Culture Events

B2B Marketing Takeaways From My First Time at Dreamforce

When the Pardot product team emailed me back in August asking if I would be interested in speaking on the topic of GDPR at Dreamforce my answer was, of course, “YES!” But, in the interest of playing it cool, I forced myself to wait at least 12 minutes before sending back my confirmation.

Standing in front of Dreamforce 2018 Sign

Over the next few weeks I worked with Pardot Product Managers, Heather Stables and Nicole Smith, to build and refine my presentation, “Data Transparency in the Age of Intelligent Marketing.”

And last month, it finally happened… I spoke at Dreamforce.

As a first-time attendee with a complimentary full conference pass (thanks newfound knowledge of the GDPR!), I wanted to break down my key takeaways from Dreamforce 2018.

Read on to learn about all of the great things that happened as the blue men and women of Salesforce took over downtown San Francisco.

Pardot Takeaways

As a consultant helping SmartAcre® client’s with their marketing automation and CRM challenges, I focused my time and attention towards the Pardot and Salesforce CRM tracks. That said, I kicked Dreamforce off with a lead scoring and grading workshop. Although already familiar with the concepts, I still found it useful to hear from the experts at Salesforce.

In this workshop, I discovered the many ways businesses can use Engagement Studio, Pardot’s lead nurturing tool. Did you know you can push leads further down the funnel, set up automation rules to route leads to the right place, leverage it to assign scoring and grading values, and even utilize trigger timing to progress through your Engagement Studio steps? There’s also robust reporting available in the reports tab, helping you visually track performance to see exactly how your prospects are moving through your Engagement Studio programs.

Other workshops and sessions I attended further focused on personalization, yet another relevant topic for marketers today. Using a combination of dependent fields, progressive profiling, variable tags, and dynamic content across your Pardot forms and landing pages, you can better leverage personalization to show the right content to your prospects and customers at the right time. Because, ultimately, marketers should be creating the best end-user experience for their audience.

Pardot can support 25 different variations of personalization in one piece of content. Are you leveraging this functionality to the best of your ability? If not, I’d encourage you to spend some time thinking about the ways you can enhance your end-users experience through better personalization.

Looking ahead – Pardot Lightning

Selfie in front of Pardot Trailblazers

Another important topic of Dreamforce: the future. There was lots of content focused on the future of Pardot, including announcements about new product functionality and a tighter integration with Salesforce, which is the feature I’m most excited about: Pardot Lightning.

Pardot Lightning is installed as an app in Salesforce Lightning, creating a unified experience in Salesforce and Pardot. This new functionality provides many improvements, including one sign-in for both platforms, the ability to leverage Engagement Studio and other Pardot functionality directly in Salesforce, better campaign integration, and the ability to trigger nurture logic off of previously unavailable Salesforce data.

This improved integration gives marketers more access to CRM data so they can continue to push prospects through the buyer’s journey. In addition, robust campaign reporting and additional CRM functionality will be available within Pardot Lightning, meaning there will be more data to leverage for lead generation campaigns and ROI metrics available to prove marketing’s worth.

The GDPR (and my Salesforce Session)

Salesforce Building

Beyond the sessions and workshops solely focused on Pardot as a product, there were many sessions focused on hot topic items like AI, machine learning, and the GDPR.

My 40-minute Dreamforce breakout session took place Thursday morning and focused on discussing the impacts of the GDPR, including taking a deep dive into exactly how we customized Pardot to help better capture affirmative consent, opt-in and opt-out status, legal basis for processing, and more.

Real-world Application

Last, but not least, and the reason this blog wasn’t published sooner, I just returned from an amazing eight-day trip through Italy. It was eye-opening to utilize my phone and computer from an EU member country. Every single website I browsed ensured I was opting in, knew the cookie tracking policies in place on their site(s), and tried to capture my affirmative consent.

As an end user, it all seemed a bit overwhelming. However, as more and more of these regulations take shape, they’re steps in the right direction to ensure our data is being captured and stored for the right reasons while holding companies accountable for the protecting said data and keeping our best interests (from a marketing standpoint) in mind.

If you’re still working through the GDPR changes at your organization, SmartAcre is here to help. We’ve architected strategies and put marketing automation and CRM solutions in place for many of our global clients. Contact us today to discuss the ways in which we can help you with GDPR compliance.

Not yet ready to talk with us about the GDPR? Check out our self-serve guide to help you start to build a strategy for GDPR compliance at your organization.