How To Make The Most of Conferences (Like Dreamforce)

Dreamforce 2016 is going to be an amazing experience and we can’t wait to see what this week has in store. Ahead of the event, and to make this week even more amazing for anyone who’s attending Dreamforce, we thought it’d be fun to poll some experts from around the Commercient office and glean some of the best advice for making the most of a conference.

We had some participants from our partners at Edgeware offer up some great advice too. Thanks, Corinne and Derek!

The tips below come from seasoned vets who have been to dozens of conferences over the years and really hit hard on the fact that there’s a lot more to attending conferences than just showing up and handing out business cards to anyone who will take them. Enjoy!

Free Advice For Rocking Dreamforce 2016

Richard Jenkins, CEO of Commercient

If I’ve learned anything from past Dreamforce experiences it’s that the amount of walking you’ll do over the course of the week will add up fast so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes—but be prepared to the look part at certain events too.

Walking and standing all day can put a lot of strain on your body so don’t forget to sit down for a few minutes every hour or so, drink plenty of water and don’t forget your snacks. I’d recommend keeping a few healthy treats on hand like Cliff Bars, apples, and smoothies. All of which have a place in my Dreamforce snack bag!

Speaking of food, eat dinner early. If you’re not sure where to go, keep an eye on Groupon. There’s usually a lot of top quality restaurant deals within walking distance. Last year I had a wonderful French dinner for a very reasonable price thanks to Groupon.


Derek Jenkins, President of Edgeware Computers Inc.

Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the 150,000+ people who are there. Keep it simple and hone in on the individuals you want to make contact with. Then, find a way to set yourself apart. Remember why these people are at Dreamforce and explain how your solution is the one they’ve been looking for.

My magic number for any conference when it comes to meeting contact is 10 per day. If you can meet with at least 10 people per day and provide them with something of value that pertains to their interests, you’ll be just fine.


Stephen Fellinger, Director of CRM at Commercient

Conferences like Dreamforce are networking goldmines. Don’t hesitate to spark conversations and really learn about the people you’re meeting. Why are they there? Why does their business exist? Do you know someone that can help them?

Remember, you’re not just there to sell, you’re at Dreamforce to learn as well. Attend events that will help you better understand the marketplace and future solutions. Customers look at you as the product expert and events like this are a great way to expand your knowledge.

Dedicate some time to building partnerships while you’re there too. Nobody’s product solves all business issues, so learn about what others are doing and how you can complement each other as an overall solution.


Corinne Allgaier, Co-founder of Edgeware Computers Inc.

Be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared. Decide on your follow up strategy before you ever attend. That way, when you do meet with people you have something special to communicate to them about what will be happening after the conference. Otherwise, follow up can feel like cleaning up on a Sunday morning after a Saturday night party.

Speaking of chores, do your homework and read the bios on key speakers and session leaders. This is an easy way to identify the specific people with whom you want to connect (and follow up with). Quality it better than quantity and there’s not much that will come from flinging your business card at whoever will take it.

A conference like Dreamforce is your opportunity to identify new trends, emerging technologies and new ways of doing business. Think like a thought leader and pay attention to the millennials in the small booth with the cool gizmo. This is your chance to broaden your perceptions. Make the most of it.


Steve Rosen, Sales Manager at Commercient

Conferences are tools that help people get to know you. My goal going into any conference is to see as many people as possible, give them a 1-minute pitch, and get their contact information. There’s so much going on at a conference of this magnitude you can’t possibly expect everyone you meet to absorb all of the information being thrown their way.

This is your chance to get the word out about who you are and what you do. People can’t inquire about your product or services if they don’t know who you are. And they certainly won’t buy it.

Take Dreamforce as an opportunity to make people aware of who you are, what you do, and how you’re doing it successfully and worry about making sales after the conference is over.

Here’s to having a great DF16!