Last year, more than 8000 people blazed new trails, attending Salesforce World Tour. Two of those people were sales leadership coach Tony Hughes and Natalie Savell, CRM Manager at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. They recently shared with us their favourite World Tour moments, what they took away from the event last year and what’s piqued their interest from the 2018 agenda.

What are some of the key things you learnt from Salesforce World Tour 2017?

Tony: For me, the big takeaway from last year is that buyers have changed. Buyers now expect three things from sellers. Firstly, that salespeople truly know them before we've ever met them. Secondly, that every engagement is tailored to them as individuals. Lastly, that we anticipate what's important to them, when it’s most important. That’s an incredibly challenging and different environment to be selling in.

Natalie: You learn so much, just from those around you, from meeting new people, and immersing yourself in the day. It’s important to leave time for random moments, like going to a session you hadn’t planned to, or striking up conversation with a stranger over lunch and sharing ideas.

Are you hoping to build on those learnings this year?

Natalie: Absolutely! Every year there is something new to learn, and new product updates to familiarise yourself with. I’m looking forward to just soaking it all in, reconnecting with the community and enjoying the experience.

Tony: Most definitely! If we’re to reach the modern buyer and sell in the current environment, we need to learn to leverage technology. It’s technology that will enable us to personalise the experience for the buyer, helping us undertake very pragmatic research, so we can tailor the outreach. The most successful sales organisations of the future are going to be those that are able to effectively blend technology with human-to-human interaction.

What benefit did you take back to your organisation after last year’s event?

Tony: It was the realisation that we need to be able to personalise at scale if we are to drive the level of success needed – and the key phrase here is ‘at scale’. A lot of salespeople recognise they need to do their research, personalise the interaction and anticipate what’s important to the buyer, but they’re trying to boil the ocean, and running out of hours in the day. In order to drive this change efficiently and effectively, we have to learn to use technology.

Natalie: I definitely walked away with an increased awareness of what’s available not only on the Salesforce platform but also in the wider ecosystem. It also helped me factor into our development cycle releases coming up on the Salesforce roadmap.

What’s your favourite part of Salesforce World Tour?

Natalie: Connecting with such an incredible community of people – the Salesforce Ohana is truly something special. While it’s a chance to reconnect with those you’ve met previously, it’s also a great opportunity to meet new people, and learn how they’re using and implementing Salesforce.

Tony: The most valuable part is the ability to network with peers. Just the ability to hear how other organisations and industries are tackling similar challenges to those you’re currently facing is hugely useful.

Do you have a World Tour memory that sticks in your mind?

Tony: Just the event’s sheer size and professionalism. I had no idea what a force Salesforce was until I saw the International Convention Centre last year and the number of people who filled it. It’s quite staggering, and the value you get for a free event is unrivalled.

Natalie: Last year’s keynote was pretty special. The organisation I was working for at the time (AIME) was one of Salesforce’s not-for-profit partners, and had the opportunity to share its story in the keynote.

Also the equality locknote was an incredible way to end the day, with such inspiring leaders discussing how Australian organisations can become a powerful force in creating a more equal world.

What are you looking forward to the most from the 2018 agenda?

Natalie: I’m in a new role this year, and working with Salesforce products that are relatively new to me, so I’m hoping to expand my knowledge and connect with people who can help me on that learning journey.

Tony: I’m most interested in the ‘Getting Started with Sales Cloud Einstein’ breakout. Artificial intelligence is going to have a huge impact on selling, and those who fail to embrace technology are going to be replaced by it.

Tony, you’ll be presenting this year in the session ‘Solving the #1 Problem in Sales Today – Pipeline Atrophy’ – can you give us a quick snapshot of what you’ll be talking about?

Tony: Sales pipeline atrophy is one of the biggest challenges facing organisations. In this session, I’ll be sharing some insights and tips to help you pack your pipeline, combining old-school prospecting tactics and new sales strategies to create a potent selling approach.

Also joining me will be Mark Pollard, National Sales Leader at Corporate Traveller Australia, to share his team’s experiences in accelerating sales pipeline.

If you were trying to convince a colleague to go to Salesforce World Tour what would you tell them?

Tony: Salesforce World Tour is the biggest annual sales community conference in Australia, and your opportunity to learn what other organisations are doing in the real world. You can't afford to miss it!

Natalie: It's hard to explain a Salesforce event to someone who hasn't been before. But, whether you’re new to the Salesforce community or a seasoned professional, there is always something to gain from attending World Tour. It’s a learning and networking experience like no other, and well worth the time commitment. It’s a once a year event, so get out of the office for the day, and connect, learn, inspire and be inspired!