How to Network at Dreamforce 2016

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6 Top Tips for Networking Like a Marketing Insider

Want to learn how to network at Dreamforce 2016? With this event right around the corner, it’s important to gear up and prepare yourself so you can network effectively. Networking at events is a crucial component in meeting prospects, strengthening partner relationships, and expanding your industry knowledge. Events are excellent opportunities to accomplish these objectives. With such a large group of people who share interests in similar products and services all in one place at one time, it makes them a very efficient way for you to meet people in your field, and learn first-hand from prospects, customers, and vendors.

But first, let’s talk why you should attend Dreamforce 2016.

Why Attend Dreamforce?

There’s a reason why we named Dreamforce one of our top 9 events to attend of the year. Dreamforce is an example of the power of effective events, and it’s where you can learn cutting-edge skills, meet new people, and raise brand awareness for your company. So take advantage of it! This conference has something for everyone, and consistently delivers thousands of sessions and product demonstrations geared towards a variety of different company sizes, industries, and roles.

According to techtarget.com, Dreamforce has become one of the largest tech conferences in the world, pulling in over 170,000 registered attendees in 2015, let alone all those non-registered “ambush marketers” orbiting the event. (More on that in a later post!) It also brings together thought leaders, industry pioneers, and thousands of IT, marketing, and sales professionals, which means thousands of opportunities to network and meet new people.

Dreamforce isn’t all work and no play. Salesforce goes to great lengths to make sure their events incorporate an element of fun. And fun they are! The conference is surrounded by a plethora of parties. And of course, Salesforce hosts Dreamfest and the Benefit for UCSF Children’s Hospitals featuring U2, at the Cloud (Cow) Palace on Wednesday, October 5.

Now that you know the highlights of Dreamforce and why you should attend, you need to take with you some networking tips so you can make the most of your Dreamforce experience.

Tips for Networking at Dreamforce

Once you’re registered for Dreamforce, it is important to brush up on your networking skills so you can make the most of this event. Here are tips on how you can network better at Dreamforce 2016.

1.) Craft Your Pitch

To successfully network, it is important to practice and refine your elevator pitch, no matter what your role. Make sure that you can express what you do and its relevance to your audience in under 7 seconds. The pitch is the first step to building a stronger relationship. A well-rehearsed pitch means a better chance of being understood, therefore getting an opportunity to continue the conversation with a prospect or customer. So take some time and refine your pitch, practice it, and test it out in advance.

2.) Reach Out to Partners

It’s a good idea to reach out to partners well ahead of the event and see which of your partners are attending. Contact those who are, and plan to meet with them. Dreamforce is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with partners that are wrestling with the same issues as you are. This way, you can come together, discuss similar pain points, collaborate, and problem-solve.

Meeting up with your partners not only enables collaboration between the two of you, it can also help expand your network. Your partners, during the event, can introduce to you other vendors and like-minded companies who have, or currently are, providing them with valuable products or services, which is beneficial to both parties.    

Also, if your company sells products or services to those who would be attending the event, Dreamforce is a good place to exercise your partner marketing muscles. Collaborate with a group of complementary partners to benefit from increased audiences, brand awareness, and more leads generated. When you work together to host activities, you strengthen your relationship with your partner so that next time an opportunity comes about, you and your partner can benefit from working together.

3.) Leverage Social Media

Don’t be afraid to use social media to let your network know you’re attending an event. By utilizing social media, you can easily connect and schedule a client or prospect lunch on the go. For example, before an event like Dreamforce, declare via Twitter that you are heading to an awesome event, and use the Dreamforce party hashtag #DF16.

When you post on social media, whether that be Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, everyone in your network can see this and reach out to you on any of these platforms. From there, it is easy to make arrangements to meet with like-minded colleagues, prospects or customers and plan lunch,  etc.

4.) Set a Goal

At events, you’ll be more effective if you set a goal. For example, the day before the event you’re attending, decide what you want to get out of your networking efforts (e.g., make contacts in a specific set of companies, learn about a new market segment, begin to penetrate a vertical, solicit new partnerships within a partner type, etc.) and set a number of how many new people you want to meet, as well as people or contacts from specific companies. Make your goals realistic. Take the time to make genuine connections with the people on your list. Creating a realistic goal and actually accomplishing it will be more satisfying than if you attend Dreamforce without a measurable goal.

If you are in a selling role, this article makes a great point, that when attending events to quit selling for a few hours. Attending events are a great opportunity to learn something new about your prospects and partners, industry or market. Make it a point to go around and get to know people and what they do; understand their priorities and business pains. So take the extra time to make connections with people or resources that can help you understand your customer’s needs better.  

5.) Improve Your Face-To-Face Interactions

What can you do start a conversation? Beyond introducing yourself and saying hello, I’m always interested in knowing what prospects and customers hope to get out of the event. So ask! There are so many elements to major industry events, like Dreamforce, an open-ended question like this is a window into the thought process of your new acquaintance. You will learn something!

Also, be sure to do your research. If you have a meeting scheduled with a customer, prospect, or partner, read-up on the latest industry news so that you have talking points and can discuss opportunities to collaborate together.  

6) Attend People’s Party at Temple Nightclub

Why should you attend People’s Party at Temple? Besides the fact that it’s the #1 rated nightclub in San Francisco, you’ll have the opportunity to network with 600 industry leaders and VIPs. So, after your long day at Dreamforce, stop on by Temple in San Francisco to dance, drink, and have some fun. Certain will be hosting this event alongside DemandBase, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Full Circle Insights, Brightcove, ZoomInfo, and ThinkSmartOne. So come and enjoy custom drinks, awesome swag (like our selfie-sticks!), and dancing.

The party starts at 9pm and goes until 12am. Click here to register and for more information.

Industry events like Dreamforce provide endless opportunities for networking which provide new, valuable connections for partnerships, collaboration and information-sharing, selling, and recruiting. Successful networking isn’t easy, but with tips and some practice it becomes second-nature. With these tips, you can network like a pro at Dreamforce or any other events you attend.

About Christine Hansen

Christine Hansen Christine Hansen is the VP of Alliances and Channels at Certain. She has more than twenty years of experience in marketing strategy, business development, strategic alliances, and solution marketing. At Certain, Christine develops and oversees all strategic alliances and channels including both Marketing Technology partners and event management Services partners. View all posts by Christine Hansen →

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