Monday, December 13, 2010

Four Interesting Trends from Dreamforce

Last week I had the pleasure of wandering the floor at Dreamforce,’s annual conference. As the SaaS conference of the year, it’s a great time to get a pulse on how everyone is thinking about the next few years. This year, I spent a lot of time talking with the exhibiting ISVs, both large and small, and as I did so, I found a few key themes that resonated.

At Eloqua, we’ve been talking about Revenue Performance Management for a while now, and it was good to see that many of the themes that are driving that are common across other ISVs in the ecosystem. Here are four themes I noticed as I chatted with vendors on the show floor:

1) Data is Increasingly Critical: One clear trend was the increasing importance of data to those focused on driving revenue. Both as a source of new conversations, and as a source of continually updated insight into a buyer’s fit, data is one of the most important RPM stories of the next few years. has clearly made a significant investment in this area with their acquisition of (and deep integration of) Jigsaw as a data cloud, but folks like Hoovers, D&B, and StrikeIron were very present on the show floor with data sourcing, append, and cleansing services.

2) Communication Contributes to Buyer Insight: There were many vendors who provided communication tools, ranging from PDF trackers to videoconferencing tools and Webinar providers. This was not new, but in each conversation with these providers, including Vitrium, ReadyTalk, iLinc, and more, their focus was on how the use of that communication tool by a buyer can provide rich insight into a buyers intentions. By leveraging attendance data as a key part of a buyer’s digital body language, marketers and sales people are much better armed.

3) Integration Must Be Seamless: has long focused on the need to seamlessly tie together all interactions with customers, and this viewpoint is spreading throughout the entire buying process. Integration providers like Cast Iron, Informatica, and Pervasive had packed booths as visitors looked to understand how to seamlessly tie together every pre-purchase interaction, whether in social media, search, webinars or in any other communication vehicle.

4) 2011 will be the Year of Analytics: It is now beginning to be possible to see the entire buying process from end to end. With that possibility, revenue analytics jumps to the forefront as an extremely hot area. Both on the floor and in the track sessions, executives were asking about the right metrics, measurements, and KPIs to measure in order to ensure that their revenue engines were running in the most efficient manner possible

I have never been more excited about the RPM space, and seeing the breadth of solutions on display at Dreamforce tells me that others quite definitely share this excitement. 2011 will be an exciting year indeed.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar