dreamforce for the all-digital, work anywhere world.” Salesforce also said “over the past months we’ve had more than 140 million views of our various virtual events.”

Regardless of whether there is a virtual event, not having an in-person Dreamforce will have widespread effects on the company and its ecosystem of partners and customers, Salesforce analysts and partners told Business Insider. Some expect to see long-term, potentially negative effects on the business, while others are more optimistic given Salesforce’s efforts to maintain its ecosystem virtually. 

Salesforce could seen an impact on its customer momentum and sales pipeline

Many tech conferences serve as an important generator of new business, and Dreamforce is no exception. While it is still possible to throw events virtually and connect with customers, it doesn’t fully replicate the spontaneity and liveliness of an in person event, analysts and partners said. 

While more people are able to attend virtual talks — which means that a virtual conference may get more engagement — it’s harder to replicate the networking aspects that happen in a shared space, said Rishi Jaluria, an analyst at D.A. Davidson. And that networking tends to drive new business both for Salesforce and its partners. 

“There’s kind of that ‘flywheel effect’ you get from your customers talking with each other: That helps drive more usage,” Jaluria said. Virtual tech conferences that he’s attended this year haven’t been able to replicate that type of environment, he said, so he worries that Salesforce will see lower customer momentum due to a lack of in-person events. 

After all, Dreamforce is all about showcasing Salesforce’s broader vision and reinforcing people’s confidence in investing in its products, said Ian Gotts, CEO at Elements.Cloud, a Salesforce partner company that helps implement cloud software. The key with Dreamforce is that it gets executives in the same room with Salesforce’s leadership, and that atmosphere is harder to replicate online, …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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