20 years of Dreamforce with Robert Zimmermann

Dreamforce is celebrating a big anniversary this September! Our CRO, Robert Zimmermann, talks about why Dreamforce is such an impactful experience.

20 years of Dreamforce with Robert Zimmermann
Shelly Weaver
Shelly Weaver
August 5, 2022
min read
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Salesforce is celebrating 20 years of their career-changing conference, Dreamforce this September. Our very own Robert Zimmermann has been attending the conference since the very beginning and shared his thoughts with us on why Dreamforce is necessary for anyone in the Salesforce community to attend, what he looks forward to every year, and why Dreamforce is truly an iconic event.

Talk to us about why attending Dreamforce is so important for anyone in the Salesforce ecosystem, at every career stage.

Robert: Dreamforce for Salesforce is the most important event in the company’s fiscal year. It was one of the best accelerants of any deal cycle that you had, primarily because customers sold for you. You had the opportunity to rub shoulders with people who have already experienced the power of Dreamforce before, and had experienced the power of Salesforce, and what better way to do it with customers who were willing to share their very best success stories? 

How did Dreamforce go about getting executive participation from Salesforce customers?

Robert: We tried to get as many of our executives from our customers to Dreamforce, primarily because we wanted them to experience the Dreamforce phenomena, which is really understanding the power of what the Salesforce ecosystem actually meant, and to experience the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion for the company and for what everybody was doing with it. 

We would always work on trying to get an executive to make the trip to Dreamforce, spend time putting their agenda together, and make sure that they had the opportunity to connect with like-minded executives. We had these bird of a feather programs. We incorporated things like Executive Summit so that it was a VIP experience within the experience itself. It was one of the most exciting times to be at the company. You had the opportunity to experience Dreamforce and then help your customers through that journey. 

You’ve been involved in Dreamforce since the very beginning, how has the magnitude of the event evolved in the last 20 years?

Robert: From the very first Dreamforces that we had, they were small. The first Dreamforce session I attended was at the Hilton in San Francisco, and then gradually they became bigger. Then they were at the Moscone, and then part of the Moscone, and then all of Moscone, and then they couldn’t fit in Moscone anymore so they started taking up the Hilton again. 

What I loved is it’s really the only big event that brought San Francisco almost to a standstill with the amount of traffic, visitors, and the amount of excitement that was going on within Dreamforce. 

What advice would you give to someone attending Dreamforce for the very first time? 

Robert: If somebody were to attend Dreamforce for the very first time, just realize it is a massive event. If you do not plan what your week is going to look like and work with the teams you want to spend time with and organize the sessions, people, and companies you want to meet, it’s really easy for it to blow past you. It requires a lot of planning and forethought as to what you want to get out of it. 

That’s not only for things that happen during the day and the sessions but the networking events in the evening. The parties at night, the things that you want to see, the people you want to meet–you’ll see every type of Salesforce ecosystem partner at Dreamforce. From customers to system integrators to technology partners to ISVs to solution providers–everybody attends Dreamforce in some capacity. 

If you’re trying to learn as much as you possibly can, there’s no better experience than Dreamforce for the first time. 

What’s a session you look forward to every year?

Robert: I really like Marc’s keynote sessions. If you’re lucky enough to be able to be in the keynote theater, it’s so interactive, and it’s such a celebration of the customers and the employees, and the partners that have made Salesforce so successful. To me, that’s a big highlight of the experience. 

And obviously, the big Dreamforce party, the music, the act that comes, that celebration is really really cool. 

Dreamforce looked pretty different the last few years due to Covid restrictions, what are you looking forward to for Dreamforce 2022?

Robert: Dreamforce last year was really a hybrid event. It was designed as a streaming event, and so they had very limited capacity within Dreamforce. I think there’s a huge amount of pent-up energy bringing that excitement back to San Francisco and I think everybody at Salesforce is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to throw probably one of the biggest experiences San Francisco’s going to see this calendar year. 

I’m excited to be a part of it, I’m excited Qualified will be a big part of it. It’s an incredible opportunity to bring everybody together that’s part of the Salesforce family to celebrate and do some incredible things together. 

Alright, last but not least, who has been the best musical act you’ve seen during Dreamfest?

Robert: There have been so many great musical acts over the years, whether it’s Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruno Mars, U2, the list goes on and on. I would say my favorite has been more the experience of being in the Civic Center, outdoors, in front of the city hall, and seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers really light up the sky and surround a great beautiful part of the city with this incredible experience. 

To experience that through Dreamforce was phenomenal. 

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