Editor’s note: Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business (on Salem affiliate and Bloomberg home in Houston, 1070 KNTH), and Publisher and Editor in Chief of the US Daily Review is covering Dreamforce 2011 for the second year in a row. Each day he will be providing short posts covering highlights, low points, and interesting items that fall in between.
Excellent Handling of Division of Labor
One of the things you notice rather quickly at a Dreamforce event is that this organization understands the old concept of “division of labor.” This simply means breaking down the activities of a company into their smallest areas and making sure you have people concentrate on those specific parts. With Dreamforce having over 40,000 attendents this year, that idea is more important than ever for a company such as this. Instead of internally hiring people who can do everything necessary for an event such as this, they wisely hire vendors to take care of the vast majority of their activities. This same idea goes into Dreamforce’s parent company, Salesforce.com, which has created a massive sales and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform with room for many applications that can be added to it in order to customize it to meet the varied needs of customers. As a result of this approach, Salesforce.com is more of an organism and not a one dimensional company. This open approach has attracted large numbers of partners which has allowed it the company to grow exponentially. It is fun to watch.
How not to Handle a Crowd
There is an old saying that has largely proved true — nothing is so bad that it cannot get worse, and nothing is so good that it cannot get better. When you have a massive event like Dreamforce, you can expect serious challenges. One of the things that has impressed me about the company though, is its ability to respond to those challenges and make them into opportunities. One of the most important aspects of the program is their keynote speakers. When ever such presentations are taking place the only people allowed in the lower level Expo level are those who work in the booths. My media credentials had zero value at that point. This created a fire department nightmare in the upper levels of the building where people were waiting for the Expo hall to reopen and go down. There was also a great deal of discontentment. I’m sure this is done to reduce the noise outside of the immediate area of where the speaker presents, but it created a nightmare in which thousands felt like cattle fenced in. There has to be a better way. The distance between the Expo area and conference area is significant and although they want to give everyone an opportunity to hear the keynote speaker, they just need to inform the companies they will need representatives to stay in order to protect the booth so people can go and look around. I know this gives an incentive for many people not to attend the keynotes, but that is happening anyway, meanwhile there is a large crowd that is unhappy as they are forced to wait. I am sure there are significant financial incentives to maintain the status quo, but my instincts tell me this will change in the very near future.
Favorite Stories of the Day
I loved interviewing my friend and regular contributor to the Price of Business Show, Walter Rogers of Baker Communications about his new book, SPARK!. This interesting book is a great read on the best practices when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM). Normally a very dry topic that seems designed to put people asleep, SPARK! grabs your attention and is must reading. US Daily Review will be doing a review of the book later this week, so check the site often or subscribe to our RSS feed.
Also I enjoyed visiting with Bob Marsh, Senior Vice President for Sales Strategy with ePrize.com. I first became familiar with ePrize through commercials developed by the state of Michigan about innovative companies that have located there. What is interesting to me about the company is that it is an unusual success story in otherwise bleak state. Furthermore, it is located just blocks from where I grew up in Ferndale in the small town of Pleasant Ridge. Rarely does a week go by where I am not reporting about another Michigan horror story, so I found this one very refreshing. I look forward to bringing more great stories from Dreamforce 2011.