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Insiders' Take: Four Reasons to Visit Us at Connections ‘19 This Year

Insiders' Take: Four Reasons to Visit Us at Connections ‘19 This Year

We asked some of our retail and consumer goods experts to share tips and recommendations that will maximize your time at Connections ‘19.

We’re counting down the days to Connections 2019, the customer engagement event of the year, taking place in Chicago June 17-19. With hundreds of sessions, breakouts, roundtables, demos, and more spanning multiple industries, Connections can feel a bit overwhelming. To help you get ready, I’ve asked some of our retail and consumer goods experts (who happen to be Connections veterans) to share tips and recommendations that will maximize your time at this incredible event, and perhaps open the door to unforeseen opportunities.

Venture outside the box

Rob Garf, Vice President, Industry Strategy and Insights

Attend at least one session that’s outside your typical area of oversight. If you’re in marketing, consider attending a commerce or customer service session. If you’re in retail, check out a manufacturing talk. Why is this important? With the increasing cross-industry convergence among healthcare, retail, and financial services — to name a few — you’d be amazed at what you can learn from industries outside your own. You’ll take those fresh ideas home to your own role when you leave the conference.

Find power in networking

Kristyn Levine, Vice President, Strategic Customer Engagement, Customer Success

The best part of Connections year after year is simple: the people. Whether it’s customers, partners, or our own team of experts, the Salesforce community is an amazing group of thought leaders, innovators and subject matter experts joined by a common purpose — to grow their businesses.

That’s why this year, we’re doubling down on activities that facilitate learning and inspiration, and help attendees make more meaningful connections. We have a killer lineup that includes "unconferences" where attendees select discussion topics and break off into small groups for a deep dive. We also have smaller networking opportunities called "Birds of a Feather" and “Circles of Success” where you can join conversations on a broad range of topics. Whatever your goal, there will be plenty of opportunities to grow your network and learn from your peers.

Visit the experts

Vinod Kumar, Director, Customer Intelligence

Connections, like most Salesforce events, is more than a technology conference. It’s a big firehose of industry knowledge and subject matter expertise. Efficiently navigating the crowd to seek out the right experts who can share information and expertise that’s of most interest to you is critical for a successful conference. Finding those experts is easy — no need to creep them out by trying to catch their company name from their badge. Visit our “Ask The Experts” area, which is staffed by experts in technical, functional, and domain areas — the collective wisdom of the people staffing this area is a goldmine of information. When in doubt, ask the experts.

Make a plan to get the answers you need

Ryan Mahoney, Director, Industry Influencer Marketing

Connections is a diverse event with impactful information coming from sessions, the Campground and networking opportunities. Whether you’re attending as an individual or part of a team, it’s important to identify your desired outcomes and have a plan to achieve them.

Your plan shouldn’t just revolve around which sessions to attend; it should include questions you want answered, who you want to meet and how you will make those interactions happen, how notes will be captured and shared, and how you will quantify the value of attendance. Dividing sessions among a team is an obvious, but sometimes underutilized, tactic. Maximize your team’s time by splitting up to take advantage of some of the out-of-the-box sessions that Rob Garf mentioned in his recommendation. And schedule a review meeting after the conference to share key learnings, exchange notes, and discuss ways to put what you’ve learned into action.

This is just a small snapshot of what you can expect this summer in Chicago. Join us every step of the way, and choose from over 450 sessions and get actionable insights and hands-on training.


John Strain

John Strain is the Senior Vice President of Retail and Consumer Goods at Salesforce. He leads his teams to build strategies and partnerships around personalization, relevance, and engagement. John has previously worked at Gap Inc., Williams Sonoma, and Total Wine & More. (His favorite wine, in case you’re wondering, is pinot noir.) Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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