I chatted with TargetX Sales Engineer, Abe Gruber, about his experience at Salesforce’s big user conference, Dreamforce and what’s in it for higher ed. Here’s what he had to say:
AN: For folks who may not know, tell us… what’s Dreamforce?
AG: Dreamforce is Salesforce’s annual conference taking over Downtown SF for a few days every fall. This year, over 170,000 Salesforce users and partners came together for great sessions, hands-on training, networking events and more.
AN: What’s there to see for the higher ed folks?
AG: Salesforce.org – Salesforce’s philanthropic arm – had a dedicated zone/lounge for non-profits including higher education. In addition to the Salesforce.org Lodge and Theater, there were dozens of sessions hosted by colleges and universities using Salesforce – including several great sessions from TargetX schools as well. In addition to the sessions themselves, there was a ton of networking among higher ed users from technical staff (admins and developers) to functional users (admissions, student life, leadership, etc).
AN: Were there any trends/topics that bubbled up in conversations throughout the course of the event?
AG: In the higher ed space, probably the biggest trend was schools extending the use of TargetX/Salesforce beyond admissions across the entire campus. Quite a few schools started using the CRM just for admissions, but they eventually expanded to student life/retention and alumni engagement. Alongside the concept of the Connected Campus were a lot of discussions on data integration and effective use of campus-wide data throughout the CRM. There were a lot of great institution-led sessions – especially ones like Maryville University on managing the entire student lifecycle via the CRM and the University of San Diego who presented on using the platform to help with campus safety.
AN: You presented with the London School of Economics on our Student Portal, can you talk more about the session?
AG: TargetX had the privilege to participate in a session with one of our clients, the London School of Economics (LSE), on their need and use of the new TargetX portal. Phil Wood, LSE’s Marketing Officer, discussed the need for a personalized experience for inquiries and applicants as they navigated through the enrollment process. They were looking for a way to have a central point of contact and content which could dynamically update throughout a prospective student’s journey while providing relative content, video, and information as they applied, updated their status, and more – all addressed (and more) by the new, mobile-first TargetX Portal.
AN: You also participated in the “Demo Jam” competition for nonprofits and higher ed—what’s that?
AG: Demo Jam is a competition in which a variety of Salesforce partners are given exactly three minutes to present one of their products to an audience of customers and Salesforce MVPs (recognized individuals within the Salesforce community known for their leadership, knowledge, and ongoing contributions to the Salesforce community). No slides are allowed – just 100% product demos. As one of Salesforce’s premier higher education partners, TargetX was invited to compete alongside with six other partners. After several great presentations from us and other nonprofit and higher education partners, the audience voted, and TargetX was declared the winner. It was exciting to be a part of such a contest, and even more exciting to win!
AN: Any last thoughts for higher ed folks on Dreamforce?
AG: Dreamforce is definitely a worthwhile event for higher ed institutions using TargetX or looking to use TargetX in the future. It’s a great way to connect with similar institutions, network and exchange thoughts/ideas with peers, and learn more about the platform and its possibilities.
As Abe mentioned, TargetX was able to present on our new Student Portal at Dreamforce with LSE. Join us for a webinar on October 19th with LSE’s Phil Wood for a discussion of how leveraging the TargetX Recruitment Suite of Solutions and the Student Portal is allowing LSE to provide a personal approach to recruitment.