The Trailblazers’ Guide to Dreamforce 2017

Amar Tejaswi Dreamforce, Dreamforce 2017, Salesforce Training
Dreamforce 2017

Finally, it’s time again when thousands of crazy Salesforce Trailblazers to congregate in San Francisco for Dreamforce 2017. Every Dreamforce has a lot of first timers and a big lot of veterans attending but no two events are starkly alike. So, we thought we could stitch together a preview of Dreamforce 2017 just for you Trailblazers, so that you know exactly what to expect at Salesforce’s mega event.


One of the reasons why Dreamforce is the world’s biggest SaaS conference is because it’s an event that has something for every type of audience. In fact, more than just something.

Just to refresh, Dreamforce 2017 will be held between November 6-9 in San Francisco and is expected to be attended by about 170,000+ people from all over the world. 

Dreamforce over the last 14 Years

Dreamforce today isn’t just a conference, it’s a spectacle. But it’s hard to imagine that the conference started 14 years ago with just 1300 attendees and the theme: Imagination You Can Use. If 170,000 attend Dreamforce 2017, it would be a 13,000% increase in attendance and much more in overall popularity across the globe.

It almost feels nostalgic thinking about the first Dreamforce held in a hotel ballroom in San Francisco had Adam Bosworth and David Vaskevitch speaking.

Dreamforce between 2003 and 2013

Dreamforce between 2003 and 2013. Source: Salesforce

Dreamforce’s rise was neither sudden nor swift in its infant years. In fact, as you can see, even in the 2010 edition, there were just about 30,000 attendees. But that’s when the number of attendees started doubling each year as the hype around Salesforce as a product grew exponentially.   

Cut to 2017, when San Francisco and the Moscone Center get overrun with the city’ population inflating by almost 20% just for the event. This year, it appears, almost 85% of the accommodation is already booked and Airbnb is already facing the crunch. In a similar situation in 2015, Salesforce had rented a cruise for people to stay over. 

Quick tip: If you haven’t made bookings yet, here are some ways you can find hotels and accommodations during Dreamforce.

Now, that was something.

So, what’s the 2017 edition expected to be like? Let’s see.

Innovation, Einstein and Equality Take Centre stage in Dreamforce 2017

Salesforce debuted its Artificial Intelligence platform at the last edition. But this year, the CRM giant is expected to focus on the use cases and demonstrations of the practical applications of Einstein. Artificial Intelligence, predictive algorithms and data science is still likely to dominate the discourse.

Plus, with all the recent acquisitions from productivity tool Quip to the recent UI/UX firm Telepathy, expansions into the field service management and CPQ market, Salesforce will highlight the value of a tightly integrated ecosystem that has everything.

Dreamforce 2017 has also lined about 16 keynote sessions to demonstrate and evangelize how other enterprises are leveraging multiple product offerings within Salesforce to innovate and build better processes.

Also, equality is something will be prominent as a theme during the event.

Michelle Obama and George Bush’s Daughters at Dreamforce   

Salesforce itself listed Michelle Obama as the biggest reason to look forward to Dreamforce 2017 which is slightly odd. But it indicates how Dreamforce is pivoting from a purely tech or CRM event to something more.

Actually, Dreamforce is becoming something of an Oscars of the tech industry where the highlights are not just the awards given away but also the opening monologues and speeches. We all know how good a speaker Michelle Obama is which is why her keynote as a Trailblazer is much anticipated.

Michelle Obama will deliver a keynote at Dreamforce 2017

Michelle Obama will deliver a keynote at Dreamforce 2017. Source: Salesforce

And not to forget former President George W Bush’s daughters, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, who will also deliver keynotes. Obama, Bush Hager, Pierce Bush and actor-investor Ashton Kutcher are among the top 7 in Salesforce’s list of reasons to attend Dreamforce this year. 

But they’re not all. Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Wharton School Professor Adam Grant, Fortune President Alan Murray, Deloitte CEO Janet Foutty, Human Rights Watch executive Peter Bouckaert and many other luminaries from the multiple industry verticals feature in the speakers lineup for Dreamforce 2017.

More than Three Thousand Sessions at Dreamforce

Yep, that’s what Dreamforce will have over four days. It’s a world of knowledge out there and that’s one reason why everyone loves to go to San Francisco for the mega event.

To be precise, 3044 sessions have been scheduled so far. That number might change slightly in the run up to the event.  

Apart from the pervasive themes that we already talked about, the most common subjects are Emerging Trends, Innovation, Sales Productivity and Tips & Tricks. That might not seem like a lot but the variety of topics within these subjects that will be talked at the Dreamforce 2017 is just staggering.  

It is interesting to see how much Salesforce is pushing its productivity tool Quip at the Dreamforce. There are quite a few sessions scheduled with Quip as the subject. Unsurprisingly, Lightning Adoption is another common subject across multiple sessions as Salesforce exhorts customers to switch from Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience.

From Salesforce’s perspective, there will be a lot of Lightning and Einstein push exhibiting the benefits these two technologies provide, exhorting customers to adopt them at the earliest. 

You’d be wise to use the Agenda Builder to make the best use of your time.

Something for Small Businesses As Well

Small businesses are not really friendly with Salesforce obviously because of the pricing of the platform and its complexity as well. Salesforce, too, returns the favour because the ticket size is tinier with small businesses.

But, interestingly again, Dreamforce has quite a few breakout sessions planned around the theme of small businesses and small business trends. ‘Gear up for Growth,’ the SMB keynote is thought to be a must attend for small business leaders. Salesforce will demonstrate how its platform is beneficial to small businesses and how other companies, in this category, have leveraged Lightning and Einstein to transform business operations.

Check out Other Products Like Whatfix at the Expo  

Neither last nor the least, the Customer Success Expo will have hundreds of companies exhibiting their products and solutions.

Whatfix will be there too exhibiting its Performance Support platform. If you want to get a live demo and how you can accelerate your product adoption using the Whatfix platform, it would be a good idea to schedule a session at the Expo. You can find Whatfix at Booth#1839.

So this year, IBM is going to be the Diamond partner for Dreamforce while Deloitte Digital is the Emerald partner. Apart from these two, there will be tonnes of other big names at the Expo who you can talk to and see if their products fit your requirements.

Don’t Miss the Concert

So, because there will be so much going on at the same time and in so little time at Dreamforce 2017, you’re likely to miss out on a lot of good stuff. Nobody can help that. Just plan in advance how you are going to spend your time there.

But, no matter what, don’t miss the concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. It’s the headline benefit concert and is scheduled for Tuesday night featuring Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz.

Have a great time, then! And see you at Dreamforce 2017.


While we would love to meet you in person at Dreamforce 2017, you can also take a demo of the Whatfix Performance Support platform for Salesforce or request a free trial to see how well it works for you. 

Amar Tejaswi

Amar Tejaswi

Engineer by qualification and marketer by profession, Amar contributes to marketing efforts at Whatfix in ways he can.
Amar Tejaswi
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