Sara Croft, TechPoint’s Senior Director of Communications, attended Salesforce’s Connections conference on June 12-14, 2018 in Chicago. This is one of a series of posts about the Salesforce ecosystem and its impact on Indianapolis.
It has been five years since the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce, a $2.5 billion statement that dramatically changed Indianapolis’ tech ecosystem. ExactTarget’s Connections event was part of that catalyst for growth, and its essence continues through Salesforce Connections.
Connections spent its first eight years in Indianapolis before hopping to New York, Atlanta, and just this past week, Chicago. While email marketing is still a major focus for marketers through the ExactTarget product, the event, now operating as Salesforce Connections, hosts educational, hands-on opportunities for digital marketers, developers, and sales professionals who use or want to use Salesforce products.
This year’s event combined thought leadership, product features and functionality, and industry related education through keynotes, workshops, and demos held in meeting rooms or in theaters located inside the Customer Success Expo and Campground, an event floor that featured Salesforce products across industries and marketing needs. The over 10,000 attendees who were expected to attend this year’s event could walk up and listen to multiple open-air style sessions happening across the expo floor, or grab one-on-one attention with Salesforce experts and vendors.
“Connections is indicative of the growth of Salesforce, especially for B2C as a whole,” says Meghann York, director of product marketing at Salesforce. Meghann recently spoke with our Senior Writer Joshua Hall about her experience being involved in both iGoDigital and ExactTarget acquisitions, which you can read here. I continued the conversation with her about Salesforce’s recent product announcements, the company brand, and Salesforce’s impact in Indianapolis and will share more in the next story.
For some Indianapolis tech companies, Connections is part of their business strategy.
DemandJump, a customer acquisition platform based in Indianapolis, sponsored Connections and dedicated a portion of their team’s time and energy to activate the event with a physical show space and participation in several speaking events – notably a “Demo Jam” and a Salesforce “Partner Theater” session.
Egan Montgomery, digital marketing manager at DemandJump, said there were a couple of reasons why they were there. “For one thing, it was an awesome opportunity to connect with potential customers and educate a highly relevant audience about how our platform is helping companies double marketing performance and acquire more customers, faster. Additionally, we are always looking to strengthen and expand our partnership with Salesforce, and these types of events are a great way to build on that relationship.”
Lev, formerly known as Levementum, was also a gold sponsor of the event. The company recently announced a fundraise, new executive leadership, and their new brand, all before heading out for Connections.
“We recently sold off the SugarCRM side of our business and are solely focused on Salesforce, so sponsoring Connections was a natural fit for us,” says Michael Burton, Lev’s newly appointed CEO. “While there were many reasons we chose to participate, our primary reason was to launch our new branding to our customers and the greater Salesforce community.” Burton also previously shared with Inside INdiana Business that Levementum would not have an office in Indianapolis if there were no Salesforce presence.
Lev also hosted a happy hour event at a nearby hotel on Wednesday night to provide a space to thank their partners and employees who support the Lev brand and community.
While software companies were ever present, the Salesforce ecosystem also transcends beyond code and screens to tangible products.
PFL.com, a marketing technology company that provides sales enablement and marketing automation solutions along with printing and mailing, represented that side of the business at Salesforce Connections as a silver sponsor. PFL.com’s software is available on the AppExchange, allowing marketers to better align their direct mail campaigns with their Salesforce Marketing Cloud campaigns.
Originally based in Montana, PFL.com opened It’s Headquarters East in Indianapolis in February 2018 and followed it quickly with their announcement in April of a $25 million equity fundraise. Craig Moore, Business Development Representative at PFL.com, said the company is growing rapidly in Indianapolis.
Other tech and tech-enabled companies who have a presence in Indianapolis supported Salesforce Connections, including Accenture, Deloitte, and Return Path.
My next feature on Salesforce’s product and product marketing strategy was published on Thursday, June 28 and can be read here. To read more about Salesforce Connections, visit https://www.salesforce.com/connections/.