Dreamforce 2018: Opening Keynote with Marc Benioff + New Capabilities Announcements

Marc Benioff, Co-CEO and founder of Salesforce, kicked off his 16th Dreamforce keynote by showing his gratitude to the audience members, both in-person and online—over 171,000 people registered for Dreamforce and over ten million would be watching online, which he followed with a passionately delivered statement that framed the rest of the keynote:

“This is a moment in time where there are many things on the table that we’re all looking at and this is a moment in time when someone like me, a CEO and other CEOs, but really all of us, have to ask the question – what is really important to us? What is really important to us? What is the most important thing? What are our values? What are we going to stand for?”

Benioff restructured his company to make sure it is easy for every employee to have conversations about moving forward, bring what matters to them to the table, and drive initiatives that are ethical and humane. Benioff recently donated another 15 million dollars to the Oakland school district in San Francisco. He expects all of his executives to adopt a public school, which has brought the total amount donated to public schools near 100 million dollars.

Benioff is no stranger to pushing for equal opportunity and equal advancement. When Indiana passed a bill that allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, he was an advocate for his employees in the state who would be affected by the new legislation. Benioff threatened to cut financial investment, causing Indiana to later revise the law.


When it comes to sustainability, he wants Salesforce to be a role model and an example. He launched the 1-1-1 model: one percent of employees’ time, one percent of equity, and one percent of product all go towards making a positive change in the world. To date, this is equivalent to 3.2 million volunteer hours, 230 million dollars in grants, and 37,000 nonprofits and education using Salesforce products. Apple recently partnered with Salesforce to launch the same model within its own organization.

One of the nonprofits Salesforce works with is PepUp Tech, which helps bring diversity into the world of technology. Co-founder of PepUp, Shonnah says, “The students that are in our program are told no throughout their lives.” The nonprofit trains students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the resources and training to gain technical skills and helps them find jobs in the technical field. Their goal by the end of the year is to have 1,000 students in technical jobs. “We need to hire people that push us to think differently,” adds the co-founder. The students in the program “don’t have the support or allies to succeed in tech.”

“The future of capitalism is inclusive capitalism”

Benioff makes the above statement before diving into Brunello Cucinelli’s story. Brunello Cucinelli is a menswear and womenswear Italian brand with the tagline “A Humanistic Company.” Cucinelli, the founder of the brand, creates a workplace that provides his employees the opportunity to improve the human condition and fosters equality and collaboration. He describes the internet as a gift, but it shouldn’t be something that takes over the human soul. “Technology has changed things but not human feelings,” states Cucinelli.

Same as Salesforce, Cucinelli built his brand on Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, and Equality. No matter where his customers are, Cucinelli aims to provide them with an exceptional, white-glove experience, because that’s what his customers expect.

Customer 360 Powered by Einstein

At this point, Park Harris, Chief Technology Officer announces a new capability within the Customer Success platform: Customer 360. This will be “at the heart” of the Customer Success platform, and will be included for those that currently use the platform. Customer 360 will connect all Salesforce clouds together including sales, marketing, service, and commerce into one user interface. Once it’s connected, you can build 360-degree customer profiles, allowing you to see them in a whole new way. Each customer will have a unique ID, so you can provide each customer with a personal, one-on-one experience.

Harris demos the new capability with Brunello Cucinelli’s site. In just a few clicks, you can buy a blue blazer from the brand. It remembers all of your information from previous purchases, so no need to fill out various fields. However, say you realize after buying the blazer that you already have too many blue blazers. Within the mobile app, you click on the chat function to speak to a live customer representative. On the backend, the customer representative sees your profile and chat all in one screen. The rep will leverage the new Customer 360 capability to fully understand your experience with the brand.

But, what if you also purchased items in a Brunello Cucinelli physical store? This is where MuleSoft comes in. Using POS APIs and putting them into the Anypoint Exchange, the rep can import in-store customer data into the database. Customer 360 will remove any duplicates with matching rules and create profiles and 360 IDs. Now, your profile shows all in-store and online purchases. Based on this information, the rep can make targeted and personalized product recommendations. The rep sees you’ve never purchased blazers in other colors, so she provides you with three options. You choose the grey color. Within your profile, all the rep has to do is go into the Orders tab and change the color to grey. “She doesn’t have to swivel her chair and update the system,” says Harris. Einstein does all of the heavy lifting and updates the profile.

Einstein Voice

Principal Mobile Architect, Qingqing Liu demos the next new capability, Einstein Voice. Einstein Voice allows you to talk to Salesforce and make requests like, “Hey salesforce, update that opportunity” or “give me my dashboards.” You can also speak to Salesforce through Siri, who will provide a “daily briefing.” If you need to update your team on a recent meeting, you simply open the Salesforce app, find the Einstein Voice assistant, and talk. The note Liu provided reads exactly as:

“I had a great meeting with Rebecca, she’s a purchasing manager at Neiman Marcus. We talk about their plan to bring my winter clothes in line to their store.

From this note, Einstein found the correct opportunity record and customer record, updated the close date and total amount, and created tasks for the team to schedule the next meeting. It takes voice recognition and inserts intelligent updates into Salesforce using Einstein. The capability is available to anyone using the Salesforce mobile app.

“Doing well means doing good”

Unilever has over 2.5 billion customers around the world using products from its 400+ brands. This provides the company the opportunity to drive sustainable business practices at a massive scale. Jane Moran, Global CIO at Unilever, achieves this initiative by using Customer 360 and tailoring it the company’s business practices and needs. The team built 66 employee apps designed to align with their processes, all of which is brought together using MuleSoft. Now, all 92,000 employees can surface insights in one interface.

For example, Unilever’s brand Ben & Jerry’s has its own global sales dashboard used to track all sales, marketing, engagement, and sustainability metrics. Based on the metrics, you can see that consumer engagement and revenue are highest when the product is tied to sustainability. Within the same portal, Ben & Jerry’s Head of Food and Refreshment Group can send out an Innovation Request to all 92,00 employees to ask for product proposals and suggestions for sustainability programs. Once the suggestions are in, employees can vote for the best one.

Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Lab came out of the Innovation Request process. The Flavor Lab allows customers to make their own ice cream flavor while learning about the brand’s sustainability efforts. Customers can then vote for their favorite flavors using a Tinder-type swipe-left-swipe-right app. The winning flavor goes to market.

By using the Innovation Process Management app on the Lightning platform, Unilever increased their rate of innovation and scalability. “I really believe we need to empower employees to do good for themselves,” says Moran.

Using Customer 360 to Tailor Future Customer Experiences

You know Marriott as one of the largest hospitality groups in the world and provides its visitors with incredible customer service. Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, took customer service to a new level by leveraging Customer 360. When you open the Marriott app, you can see all of your trip information including dining reservations, available experiences within the hotel or resort, and the chat function (which is powered by the service cloud) in the Trip View.

Using live chat, you can request early check-in in order to bypass the front desk. The customer service representative will provide you with a digital key. Additionally, if you want a specific beverage waiting for you when you get to your room, simply ask the rep through the live chat. When you go back to the Trip View, you will see your digital key and your beverage request.

To bring this level of service and personalization to the hotel room, Marriott placed Alexa in hundreds of its hotels around the world. So, after you skipped the front desk and used your digital key to enter your room, you can then ask Alexa to set the temperature to 75 degrees or book a car for 3 PM. Einstein Voice connects these requests to the Customer Success platform. This means that housekeeping knows your preferred temperature, the food group knows which beverage you like, and the bellman knows when to expect your car. All of these preferences get carried over into future Marriott stays. So, the next time you book a Marriott hotel, you won’t need to make these same requests.

If you ask Alexa for recommendations for activities during your stay, Einstein Voice will add these recommendations to the Marriott Moments section in the app. You can easily add the suggested experiences to your itinerary.

Marriott has millions upon millions of customer interactions each day. The challenge for Linnartz and her team is using technology to enhance these experiences without replacing the human touch. “All around the world, our employees can see consistent views for all of our customers,” says Linnartz.

“The future is in your hands”

Prior to Dreamforce, Benioff toured around the country to test the messaging and content for the conference. One thing he took from this experience is that his customers want to take their dreams and turn them into realities. The goal of Dreamforce is to provide tools, training, and resources for brands and retailers to accomplish this. With over 2,700 sessions available to attendees, they have multitudes of opportunities to take their future into their own hands.

Blue Acorn iCi has helped several brands implement Salesforce Commerce Cloud. To learn more, reach out to us here.

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