Top Dreamforce 2016 Take-Aways


This was my first Dreamforce conference and while I enjoyed seeing U2 and Flo Rida, I was there to learn more about Pardot and the Salesforce universe.

Top Dreamforce 2016 Take-Aways

How Applying Design Thinking Drives Success

My newest Marketing man-crush, I had the chance to attend two of Cliff Seal’s presentations and I’ve become a fan and disciple.

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Cliff Seal introduced me to the concept of “Design Sprints.” Created by Google Ventures, Design Sprints seem like a mash up of the Socratic Method, Agile Development and Rapid Prototyping focused on developing new products. I will be learning more about this tactic, but Chris suggests this process can be used to drive more customer value and Marketing campaign effectiveness.

Artificial Intelligence Applied to Sales and Marketing (Einstein)

A primary challenge with Sales and Marketing systems is the upfront and ongoing effort required to accurately  configure systems to suit your businesses needs. During configuration you’re describing your businesses values and business model to the software package.  You’re turning analog into digital.  It takes an immense about of iterative effort and is difficult to get a software package to understand the circumstances and rules of your particular business.

With the promise of Artificial Intelligence in Salesforce – the SOFTWARE learns about YOU by connecting unseen dots in your data.  Imagine not having to define personas, customer life cycles, prospect grades and scores, automation rules, etc.  If it works as demonstrated, and it may take a few iterations to work perfectly for most customers, Salesforce will use AI to make the right offer to the best prospects at the best time. I’ll start off as a doubting Thomas, a lot goes into understanding a business operation, but if AI works for Google, Facebook and Amazon – I imagine it can work for Salesforce too.

More on Salesforce’s Einstein.


Marc Benioff, Parker Harris and Einstein onstage at Dreamforce 2016

Salesforce Invests in Customer Success

I’ve been working with hardware and software vendors for twenty years. I’ve worked with some of the best including Sun Microsystem and EMC.  Yet I would say…

I’ve never worked with an organization as committed to customer satisfaction as Salesforce.

How Salesforce Commits to Customer Satisfaction

Most of my experience, albeit short-lived, comes from working with Pardot. Here are a few examples demonstrating how Salesforce commits to helping customers succeed.

  1. Dreamforce – Just look at the attention to detail paid to the event. As an attendee I felt like the event was managed with me in mind, which as anyone who has attended an industry event would likely attest, is highly unusual.  Some examples:
    1. The app provides attendees with everything they need to have a productive event including: personalized agendas, and walking directions to your sessions.
    2. Salesforce provided recommended course tracks by segment or industry to help customers and prevent anyone from feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of available sessions.
    3. At just about any moment you could turn around and ask a Salesforce representative for directions. Sounds simple but remember there were over 170,000 attendees and the event is stretched over much of downtown San Francisco.  It’s very easy to get turned around.
  2. Success Community – the Salesforce community is the best online product community I’ve ever used. When I post a question to the community, it is always answered. Often a Salesforce employee answers but it’s just as likely that others in the Salesforce community, such as users and integrators, will offer suggestions. In my experience, this is uncommon. Sure, perhaps strong lifestyle brands have a loyal and vocal customers, but rarely do I see such a vibrant support community behind a tech brand.
  3. Pardot Customer Advocates – These people are simply the best. Don’t believe me? Check out their support site. The team is there with Open Hours everyday to answer questions and give advice. Here’s my newest example.  I brought a list of questions with me to Dreamforce.  I attended a Pardot live strategy session with the Pardot Customer Advocates and came with solutions to my questions.  I can’t wait to put new practices into operation.
  4. The People – Every person I met, be it an account rep, service manager or support person seemed genuinely interested in how my organization is doing within the Salesforce ecosystem and offered suggestions on how to get the most of out of Salesforce.


Share your top take away from Dreamforce 2016 in the comments below…

Connect with me at Dreamforce #DF16, if…

Connect with me at Dreamforce

Connect with me at Dreamforce

As I finalize my preparations for my inaugural trip to the Salesforce Dreamforce conference, I’m reaching out to the 170,000+ attendees. If you have potential solutions to specific projects I am working on please respond back.

My agenda is already packed but I welcome hearing from solutions providers that can help me solve specific projects I am working on.


  1. Marketing Material in Salesforce – I’m looking for solutions that allow Marketing to create a library of materials for use by Sales within Salesforce.
  2. Advanced Segmentation – I’m interested in tools that go beyond the basic capabilities of Pardot segmentation.
  3. Business Card Capture – I need a tool that will scan a business card, look up a prospect and allow the field team to enter notes on that contact.

If you have solutions for these three projects, by all means, please connect with me on Twitter @iamreff or leave details in the comments. (if you don’t meet the criteria above, don’t contact me!)


How To Amp Up Your Digital Marketing #CoolTools

The recent MFEA Digital Summit drew digital marketers from the asset management industry.  The agenda covered important topics including: Marketing Automation Platforms, Sales Enablement, Content Management Systems, Content Distribution, Data Management and Integration, Customer Experience Management, and Lead to Revenue to name a few.  Attendees got to hear from select partners and, most importantly, each other on how to advance their Marketing program. I was super proud of the work Julia Binder and Victor did in our panel on the Rise of the OmniChannel Advisor.

One of fun things attendees enjoyed was hearing about the “Cool Tools” used by others to solve specific challenges. These aren’t the major platforms used by digital marketers – these are the nifty gizmos that make your job easier.

How To Amp Up Your Digital Marketing


Crystal Knows uses what individuals have shared on the internet (or what others have shared about them) and runs that through a series of personality tests. The result is guidance on how best to communicate with an individual.  For example, if a person favors brevity, you best get to the point, but if they prefer a well reasoned explanation you better bring the facts!  It’s a great prospecting tool and it likely plugs into the tools you already use. To demonstrate I plugged Jeremy Floyd into Crystal Knows. It provides a lot of advice. Here’s what it said about emailing Jeremy: 🙂


Credit: Jeremy Floyd


Studies have shown that the title of online piece is as important as the piece itself. If the title is not compelling, your audience is unlikely to click through.  CoSchedule provides a free headline analyzer that scores your title providing insights on how to get the best results. The site favors “How To” posts which may not work for everyone but it will get you thinking about your audience and what messaging will connect with them.

This post was originally titled “Cool Tools For Digital Marketers,” you can see my Headline Analyzer results below.


Credit: John Refford ← yours truly


As discussed in this tutorial, Jenkins is a free, open source tool to perform continuous integration and build automation. Jenkins is configured to execute a series of steps such as performing a software build → running a shell script → archiving the build result → starting integration tests.

Credit: David Roe


Seismic is a Sales Enablement platform used by a mobile sales force to access content designed and approved by Marketing. It is used to ensure field sales has easy access to latest proposals, presentations, contracts, etc.



Knowing that developing engaging, interactive content is critical to prospecting and top of the funnel activity, digital marketers are turning to tools like Jebbit to create micro-content that engages your target market segments. Jebbit’s solutions cover display, on-site, native, social, search and email.

Credit: John Stone

Share your Cool Tools in the comments…

Curated: ROI of Customer Experience INFOGRAPHIC

Customer Experience is more than the latest Marketing fad.  It produces results.

Source: ROI of Customer Experience (Infographic)

Results: “One Thought” for 2016

One-Thought-croppedAs we roll into 2016 I wondered what was on the minds of other Marketing Technologists?  I was curious what direction Marketing Technology would go in responding to: “what’s on your mind?.” Thank you to those that contributed their thoughts, you can click through to find and follow them on Twitter. Take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments.

Results summary

Participants responded in a few different ways. Some focused on the big picture and reflected on how Marketing Technology is impacting the technology landscape. Many shared the tactics they feel will drive results in 2016 and a few dared to make predictions. There was also an engaging discussion (#argument) over the rise of brand participation in Snapchat.

The Continued Rise of Marketing Technologists

Scott Brinker, Stacey Floyd and Matt Heinz weighed in on how Marketing Technologists will continue to advance as a profession. Not only will they rise in stature within the organization but they will become a highly prized asset, capable to driving business results.

2016 Marketing Technology Tactics

Several weighed in on specific Marketing Technology tactics worthy of consideration in 2016 including video, website optimization, integrated ecosystems and advanced personalization. Thanks to Bill Winterberg, Robert Clarke, Adam Cohen and Mayur Gupta – with the twofer – for contributing.


Allen Gannett stirred the pot by predicting brands would invest heavily in Snapchat. Mike Langford didn’t agree about SnapChat and offered that 2016 would be the year of iBeacon. Kyle Flaherty brought a sense of responsibility to the conversation by saying us Marketing Technologists know just enough to get everyone killed – or maybe just fired.

Share your “One Thought” in the comments.


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