The mission – to bring some of the magic of Dreamforce back to the Netherlands. How did it go? Here’s the report I filed for Salesforce NL… (or read the Dutch version).

People entering Dreamforce to You venue

It’s financial year end and everyone’s rather busy, but this didn’t stop over 1,000 participants coming to Zaandam in November, to be welcomed by frites, burgers and a hint of Surinamese cuisine. By the official doors-opening time of 11.30am, the place was already pleasantly heaving, with sponsors manning their booths and no less than eight Salesforce stations with people keen to explain about the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing, Mulesoft and, well, you get the idea!

At 12.30pm Salesforce’s Eva Heffernan’s showcased the latest news from Dreamforce. Some highlights included:

Einstein Voice being showcased

–          Einstein AI. This was the big wow! Here we saw a live demo of voice recognition, fully integrated into Salesforce. Using AI, Salesforce managed to link the records to the right contacts and opportunity, even with incomplete information finding the correct record. Not only that, it created separate tasks (plural!). This is expected to be generally available from Spring ’19 (never any guarantees until it happens of course) and included as part of the standard Sales and Service Clouds, for no extra payments. For your busy sales person on the road this will be invaluable, and it looks like it will be quicker than typing anyway! This is just the beginning. What could your use-case be?

–          Intersport and Marktplaats were also highlighted.

Sidenote: It’s worth giving a shout out to Eva. She became Country Leader for the Netherlands earlier this year, and as a community volunteer who has occasional contact with her, her care for the whole Ohana (complete Salesforce ecosystem, including customers) is something that has to be seen to be believed. As an experienced colleague of mine commented “When I grow up I want to be Eva!”

Eva Heffernan

And then, after some ice cream, we had the choice of 16 different breakout sessions. Everything from partners demoing their latest completed projects, to Salesforce’ Success team talking about how you might want a field with lovely trees and flowers, but it’s the roots under the soil that need watering (you can guess where their emphasis was).

So genuinely lots going on. But the Salesforce team had one more trick up their sleeve.

These are the situations Bjorn has to deal with
Bjorn making difficult decisions under pressure!

The last session of the day was Björn Kuipers talking about working as a team. He’s a world-class referee and although I’m not exactly a fan of football, I was enthralled. Björn talked about performing under pressure, how to deal with big personalities, but most importantly, about trusting your fellow team mates. He regularly has to make decisions in seconds (if not a single second), and it’s about building trust, and relying on other people’s judgement and perspective, not just your own; as well as doing the right thing regardless of the pressure. The pictures of full stadiums with tens of thousands fans were pretty scary and it really gave me respect for him and his fellow referees, and the skill they have and how they achieve this.

But why this presentation? Well, trust goes back to a core Salesforce value (there’s only four: trust, customer success, innovation and equality). Mark Benioff figured out early on that if people didn’t trust the Salesforce platform it didn’t have a future; and this Björn’s presentation showed us how powerful the impact can be, for everyone’s ultimate benefit.

All those I spoke with, agreed that the day had been totally worthwhile, which is quite an achievement given the healthy mix of developers, administrators, end users and people just starting their journey into using or deploying Salesforce at their company, all being present. Something great for everyone, just as at the Dreamforce mothership event in San Francisco!

Drawing to a close, hopefully I’ve persuaded you that the next time Dreamforce to You comes around you’ll attend. The only problem is that there’s not likely to be another one for two years (just due to diary logistics), so what to do in the meantime?

Dirk Mol winning a YeurDreamin ticket!

Well, what if there was another opportunity just focusing on products and technology currently available? Would you like to attend workshops and sessions; to connect with your peers and compare experiences to find out what works best? We have an answer for you! Join us at YeurDreamin, the one-day conference for the Benelux region (and beyond), 14th June 2019 in Amsterdam. Organised for the community, by the community, we’re already excited! (tickets already available, but selling fast)