Behind the scenes: Our road to #DF21

Learn how Qualified created compelling content for Dreamforce 2021 and Salesforce+ (think Netflix for businesses), and how you can too in today’s digital-first world.

Behind the scenes: Our road to #DF21
Jessica Ding
Jessica Ding
September 9, 2021
min read
Apple Podcast LinkGoogle Podcast LinkSpotify Podcast Link
Apple Podcast LinkGoogle Podcast LinkSpotify Podcast Link

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. 

  • Understand your audience and their current challenges, especially as it relates to the digital-first reality. 
  • Choose one clear message you want your audience to remember and walk away with, and use it as your north star
  • Have a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Build a minute-by-minute showflow that maps out your episode’s different segments 
  • Show vs. tell with demo videos and customer stories 
  • Include research and data points

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. 

  • Shorten your episode to 15-30 minutes
  • Have an MC or host who can replicate and recreate the energy from a live event 
  • Include dynamic, bite-sized content such as demo videos, trivia, polls, and customer interviews
  • Incorporate multiple engaging and diverse speakers (bonus points if you can include a customer)
  • Ditch the slides and use visuals instead

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. 

  • If you’re planning to shoot virtually, ensure you look and sound your best: Go to a quiet, well-lit space, place your camera at eye-level, look into the camera when you speak, use an external microphone, choose colors that look good on camera and complement your skin tone, rehearse and then rehearse again but don’t overdo it, present with extra gusto and use hand gestures, ensure your video settings are optimized, and do multiple tech checks. 
  • If you’re planning to shoot in-person, figure out all of the logistics ahead of time. This includes safety precautions and guidelines, shooting location, set design, shooting schedule, individuals who will be on-site (less is more), hair and make-up, transportation, and more. While on-site, adhere to CDC guidelines by wearing a mask and social distancing.
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.” 

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