Linda Dunlap
Linda Dunlap
Dreamforce Mini-Series Part 2: Reimagining B2B Events in a Digital-First World
On this episode, Salesforce legend, Linda Dunlap, and Qualified executives, Kraig Swenrsud and Dan Darcy, share the history of Dreamforce—and the fun to come for #DF21.
Check out this special Dreamforce-edition of Demand Gen Visionaries.
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Guest Bio

Linda Dunlap is the VP of Strategic Events at Salesforce where she’s successfully worked for over 16 years in various roles. Linda has worked on and around Dreamforce since the very beginning and is an expert in live in-person, digital, and hybrid world- class event strategy. 

Kraig Swensrud is the Founder and CEO of Qualified. Previously, Kraig was the founder of GetFeedback. Kraig was also formerly the CMO at Campaign Monitor and Salesforce. Kraig arrived at Salesforce through the company's the acquisition of Kieden in 2006. Prior to Kieden and Salesforce, Kraig spent time at Grand Central, webMethods, SAP, and Oracle.

Dan Darcy is the Chief Customer Officer of Qualified. Prior to Qualified, Dan was the SVP of sales and partner enablement. Dan spent 13 years championing customers and product innovation. Previously, he served as SVP of product design. Before that, he was Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s right-hand man and Head of Customer Visions, where he championed the voice of Salesforce customers, Salesforce Customer360, and took center stage at awe-inspiring events, including Dreamforce, and the Salesforce World Tour.

Episode Summary

This is Part 2 in our three part mini-series featuring some of the legends responsible for building Salesforce’s storied Dreamforce conference. 

On this episode, Linda, Kraig and Dan dive into the challenges of shifting Dreamforce from in-person to digital, the true meaning of understanding your audience, and how Salesforce plans to transform the future of B2B events marketing.

Key Takeaways

  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Take inspiration from different places and remix it with your own spin and flavor. Some of the best creations happen this way. 
  • To reach new audiences, sometimes you have to borrow people from different industries. This can be a cheat code to unlock new doors. 
  • Great experiences need to have an option to be experienced again. This is the potential opportunity of high- quality digital content mixed with in-person experiences. 
  • To be truly unstoppable: fail fast, learn faster, apply, and repeat.


“The [Dreamforce] physical event gained inspiration from Disneyland. We made lots of trips to Disneyland to understand from the very best how to curate an on-site experience. And it's no different in this new world. We're gaining inspiration from the people who do it best, which is not just television but this next form of television– the on demand forms. So if you look at the experiences that Netflix or Peloton or YouTube are able to provide, we're gaining our inspiration from them and how they serve up content to their audiences.” — Linda

“My hires this year have not come from the event world. They've all come from the broadcast production world so that we can understand how to keep curating products that are going to be engaging to our viewers. We take that concept of ‘we've come here to tell a story.’ So we have to take advantage of all the tools and best practices out there in storytelling. And that means that we're not borrowing from the events world, we're borrowing from a completely different industry.” — Linda

“We're still learning. That whole idea of failing fast and learning quickly and applying--and also being inspired by others--that has always been what we were driven by from the very beginning. And that continues to be our focus now. So whatever medium we use, whatever end product there is, we desire to tell a story in the way that's most meaningful to our audience". — Linda

Episode Highlights

Episode Transcript