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How small businesses can make the most of Dreamforce

There’s no need to be a well-known exec or an employee at a huge company to attend Dreamforce. The citywide conference is full of events designed specifically for customer-centric businesses. That, of course, includes small businesses from a variety of industries and backgrounds, and with their own knowledge on what makes for great customer experiences.

From hands-on workshops to insightful sessions (and, of course, the networking parties), here’s a sampling of the small business experience of Dreamforce and a few tips on how to embrace it.

ATTEND THE SESSIONS — THEY’RE FULL OF IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES.

Experts, analysts, and leaders who focus on or are passionate about small businesses come to share their knowledge at Dreamforce. The 2019 event has over 50 sessions that are tailored specifically for small businesses — you can watch a few of the recorded sessions from 2018 below:

Pro tip: Plan for the sessions you want to see ahead of time. Like going to a music festival with multiple stages, you’ll need to strategize based on where and when the sessions are. The good news is most of those small business-focused sessions are in the same area, but their times and locations might conflict with other interesting events.

Follow the dedicated trail for the small business experience.

Since Dreamforce takes over much of downtown San Francisco, there’s plenty of space to dedicate entire areas to the small business experience. At the 2019 conference, there are six zones for small business professionals to visit and learn from. We even have a handy map to guides attendees through the entire experience (you can take your own path as well, but the guided experience is definitely recommended).

The guided small business experience starts from hearing directly from successful small businesses on how they found solutions to their customer-related issues. From there, attendees can participate in related workshops and demo the latest customer experience solutions. That’s followed by opportunities to connect with execs and leaders in the small business community at intimate networking events.

Pro tip: Find new friends who are interested in the same Dreamforce experiences. Following the guided experience will likely result in seeing familiar faces over the course of the conference — it’s a great opportunity to meet other attendees who are interested in the same topics, sessions, and workshops. Chances are if they have those similar interests, they’ll be a good connection to make.

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Take advantage of the great opportunities to network.

Speaking of which, Dreamforce is the largest tech conference in the world. In 2018, over 170,000 registered attendees from over 100 countries came to experience it (not to mention 13.5 million viewers watched it online). With so many folks in attendance, there’s a good chance that you’ll hear something or meet someone who can help with your small business’s needs.

Here are three reasons to network at Dreamforce:

  • Exchange ideas and resources: If your small business has an ongoing issue, there are likely more than a few attendees who have gone through similar experiences. The opportunity to exchange ideas, stories, and recommendations around small businesses is a major focus for Dreamforce.
  • The chance for new opportunities: Come in curious and open-minded. Not only will you get to experience a variety of perspectives around technology solutions and customers, but you might also uncover new opportunities for partnerships, consultations, or the next step in your career.
  • Build your status, confidence, and relationships: Networking is necessary for career growth, but it can be intimidating at times. Dreamforce is a chance to be surrounded by fellow professionals who are all focused on providing the best experiences for their customers. That common ground gives attendees the chance to build their status in small business circles, all while gaining greater confidence and new professional relationships along the way.

Pro tip: Share, don’t sell. A casual, non-salesy approach to networking pays off more than using it as an opportunity to drive new business. Even if you’re an incredible salesperson, you’ll get more from other attendees if you share ideas and stories rather than your goods and services. Dreamforce is one of the best places to build on ideas around customer solutions with like-minded individuals.

See and explore some of the biggest customer innovations in action.

Even apart from everything small business-related, there is a ton to see and experience at Dreamforce (besides the big concert). You can learn about the latest innovations in personalized customer experiences, hear what skills and credentials are in high demand, and meet others from different business communities. Even if you’re focused on small business, there’s so much going on at Dreamforce that you may find inspiration where you weren’t expecting it.

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