My DF14 Sessions

At the time of this post, Dreamforce is only 9 days away! If you haven’t filled in your agenda already, you should stop reading and immediately go and do that. Do not delay, do not pass Go, etc. However, if you’re still with me and you have some slots to fill in your DF14 schedule, then take a look at the followings sessions I am participating in when Dreamforce rolls around. This is my third Dreamforce in as many as years and coincidentally I have 3 sessions. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I hit the easy button and copied the session details below with links if your interested.

Building Culture: It’s Bigger than Salesforce

Speakers: Kyla Longe, Christopher Fuller, Mark Kovacevich, Pauline Mulvey and Chris Zullo

Join us to learn how to use Work.com and Chatter to improve and manage the culture of your organization. It’s not all about flipping a switch and watching the magic happen by itself. In order to make the undesirable desirable, harness peer pressure positively, design rewards, and demand accountability, you must have a plan if you hope to change the culture in your Salesforce environment. We’ll describe practical use-cases, even in regulated industries, that will help you drive change and engage your employees and colleagues. Discover how to get more traction in your Salesforce instance while shifting the culture.

Time & Location

Monday, 1:30 PM – 2:10 PM
Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Golden Gate 6,7,8

Building a Successful Social Strategy with #5W1H

Speakers: Nicholas Zinser and Chris Zullo

You’re an admin and you are expected to be all things to all people…right? Don’t just “do” social, “be” social. Join us as we leverage the familiar concept of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How…aka #5W1H, to help your organization be more social and measure it. Walk away with the framework and tips for each section that can be customized to your organization’s needs to be social and add value to the bottom line.

Time & Location

Tuesday, 9:00 AM – 9:40 AM
Century Theaters
Theater 4

Building Culture: It’s Bigger than Salesforce

Speakers: Kyla Longe, Pauline Mulvey and Chris Zullo

Use Work.com and Chatter to improve and manage the culture of your organization. It’s not all about flipping a switch and watching the magic happen by itself. In order to make the undesirable desirable, harness peer pressure positively, design rewards and demand accountability you must have a plan if you hope to change the culture in your Salesforce environment. We’ll describe practical use-cases, even in regulated industries that will help you drive change, and engage your employees and colleagues. Join us and discover how to get more traction in your Salesforce instance while shifting the culture.

Time & Location

Thursday, 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Moscone Center West
Admin Theater Zone

CNX14 Week in Review

Now that Connections 2014 has wrapped up, I’d like to take a moment to look back at a great week for the following reasons:

  • Education – This should always be the priority when attending these conferences
  • Networking – It is called Connections after all. Might as well make some
  • Entertainment – After many hours of running from one session to the next, it’s nice to unwind

Education

Knowledge is power and so is understanding how to use it. If training is offered, take it. Deep dive training tracks usually come at an extra cost. Grab one if it fits your budget. However, there typically are several shorter training sessions that are included with your conference pass. I was able to take advantage of both this week and glad I did. I left CNX14 knowing more than I did going in.

In a couple weeks, I’ll be attending Dreamforce in San Francisco. Once again, I’m grabbing as many Hands-on Training Sessions (HOTs) as I can manage. These are among the most popular and highly attended sessions. Grab one if you can.

One major announcement that will allow me to continue learning and expanding my skills is the new Marketing Cloud Developer Edition. For the first time ever, anyone can get access to a developer account with ExactTarget. This great for those looking to broaden their command of the core application as well as extend functionality through custom development. To learn more about what you can do with your new account, check out Getting Started with ExactTarget Marketing Cloud development.

Networking

Mingle. Knowledge isn’t the only new thing you should walk away with. Bring cards, use LinkedIn and other means to engage with people and share ideas. One of the things that makes Salesforce Community so strong is the community itself where we learn as much from each other as we do from the official guides and online help.

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Entertainment

CNX14 had a great lineup starting with local band Dude!will.i.amThe Script, DJ Casey Connor  and Walk the Moon.  will.i.am even performed LIVE with a wearable prototype that allowed him to DJ from his wrist! All the acts were at a minimum, entertaining and energetic. It’s nice to wrap up a long day with some great entertainment.

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All in all it was a week we’ll spent. I am looking forward to Connections ’15 in New York!

CNX14 Day 3 Recap

Day 3 was packed with product keynotes and feature specific content. Data was, is and always will be the key. Especially, when we’re talking about people. It’s who you know, not what you know. How well do you know your customers and how can you leverage that information to enhance their experience with your products and retain their patronage? A recurring theme throughout the day was personalization and how every individual is the target market instead simple groups of similar people. It was great to hear firsthand accounts from several organizations how they are engaging customers with relevant information at the right time using the tools in the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

Today is the 4th and final day of Connections. There are several keynotes and one last chance to visit the Expo floor, including the Developer Zone where I’ll be. Tomorrow I’ll summarize the week as a whole.

CNX14 Day 2 Recap

You have just taken your first step in the journey with the Marketing Cloud…and in just a few minutes, you will receive an activation email for your free Developer Edition.

Those words brought a tear to my eye. If you haven’t heard, you can now get your very own Developer Account in the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. This is awesome news for those looking to unlock and extend the power of ExactTarget. All around it was another great day of learning and connecting.

Another cool development happened during the music festival with will.i.am performing and DJing LIVE from his wrist!! It wasn’t without it’s quirks, but he handled it like a BOSS and it was even more impressive as his fully load laptop actually crashed forcing him to rely on the wrist DJ (the death stares his tech guy got as he tried to fix the laptop on stage suggests this was NOT staged. If it was, it was REALLY good acting). The Script and DJ Casey Connor also put on excellent performances.

Time to start day 3 with the Product Keynote at 10:00am ET. Don’t forget you can stream it live here.

CNX14 Day 1 Recap

wpid-imag2896.jpgMonday was the first day of ExactTarget Connections. There are only a few activities available on day one, which is mostly about getting here, registration and prepping to roll through the meat of the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I was fortunate enough to find one activity that is as valuable as just about any you will find here by attending a training session. Whenever I attend any kind of trade show or work related conference, my number one priority is learning something new. Mission accomplished and we’re just getting started! As much fun as the entertainment and parties can be, it’s all about knowledge.

If you’re not attending CNX14 and saving yourself for Dreamforce next month, make sure you maximize your agenda by grabbing at least one Hands-on Training Session (HOT). The fill up fast so if you don’t get the one you want, favorite it and keep checking to see if new ones are added. The most popular HOTs are likely to be repeated. A limited number of walk-ups are held in reserve so even if you can’t lock one in, you still have a good chance of getting in. If you go the “stand-by” route, it is recommended to arrive early to be at the front of the line. There’s always a few no shows, but don’t rely on that if you really need to get in on a particular training session.

I’m excited be here at Connections and looking forward to starting day 2 with the Opening Keynote at 10:00am ET. You can stream it live even if you’re not here.

Babyforce 2.0

I cannot take credit for the original idea, that honor goes to Brian Kwong, aka The Wizard. His version was born in a browser before Salesforce1 (S1) and Publisher Actions (did I get it right Shannon?) were introduced. So when my youngest was born, I built Babyforce 2.0 as way to pass the time during those late nights and amuse myself by building an app my wife could easily use to track diaper changes and baby wipes. Easy, right?

Actually, yes it is. That’s the beauty of S1, anyone can build an app, no code required! In my case I had several objectives:

  1. Had to be short and sweet – no way I’m getting Wifey to use this if it’s hard
  2. Had to include only the essentials – no need to get fancy
  3. Had to be measurable – how else would I justify my experiment?

After few minutes, Babyforce was mobile! Over the first month, my lovely wife amused me by participating in my little experiment. We collectively tracked 357 “transactions” and broke them down few different ways. I give you the BabyDash!

Salesforce DashboardHere a couple of screenshots in Salesforce1 including a couple reports and the Publisher Action used to track each change.

Salesforce1 Report View

Salesforce1 Publisher Action

It was a fun way to brush up on the functionality of Salesforce1 and did not take long to create. Safe Harbor, Brian is working on Toddlerforce 1.0. Stay tuned!

 

Road Trip

Photo Credit: Jennifer SpannerIf you use Salesforce and haven’t joined the Salesforce Success Community or been to a user group before, you should. In a nutshell, it’s a support network for the community, by the community. The community is more than just a simple forum with questions and answers. It’s absolutely a fantastic resource for your Salesforce education, but it goes way beyond that.

This community cares and genuinely looks after each other. Don’t believe me? Read Cheryl Feldman’s first user group experience. Listen to  Sarah Deutsch on the power of Community podcast on the ButtonClick Admin™. Or check out the magical journey of our resident Wizard, Brian Kwong who will point you to yet more inspiration.

I also owe my thanks to many many people in the community. That’s a key word – community. The majority of my self-education came from the community. – Brian Kwong, aka Salesforce Wizard

No matter your role, level or location, if you work with Salesforce the community is available. The Success Community is the epicenter in the cloud. This is where you will find Answers your questions, a platform for your Ideas or a place for Collaboration. It’s also the home for most User Groups (for Developer Groups head here).

This week  I had the pleasure taking road trip to Wilmington, NC to present at the local user group with my friend and fellow community member Phillip Southern, author of the blog philthecloud.com. We had a great conversation with those in attendance about the Salesforce Community at large and the MVP Program which is an subset of the community. We were invited to speak to the community about the community…AWESOME! We had a great group who were interactive and eager learn more about the benefits of participating in the community.

As we wrapped our session, an unexpected and thoughtful question was asked by the crowd, had we as presenters saw value in the conversation even though it was a requirement of the program? The answer to the first part of the question is we definitely enjoyed our time and easily saw the value. Any chance we have to encourage others to participate in the community is welcome. The fact that we had more of a conversation than a straight up push presentation where we did all the talking was all I needed to know the topic resonated. As for the second part of the question, it is actually not a requirement of the program. It’s an honor to collaborate with others in the community at events like this. For those who are remote employees like Phil and myself, it’s an opportunity to meet new people, learn and share. We do it because we love the community, both online and in person.

Community – without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and to all of you in my Community, thanks for everything you do. It is greatly appreciated! – Eric Dreshfield

The following is a excerpt taken from the online community. It sums up the best of the community:

Image from public page on Salesforce Answers

At a minimum, the community is a resource you can learn from, free of charge. At it’s best, the community is will improve your life as much personally as it does professionally.

Ready to join the fun? Go to https://success.salesforce.com/ to learn more and start your own road trip!

 

Spring ’14 Release

Spring14Release.jpgIt’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! No, not Salesforce Spring ’14 maintenance exam, that’s available on the 20th. I’m talking about my own update in the form of a new baby boy. It’s an exciting time in the Zullo family and while I was watching my oldest interact with my youngest, I was reminded that you get back what you put in…to anything. My marriage, family, friends, career, pretty much everything I do is dependent on my input. You get back you put in. I was reminded of this over the weekend when my oldest met my newest child. Like most parents, I think my kid is pretty sharp and more importantly a good person in the making. I’ve known for a while that my firstborn is a compassionate soul, but was still floored by his love and affection for his younger sibling, by the pride, joy and determination in caring for his new brother. I’d like to think our family has had something to do with that and it’s not a coincidence.

The Salesforce Success Community is no different. I don’t believe is a coincidence is my professional happiness has improved significantly since I increased my activity in Salesforce and the community it fosters. In the past 2 years alone I’ve met some amazing people, strengthened and stretched myself and I am as happy as I have been in my career in some time. No way this is all luck. Do I feel lucky to have an amazing family and network? Of course! Do I actually believe it’s all luck that the pieces of my life puzzle have randomly fallen into place? No. You get what you put in. If you put crappy data into your system, guess what? Your data is crappy. If you don’t put genuine effort into your relationships, then you probably won’t have anybody to stand by you when things get tough. I love my life and those who are in it. After my family, my Salesforce family has been a huge part of my recent success and professional enjoyment. Where else am I going to find people who send me congratulations about my Spring ’14 release in Salesforce-speak?

Whatever you do in life, know that you get back, what you put it in.

Safe Harbor

Coming Soon

Coming soon to a cloud near you is the newest member of my family. Early product development point towards a single new product. Currently in pilot mode, baby Zullo will be Generally Available (GA) with the Spring ’14 release. Version 2.0 has yet to be named or fully defined, yet it is widely expected to be a welcome enhancement to the family. Pestered by family members since version 1.0 was released, this Idea has been voted and promoted more frequently than Peter Coffee has given Safe Harbor statements. The executive leadership team will keep everyone posted once Release Notes have been finalized.

Safe Harbor

This birth announcement may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. If any such risks or uncertainties materialize or if any of the assumptions prove incorrect, the results of birth could differ materially from the results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements we make. All statements other than statements of historical fact could be deemed forward-looking statements, including: any projections of quantity, gender, height, weight, hair, or other physical traits; any statements regarding strategies or plans of life management for future education; any statements concerning athletic developments; and any statements of belief. The risks and uncertainties referred to above include – but are not limited to – risks associated with the possible gender result(s); the rate of growth; the financial impact of any previous and future gift purchases; changes in our residence; technological developments; regulatory developments; litigation related to intellectual property and other matters; and general developments in the family. La Familia Zullo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

The Disney Experience

The Magic Kingdom - Photo by Chris Zullo I recently shared a family vacation at Disney. If any business understands the customer experience, it has to be the iconic mouse and his pals. Disney realizes that we have options. The reason people travel to Disney from all over the world  Disneyland or World is for the experience. If it was only about the rides, then no one make the yearly pilgrimage that many make as there are plenty of amusement parks that are much closer to home and likely cheaper, yet people save much of their holiday funds to visit that magical castle. Disney understands that my experience is paramount to building and maintaining a relationship that makes me say, “That was AMAZING and I want to do that again!” and hope that I will share my raving review with friends and family. During my visit the following quote from Paul Greenberg‘s book, CRM at the Speed of Light, Fourth Edition rang true repeatedly:

Your purpose for this granular look at the customer’s specific experience is to find out what you need to provide them with that is actually important to them. It allows you to understand what it will take to reinforce the positive, reduce or eliminate the negative, and meet or exceed customer expectations. You can’t ask for more than that.

If your not happy, they want to know so they can fix it and learn from it. I saw a great example of this one night heading into a live action show and just outside the amphitheater in Hollywood Studios there was an obviously upset father with a stroller who started walking away, but the park staff who was speaking with him (note “with” not “to”) immediately went into super customer (secret) service mode by radioing to the nearest checkpoint to “stop that stroller”. No joke. They want everyone to have the best time possible. Earlier that same night, a toy my son picked out the night before broke. We found a vendor that had the same item and were able to exchange without issue. Disney is an experience and the company knows it. That is why people come from all over the world even when there are closer options. There are Disney parks in Europe and Asia, but people from these continents still travel to North America to experience the original parks. Experiences, good or bad, influence our decisions to repeat or avoid specific activities.

Few businesses put in the effort that Disney does to ensure you swing towards the positive end of end of this spectrum. For example, when I think about going to a sporting event or even getting on a plane, I dread the security line. Disney easily has the most efficient entry process I have ever seen. They are properly staffed and keep the flow moving with a thorough, yet quick security check. Once you clear security and the ticket gate, there are ambassadors posted nearby that are there to help answer any questions you have and to address any issues with your experience. They have the authority to handle it on the spot. Multiple times were asked how was our stay going and not because there was an issue. There is generally positive vibe here. Again, this comes down to the experience. I should not be gushing over my entry into an amusement park, but here I am because of the conditioning of countless poor experiences that have lowered my expectations to such a level that I am impressed just by getting through the door in a reasonable amount of time. There are many more examples I could site, but suffice it to say don’t take my word for it. Go experience it yourself firsthand.

Four days, three nights, practically no sleep with a 2 year-old in tow and I’d do it again because my experience was awesome!