Behind the Scenes: Our Road to #DF21

Welcome to the digital-first future. The global pandemic has impacted everything from how we work, to how we learn, to how we shop, and even receive healthcare. According to McKinsey, 75% of people using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to “normal.” To succeed in this new world, companies must quickly adapt to these shifts in consumer behavior. 

It comes as no surprise that Salesforce made the decision to completely reimagine its marquee event, Dreamforce. For the first time in its 18-year history, the event will be streamed live on Salesforce+, a new streaming service for live experiences and original content series—think Netflix for businesses. Gone are the days of piling into Moscone Center with hundreds of thousands of others, session tracks, PowerPoints, tangled lanyards, and the like. Say hello to short-form, snappy episodes anytime, anywhere.

So, what did this mean for us, one of Salesforce’s partners and a Dreamforce 2021 platinum sponsor? How did we transform our in-person session into a binge-worthy episode? And most importantly, how did we do it safely, with our employees and colleagues, at the top of our minds?

Welcome to a behind the scenes look at our Dreamforce episode: How to Drive 10X More Pipeline with Target Accounts.

Bonus content! Find our top 5 tips for putting together an engaging episode in today’s digital-first world below.

Tip #1: Plan & Collaborate Virtually. Keep on keepin’ on. Use Slack, Zoom, Google Docs and Slides, and the like to identify your episode goals, create a timeline, determine roles and responsibilities, create and iterate on content, and more. We found it extremely helpful to create a #df21 Slack channel dedicated to Dreamforce collaboration.

Tip #2 Tell a GREAT Story. Content is everything. Avoid making product pitches and instead focus on bringing value to your audience by educating them and helping solve their problems. 

Tip #3: Create Snackable & Engaging Content. Over a year into the pandemic and the majority of our brains are buzzing with information overload. With so much content being produced, you have milliseconds to capture someone’s attention. This means breaking up and breaking free from traditional event sessions. 

We decided to do away with the typical 16x9 text-heavy slides. Instead, we incorporated lower-thirds to introduce our speakers and overlaid vibrant digital stickers and imagery across our speakers to highlight key messages and data points. Not only does this switch things up, it’s also much more engaging and memorable for the audience. You can replicate this using a wealth of design tools from Figma to InVision, and more.

Kraig Swensrud, CEO and Co-Founder of Qualified and former CMO of Salesforce, using digital stickers instead of slides

We also mixed up our session by including a Q&A with Dan Darcy, Chief Customer Officer of Qualified and Kyle Christensen, CMO of Zuora. Kyle shared how Zuora’s business model has changed through the pandemic, the importance of conversational sales and marketing in today’s digital-first world, tips and advice for other leaders, and more.

Kyle Christensen, CMO of Zuora and Dan Darcy, Chief Customer Officer of Qualified having an engaging conversation

Tip #4: Decide Your Production Approach: Digital, In-Person, or Hybrid. In-person shooting is great but it isn’t always better. You can put together an equally compelling episode remotely. Pick the right platform for your team with safety, budget, and logistics in mind. 

Maura Rivera, CMO of Qualified, shooting our Dreamforce episode in-person while adhering to CDC guidelines

Tip #5: Be Agile & Give Yourself Grace. We’re all in this together and we’re all learning more about the global pandemic and its impacts each day. Be prepared for potential event changes and cancellations, filming and technology hiccups, and more. Always have a Plan B and C in place… Maybe even a Plan D and E, and be okay if things still don’t work out the way you envisioned.

Now that you’ve read our top tips, see the Qualified team put them into action by catching our Dreamforce 2021 episode and learning “How to Drive 10X More Pipeline with Target Accounts.” 

Posted on
September 9, 2021
Jessica Ding

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