The Essential Dreamforce 2016 Game Plan

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Each year, Salesforce.com does a spectacular job in bringing together speakers sessions, activities focused on helping you learn, grow, and succeed – no matter your industry, company size or role.

As a past attendee, I know that the sheer scale of the event can be overwhelming, and you really have to approach the four days with a solid game plan. That’s why we scoured the agenda and came up with this list of sessions – covering hot topics across onboarding, training, coaching, and analytics – that progressive sales and enablement leaders should not miss. We’re especially excited about The Sales Summit – one day of insightful sessions including four tailored tracks for Sales Strategy, Sales Leadership, Sales Development, and Sales Operations.

1: Drive Amazing Results with Modernized Prospecting: Tips and Tricks
Tuesday, Oct 4, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 8

Here are back-to-back sessions on sales development in a hyperconnected world. Join social selling experts leading discussions around success metrics, sales discovery, and the importance of social media in your sales strategy. Marketing expert Jill Rowley explores why the modern buyer is overwhelmed.

2: Standing Out as a Strong Sales Leader in the Age of the Customer
Tuesday, Oct 4, 2:15 PM – 3:45 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 9

Salesforce will share how the company has managed a rapidly growing sales organization. Then, a panel of experts will cover leadership in sales prospecting, and creating value for customers to close deals.

3: What It Takes to Be the Best Sales Coach
Tuesday, Oct 4, 4:00 PM – 5:10 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 9

Join this session and pick up some proven leadership tactics on building a robust coaching strategy, along with a new framework for sales leaders.

4: Call Your Shot: Predicting Sales Performance through Coaching
Tuesday, Oct 4, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM | InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, Grand Ballroom C

Last year only 44% of salespeople hit their goal. Only 46% of deals to forecast as “Closed” actually closed. Sales coaching has emerged as the catalyst for sales success. Learn how you can build an award-winning coaching culture.

5: Building Powerhouse Sales Teams
Thursday, Oct 6, 3:30 PM – 3:50 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, CRM Outfitters Theater South

Coaching, providing feedback, and motivating employees is the key to creating sales teams that stay focused, building strong relationships with customers, and hitting quota. Join this session to learn best practices for leading sales teams to success – tips based on research and hands-on experience.

BUT…Dreamforce wouldn’t be complete without a lineup of fun, empowering, and inspirational sessions that you absolutely shouldn’t miss either. Here are our favorites:

Dreampitch Competition Keynote
Tuesday, Oct 4, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Moscone West, Keynote Room, Level 3

Dreampitch is a startup pitch competition where three early-stage startups building on Salesforce App Cloud pitch their company to legendary investors and entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca. You won’t want to miss it.

“Be a Customer Trailblazer” with Marc Benioff & Special Guests
Wednesday, Oct 5, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Moscone North, Moscone North Hall D

Marc Benioff and industry giants discuss the future of customer engagement including how innovative companies are using the cloud, mobility, IoT and artificial intelligence to achieve new levels of success with connecting with their customers.

Dreamfest and Benefit for UCSF Children’s Hospitals featuring U2
Wednesday, Oct 5, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM | Cloud (Cow) Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA 94014

It’s U2. Need we say more?

Of course, we’d love to connect with you at Dreamforce as well. We hope to see you there!

Getting Multi-Threaded: Moving from Analog to Digital at LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016

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In 2014, CEB published a statistic that has become most synonymous in representing the complex selling world we live in:

“There are 5.4 buyers involved to win a deal.”

And, we learned that deals die without organizational consensus, which is hard to achieve.

However, beneath this statistic, at this year’s LinkedIn Sales Connect we found there is more to the story. Here are a few additional stats worth considering:

  • 1 in 5 decision makers turn over every year
  • C-level buyers turn over every 2.5 years
  • 1 in 4 reps you hire will not last the year

As a result, according to Mike Derezin, VP Sales at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, 40% of your deals are at risk and you likely don’t even realize it. Why? Because you are “single-threaded“.

Single-threaded means one point of communication or influence on both sides of a communication stream.

  1. The rep at your company
  2. The key stakeholder in your account

As a result, your deal is more prone to fail when one of those nodes “goes down.”

Before the internet changed everything, the world was single-threaded. That is no longer the case. Easy access to information and streamlined communication has created an increasingly connected world. In sales, this dynamic has resulted in the formation of buying committees where everyone needs to say yes, or the deal dies in status quo. Or worse, it is lost to a competitor.

Multi-threaded means there are multiple nodes in which you connect into the account AND vice-versa. There is no single point of failure in your ability to influence a deal.

Take Qualtrics, a leader in customer experience solutions and social selling early adopter. They found that in deals they won, they followed 3x more contacts in the account than in deals they lost. Following more contacts inevitably led to engaging more contacts using social selling techniques, which inevitably led to an increased number of customer conversations to share the value proposition, tailored for each particular buyer.

It turns out the best reps know how to do this intuitively – tailoring is a quintessential Challenger skill – but many organizations still do not effectively equip their reps to go talk to different personas. Sure, marketing may create those personas and even generate content, but how a rep communicates the value of their solution to IT vs. Marketing can be the difference between advancing to the next stage or having the deal die in dysfunction. Add in the complexity of talking to numerous C-level buyers and the challenge is truly significant.

That complexity by itself would be enough to take on, but still there is more.

In a multi-threaded world, enabling the Rep is actually just half the equation. Within your own company, multi-threaded means you have multiple contacts touching an account as well. Play this forward. The implication is that the next generation sales team is not what we know today. It is actually the entire company that will play some role. Every employee needs to be equipped to some extent to further your position inside an account or the full promise of being multi-threaded cannot be realized.

If you believe that the world will only become increasingly networked, then multi-threading is an obvious place to invest today. If so, asking how we arm those coming in contact with the different personas within the account to effectively engage is an essential capability that will lead to developing a competitive advantage vis-à-vis your competitors.

The genie is out of the bottle. Are you ready to not just survive but thrive in a multi-threaded world? If you have a perspective on this issue, leave me a note in the comments section below.

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