At this year’s Dreamforce 2013 event, Salesforce.com is expecting a new record for attendance – over 120,000 attendees are expected! When I think about seeing that many people in such close proximity, I tend to feel a bit anxious (strange, given that I grew up in Mumbai, a city teeming with over 20 million people!)

The project manager in me has taken over and tells me that if I don’t plan properly, this trip will not be what I “dreamed” it would be – pun intended :). This is actually my first Dreamforce trip, and the content here is mostly directed at myself!

It is very important that you use all the resources provided by Salesforce.com as well as other experienced, well informed bloggers on the internet to plan your trip well. That will make all the time and cost well worth it.

What is your purpose in coming to Dreamforce? Make sure that you define what you want to accomplish at the event. Write down your anticipated outcome – that will help you in your planning.

To plan your networking, understand that there are 4 major groupings of attendees at these conferences:

  • Salesforce.com employees (Executives, Sales & Marketing folks, CSMs, Architects & developers, CSMs)
  • AppExchange and non-AppExchange Vendors
  • Consulting firms and independent consultants from the Salesforce.com ecosystem (this is where I fall)
  • Existing and potential customers of Salesforce.com products and services

Decide on your target networking audience and be ready with sufficient numbers of business cards and any other content that you decide to hand out.

Many other blog posts have cautioned against packing in too many sessions – wise counsel indeed. Keep at least 30 mins in between sessions to meet with the presenter and other members from the audience. The discussions that take place after presentations tend to build on the material in the presentation and you get to learn a lot by participating in them.

If you like a particular industry, product or technical track, Salesforce.com has arranged for most of those sessions to be in a single venue. You can also use their online registration module and try to stick with one location for half a day or even the full day. This might be a good way to keep from tiring yourself out walking all over downtown SFO!

Also remember to bookmark the sessions that you like but are not able to attend – you can go back to the YouTube recordings later.

If you need to take a break from the event, here’s an interesting post about 10 Walkable Destinations from Dreamforce – cool tips indeed!

Hope you have a great time at Dreamforce 2013.