On Thursday 26th of March ABSI was present at the Salesforce World Tour in the RAI in Amsterdam. This year’s event was more important than ever as Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris was the special guest speaker. In my humble opinion, the first part of the keynote presentation was a real Hollywood show. The 3500 seats in the keynote room were set up in a circle, so that the speaker would have a 360° view of his audience. Renzo Taal (VP Northern Europe and country manager for the Netherlands) made a quick introduction, asking the audience if anyone had seen Parker Harris? At that moment we were surprised to discover Parker in a movie, displayed on 4 XXL screens, biking through the old city of Amsterdam. After a nice visit of the Amsterdam canals and bridges, and several stops at some bars. Parker made quite an appearance entering the keynote room riding the PostNL bike.
The Salesforce Clouds illustrated by customer success stories
The show continued as Parker explained with in depth demos the four Salesforce clouds, while illustrating them with real customer stories. The Belgian customers and partners were even more delighted to listen and follow the new Analytics Cloud demonstration and explanations by Carmina Coenen, (the Salesforce Belgium Principal Sales Engineer)
It was a very inspiring 90 minutes session where every person in the audience could think how what was presented could benefit his own company, be it in improving his interaction with its own customers or by rethinking its own sales or support business process.
While listening I was dreaming and thinking about the possible short term improvement for our own company, ABSI. How could we benefit from using in a better way the community chatter with our own customers or the new marketing cloud customer journey builder...
Salesforce is certainly executing today in an outstanding way, doing its best to be fully aligned with its customers' requests. They are listening to them - in my opnion - in an almost perfect way.
The ABSI booth in the Cloud Expo
When discussing with some customers and prospects at our booth after the keynote, some of them shared with me: "why the hell it seems so easy when listening to them, but for us even using ABSI's professional services and expertise it takes longer than a few weeks to deploy a ticketing solution, or a customer community…" My usual answer was it is the difference between the show and the reality and do not forget Salesforce is here to inspire us and a dream is by definition exaggerated.
While driving home with my 5 Belgian colleagues, I suddenly thought even Salesforce is not as perfect as they seem to tell us, they have real life challenges like any company. Here are two examples taken from the World Company Tour in Amsterdam that will make some of my readers smile while irritating others:
- Coca cola was the inspiring example during the keynote presentation but we were served Pepsi soda during all the breaks.
- Salesforce demonstrated the marketing cloud journey builders, but it is still Eloqua marketing automation (and not Pardot, nor ExactTarget) that is used to measure the visitor interaction when downloading the event Mobile App with the agenda.
I am sure at next year's event, they will serve us Coca cola and the marketing automation tool will be Salesforce marketing cloud.
As at previous events, the main objective of ABSI’s presence was to meet our existing Dutch and Belgian customers, share our expertise and know how in helping Enterprises implement the Salesforce solutions (sales cloud, service cloud or the marketing cloud - not to mention any custom cloud on Force.com) with new prospects, and indeed to continue learning and discovering new aspect of the ever growing Salesforce platform.
It was the most crowded Salesforce event in The Benelux, more than 5000 people registered, and my guess is that between 3000 and 3500 people people showed up. It is incredible how the current success of Salesforce is finally recognized in the Benelux. At ABSI, we were very proud to display on our booth the 10 Year+ partnership trophy received from Salesforce during the last Dreamforce event in San Francisco. Were we ahead of the curve back in 2002 when we spotted SFDC, or just lucky? I guess both…
Discover the presentation running at our booth that day on Prezi.
More info and photos from that day on Salesforce's website.