Dreamforce ‘17 Ultimate Survival Guide
Dreamforce ‘17 is just around the corner. It is one of the largest software conferences in the world, with over 170,000 fellow Trailblazers in attendance. The star-studded event spans a total of three days and is held in the heart of San Francisco.
Dreamforce is an extremely exciting and inspiring place to be, giving you incredible access to network with some of the brightest and most influential thought leaders in the industry. With over 2,700 sessions to choose from, things can get quite overwhelming very quickly, especially if you’re new to the Dreamforce scene.
That’s why we’ve created the Dreamforce Ultimate Survival Guide. Regardless if this is your first Dreamforce experience or if you’re a veteran of the scene, this guide will show you what to expect, what to bring, and a full schedule of the Dreamforce ‘17 agenda, so you can plan your Dreamforce strategy well in advance.
So let’s begin…
Water - The #1 item on any list. The last thing you need is to get dehydrated, especially if you’re outside trekking from one place to another. Bring at least a few bottles of water with you and a large plastic water bottle which you can use to refill during the day. The best investment you will make.
A Good Backpack - You’ll be given a lot of freebies and cool gift bags throughout Dreamforce, not to mention the other essential items you’ll be carrying along all day. We’ll cover that shortly. That means you’re going to need a heavy duty backpack that can support all the stuff you’ll be lugging along. eBags offers a wide selection of comfortable backpacks you can pick up for reasonable prices.
Cell Phone Battery Charger - There’s no doubt about it, you’ll be running low on battery almost all day, whether you’re exchanging contact details with other Trailblazers or viewing the latest innovative apps on the AppExchange, you’ll need to have your phone charge present at all times. You might want to pick up one of these high quality portable battery chargers before you go to the event.
Business Cards - Make sure you bring a good chunk of business cards with you since the chances are they will run out fast. You might also want to consider using Vision-e Scan in case you run out of cards or if you prefer to travel light.
Business cards can weigh you down, especially when the next session can be over a mile to walk! Vision-e allows you to free up your backpack or luggage to accommodate other essential items, like water and your laptop.
Comfortable Shoes - You’re going to be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you take good care of your feet. Bring a comfortable pair of shoes with you or an extra pair you can fit inside your backpack if the walking gets too much. Ladies, you may want to avoid wearing high heels, since they place a great deal of damage to your feet and force your ankles to bend forward.
Change of Clothes - Dreamforce is a full day event. Each day begins at 7:00 AM and the chances are that you will be exhausted after a long productive day attending sessions and networking with people.
You’ll want to unwind and have a little fun after each day or possibly meet potential customers outside of the event for a few drinks. You might not have time to head back to your hotel, so make sure you pack some extra clothes with you for each day.
Editor’s Note: You’ll find a customized Google Maps that Dreamforce put together at the end of the article to help you explore the city and have some fun.
Hand Sanitizer - You’ll be meeting lots of people and shaking lots of hands throughout the three-day event. You don’t want to take any chances of getting sick. Take extra precaution by keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you to avoid germs and bacteria.
Medications & Painkillers - Your health comes before anything else. Don’t forget to bring any prescription medications along with you before you rush out the hotel door. Allergy sufferers might want to bring nasal spray and antihistamines along for the journey.
Keep a bottle of painkillers with you, such as Aspirin or Tylenol handy in case you have a headache or need it. Other people might need them as well. You may want to pack a few Band-Aids too.
Snacks - There might be many different sessions going on for hours at a time before food of any kind is served, so be prepared.
Here are a few suggestions of small food products you can bring along to stay nourished throughout the day; granola bars, fresh fruit, dry fruit, trail mix, beef jerky, energy bars, and a packet of protein powder to mix with water, in case you need a quick boost.
Network with People - This is the entire point of being at Dreamforce. Keep in mind that people will be busy, so try to limit your conversations to a few minutes and continue the networking process to network with as many people as you possibly can.
Have your business cards and phone ready. Add potential contacts on LinkedIn and make a note to contact them a few days after Dreamforce. They will have more time to read it and send a detailed reply to you. A simple Google Calendar reminder will do just fine here.
Stand Out - Dreamforce is a moving ocean of people navigating around the convention center all day. Once again, you will be overwhelmed with the sheer volume of fellow Trailblazers surrounding you.
That’s why it’s imperative to stand out and make yourself noticed, especially if you want to attract potential customers. Sure, it helps to bring business cards, but you should go the next level up and distinguish your brand from the rest. A few months ago, spinners were all the rage, and people love free stuff, no matter what it is.
And although Salesforce will be handing out goodie bags throughout the conference days, you still want to get your name out there to ensure brand recognition.
Here is a list of cool promotional items you can customize and give out to help build brand awareness and entice prospects to give you a call:
- USB pens or flash drives
- Bluetooth key trackers
- LED mini lights
- Mobile phone cases (probably the best way to stand out if you can afford them)
- Water bottles
- Spinners (yep, people still play with them)
If you don’t have a large budget for customized gizmos or gadgets, you can always get some pens, notebooks, or brochures, for a fraction of the cost.
Get There Early - There will be over 170,000 people in attendance and everyone will be super busy helping customers at their booths or even busier preparing to give a hands-on demo in front of a few thousand people.
You must make it a priority to arrive on time. Set your alarm to wake up at least a few hours earlier to get the most out of each day. You can catch people while they are setting up their booths, which can give you a valuable opportunity to establish a quality conversation with them, even the option to set up a meeting during or after the event.
Wrapping things up…
Now that you’ve got all the essentials covered, it’s time to take a few moments to soak everything in and have a great time. Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz will be headlining this year’s music festivities for a great cause at AT&T Park on Tuesday, November 7th at 7:30 PM to benefit the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, so get ready for some amazing live performances.
Set aside some time to check out all the local hotspots in San Francisco surrounding the event with this custom Dreamforce Google Maps here. You’ll also be able to see all the session areas, which are marked with tiny flags on the map. Above all, just have fun! Get ready to be inspired! We’ll see you there.