About a mile and a half west of their Midtown Manhattan office tower, Salesforce hosted their World Tour New York for Winter 2022 at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC.
The usual characters were walking around, like Einstein, the Genie rabbit (Marc Benioff’s admitted favorite) and the Trailblazing bear. But amongst the crowds and the usual pomp there was a clear theme that permeated through the entire event.
Salesforce World Tour NYC Theme: Are you a customer company?
From the keynote session, through to many of the product updates and case studies, Salesforce asked the question; are you a customer company? And to that rhetorical question, they had the answer.
Using many of the tools you may already be familiar with, such as Slack or B2BMA, Salesforce Customer 360 helps you build an organization that is focused on the customer and their needs. But really what we’re talking about here is harnessing the incredible tools in the Salesforce ecosystem to create efficiencies and easier access to data.
The 7 Habits of a Customer Company (keynote address)
During the Salesforce World Tour keynote address, Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff highlighted what he calls the 7 Habits of a Customer Company.
- Salesforce Customer 360: is not so much a single product offering, but the concept of utilizing Salesforce tools to create a complete view of your customer, shared by various departments like sales, marketing, service, etc. The Customer 360 puts your customer in the center.
- Create a single source of truth. Most organizations have data throughout different systems. There wasn’t an easy way for customers to connect all of their data and integrate it into one platform. Mulesoft helps companies connect data from different sources to create one single source of truth.
- See and understand your customer. Because of the many different data storage needs companies have, they have created their own data lakes to house information. This causes “data silos” and during his keynote address, Benioff admitted this was their [Salesforce’s] mistake. Introducing, Salesforce Genie Customer Data Cloud, which is a new data warehouse product, powered by Tableau, that is deeply integrated with Salesforce and offers real-time, automated access to your data.
- Maximize time to value. Using Industry Clouds, organizations can save on customizations because these various industry clouds already contain the language and processes different organizations use, such as nonprofit, education and financial clouds. Think of it as a template for your Sales Cloud org that contains the industry-specific customizations you need.
- Do impossible things as a team. Slack is a terrific collaboration tool and since being acquired by Salesforce in July 2021, the integration has continued to improve. I watched a terrific demo in the Campground (exhibitor area) of Slack’s integration and it really was impressive. Teams can collaborate on Accounts and Opportunities, pull in various stakeholders and work together to close business. Doing “impossible things” may be a bit of hyperbole, but the value for teams (geographically separated more now than ever before) is obvious.
- Save time, save money and grow revenue. Salesforce president and CMO, Sarah Franklin gave kudos to the “Success Ecosystem” that includes partners, app developers and support teams. Furthermore, the innovation from these players in the ecosystem results in more automated processes, faster service response times and lower support costs resulting in efficiencies and profits.
- Finally, Trailblazers! The folks that make the magic happen for organizations every day. Growth in the Trailblazer community has created what Franklin called a “Trailblazer economy,” referring to millions of new jobs, business revenue and community members/groups. I love my black Trailblazer zip-up sweatshirt and wear it with pride.
Introducing Net Zero Cloud
Sustainability is a core value for Salesforce as an organization. Their goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Recognizing that this is important to many companies, Salesforce has introduced Net Zero Cloud.
This new cloud product offers a management platform for a company’s carbon footprint. It helps you track and manage your environmental impact. You can run emissions forecasting and simulations, optimize different areas for efficiency and even work with your suppliers on their environmental goals. Additionally, the carbon accounting features let you convert your energy consumption into carbon emission data.
The Net Zero Marketplace also provides a place for companies to purchase carbon credits to offset their environmental impact.
Wandering into the Salesforce World Tour Campground
The Campground, Salesforce-speak for exhibitor hall, was abuzz with tons of activity. There were several mini theaters with tree-stump seats providing short presentations on everything from Customer 360, Slack integrations, demos and case studies.
Trailblazer Forest was always a busy spot for seasoned Trailblazers and admins just beginning their education journey to meet up and learn more about the latest offerings, pick up some cool swag (I left empty handed), and show off their skills.
I grabbed a seat, err, tree stump at the Customer Success Theater to watch a presentation on the 6 Guiding Principles for CRM Adoption, but missed out when the required headsets were all taken. But don’t feel too bad for me, I spent that time catching up with a great client in the partner’s hangout nearby.
Though it may seem trivial, I loved the way Salesforce designed the Campground. Those of us that have been to other industry trade shows know that you typically find yourself in large concrete rooms, walking between narrow pathways, desperately seeking coffee or a restroom. However, the Campground was nicely decorated with lots of signs, decorations and plenty of space between exhibits (except during peak hours), with multiple opportunities to grab a snack, coffee or a drink.
The Slack demo I watched was terrific. It was sort of a “day in the life” approach to a demo and you got to see how an organization was able to collaborate with an account and eventually an opportunity. No meetings, no endless email chains, just collaboration. It was impressive.
My Favorite Session: Delivering Success as a Salesforce Admin, the Skill Every Admin Needs…
I was expecting this session to be a general overview of tips for Salesforce admins, but the focus was on one single thing. Arguably, one of the most important skills every admin needs to master. Flows. For a brief introduction, check out this terrific overview of Flows.
What was once done using complex Apex code can often be done with Flows in a simple drag/drop interface, using the same “journey paths” look and feel of Pardot’s Engagement Studio. And what is probably being done right now in your org by Workflows Rules and Process Builder will eventually need to be a Flow.
Note: Workflow Rules and Process Rules are being retired in Winter 2023.
Overall, the session inspired me to sharpen my own Flow skills so that I can take advantage of all of the new functionality that will (pardon the pun) flow through Salesforce Flows. It’s essential that every Salesforce admin is able to automate both simple and complex business processes and Flows is the future.
Salesforce World Tour is Worth the Effort to Attend
Salesforce hosts these events all over the world and if you’re fortunate enough to be a reasonable distance from one of the host cities, it’s worth it for anyone that interacts with Salesforce as part of their role.
The learning opportunities are practically limitless, in fact, there is no way to take in all the sessions you want simply because many sessions are scheduled concurrently, which forces you to make some tough decisions.
The event is sponsored by the few dozen or so exhibitors that are usually represented by some of the big players in the AppExchange. But the event is well organized and designed to get you excited about everything available in the massive Salesforce ecosystem. It’s certainly not simply a trade show where endless rows of booths vie for your attention. Not at all. It’s an education event. You’ll leave inspired to try something new, explore a new product, or seek to sharpen your skills in one area of your work.
A few tips for your next World Tour:
- Arrive before the exhibit hall opens. I arrived about 30 minutes before the event opened and that gave me the opportunity to grab my credentials and get the lay of the land without rushing. It’s just too massive and the lines get too long to wait until you’re trying to get to your first session.
- Figure out specifically what vendors and sessions you want to visit. Make sure you know what you want to learn more about and plan around it. If you rely on wandering around looking for something interesting you’ll likely miss sessions that you would otherwise be interested in. There’s too much to see and do.
- Similar to the first tip, arrive as quickly as possible to each session. I missed several sessions simply because I was too late to get a seat or the privacy headphones. Thankfully, the venue had coffee and refreshments on every level so I didn’t need to go out of my way for a cup of coffee, which I am always willing to do.
And make sure you check out this blog post from Andrea Tarrell to make sure you get the most out of Salesforce community events in the future.