What is Salesforce Connections?
Connections is the biggest Salesforce Marketing Cloud event that brings marketing, commerce, and digital professionals together — to inspire, educate, and connect. The event creates an excellent opportunity for Salesforce professionals to network and learn together.
Salesforce Connections 2022 was happening live for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic and was streamed via Salesforce+ for thousands of people dialing in from distant locations.
Why is it important to everyone who uses SFMC?
In comparison to Dreamforce, Connections is the most significant event that unites Marketing Cloud professionals alongside MuleSoft and Tableau users. Therefore, the event offers an excellent opportunity to meet all professionals in person, learn about updates in Marketing Cloud, and get to know new vendors. The event is invaluable for those wishing to create a footprint in the SFMC ecosystem actively.
Our way to connections
We’ve closely observed every Connections event since 2020, and it’s remarkable that after only two years, we’re attending in person, where we had the pleasure of presenting. We’ve built a fantastic cross-Atlantic team dedicated to helping Salesforce customers with their segmentation and data integration needs in just two years.
What was it like for us?
Chicago is an incredible city, and attending this event was a phenomenal experience. Over 4,500 customers and potential customers attended, and another 3,000 Salesforce people. We had a big booth, well located in the space. We had a lot of interest from attendees, so the team constantly talked with people about what DESelect is and does. Connections was a well-organized event. Aside from the main sessions and stands, there were many side events and quite a few rooftop parties.
Tips for those who plan to visit Connections next time
There are a lot of sessions. Some have a limited capacity and are first-come, first-serve, so use the agenda planner to ensure you don’t miss out.
Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of Connections ’23 (or any Salesforce event in the future):
Book your travel early. These events fill up fast, as do the hotels, AirBnBs, and practically everywhere else with a pillow and a mattress. If you book late, prepare to have your team spread across various locations. It’s also worth mapping your route and doing a test walk the day before the conference if your travel schedule allows. You’ll be glad you did so when you stay out late networking and find yourself rushing to make that morning conference after hitting the snooze button for the sixteenth time.
Divide and conquer (plan your schedule). There are A LOT of sessions, which is excellent. But you can’t attend them all. If you’re lucky enough to be there with colleagues or coworkers, have them go to different sessions and share their notes with you. Not only does this reduce the risk of missing a great talk, but it also forces you to pay more attention so you can share the learnings with your teammates.
Show up early to sessions. Some sessions are in open areas near booths, other session stages, and speakers playing music. It’s an exciting atmosphere, but it can be hard to hear if you end up stuck at the back (especially when it’s standing-room-only, as with the talk given by DESelect’s very own CEO, Anthony Lamot : ) ).
Attend after-hours networking sessions. Whether rooftop networking before the official conference or an after-party, you’ll have some of the best conversations and connections (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) outside of the event. After a long day of packing your brain with the latest marketing cloud best practices, it’s great to hear directly from people experiencing the same challenges as you in a more casual setting. Other SFMC users are a blast to spend time with, and you’ll also meet potential marketing partners and vendors in a friendly atmosphere. Salesforce isn’t one to throw a boring event, so everything they do surrounding the conference is well worth checking out (think parties, concerts, and more).
Don’t forget the lounges. Lounges like this year’s International Lounge were home to delicious food, quiet meeting spaces, and a break from the fast-paced nature of the conference. This year one lounge even allowed a large group of attendees to use free of charge Build-a-Bear services to create stuffed animals for their “kids” (or at least that was everyone’s excuse). If you’re headed to a future event, don’t forget to check out the lounges! Note these can sometimes require special access privileges for sponsors, so inquire accordingly.
Sponsoring the event? Spread your team out. The worst thing you can do at Connections is anchor yourself to one spot. If you’re a sponsor, spread out your team. Around meals, before and after sessions, people rush to the booths. There are also many great conversations to be had everywhere, so deploy yourselves tactically—the hallways, sessions, networking events, concerts, and so on.
Bring comfortable shoes. On the subject of moving, make sure you take care of your feet. The event spaces are large and spread out, so if you don’t bring comfortable footwear, you might regret it. Bring something good for walking, and if you’re sponsoring, make sure they’re also suitable for standing for long periods.
Bring a water bottle. With an event as good as this, the only thing you should be thirsty for is knowledge. And cool swag, of course. The event space is enormous, and it’s not always easy to find a drink, especially if you’re working at a booth.
Should you attend a boat tour? Yes! We know what you’re thinking. After a long conference, the last thing you want to do is climb on a boat filled with coworkers. However, this is a great way to see some of the city. These events fill up fast, so register early and show up on time. You’ll get to appreciate some of Chicago’s architecture while having interesting conversations with people just as exhausted as you. Overall, this is a great way to round off your trip. See the sights and stay productive along the way.
Our main takeaway
We’ve already decided to return next year as a sponsor. Following Connections, we’re now reconsidering what we can do at Dreamforce.
Salesforce Connections 2022 was the super bowl of Marketing Cloud conferences. Almost every person we bumped into, every contact we networked with, and every new friend we connected with was either actively using SFMC or on their way to implementing it. Next year, with so many great people (and marketing insights) in one place, you’ll want to ensure you maximize your time at the event.
Attending Connections, you get to be around like-minded, forward-thinking marketers. You’ll have thought-provoking conversations, memorable experiences, a wish list of new technologies to implement, and new ideas about tackling longstanding nagging issues. So, if you’re considering attending another Connections or a similar Salesforce event, keep these tips in mind so you’ll be off to a great start. We can’t wait to see you at Connections next year (wearing comfortable shoes, we hope)!
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