When I attended my first ever Salesforce user event in 2016, I was blown away by the massive amounts of information and people to meet in the Salesforce ecosystem. I experienced the “fire hose” effect if you will at that event and was hit with every part of it within an 8 hour period. As much as I enjoyed that event, I had wished there were smaller, more intimate events to openly ask questions, collaborate, and make connections with those in the community to kind of “ease” my way into it. I discovered user groups, but the closest meetings for user groups were mid week after hours, and at least 30-40 minutes away. I’m not sure where you’re from, but a 30-40 minute drive in 5-5:30pm traffic in the metro Philadelphia area can easily take you 1.5-2 hours sitting in traffic, so its safe to say that I gave that commute a big ole’fashioned “nope”.
I decided to create my own user group that would cater to the Southern NJ audience (there are a lot of tech companies as well as Salesforce targeted vertical industries in my area) but based on the “as a bird flies” distance, I was rejected by Salesforce user groups. A little defeated, I decided to attend Dreamforce and “sleep on it” a bit.
After my Twitter and Facebook storm during Dreamforce, a handul of good friends approached me to learn more about this “Salesforce” thing. They were inspired by how it changed my professional life and start to help right my personal life. One friend was sick of being in A/R and loved database technology, another was a computer science major turned insurance agent, and both were very interested in Salesforce. Naturally, I introduced them to Trailhead…but what else can they do? I didn’t want them to suffer the “fire hose” effect I did at first, but struggled to find smaller intimate “starter” user groups.
It was then that Salesforce Saturday was born. After some direction from one of my Salesforce mentors (he’ll say he’s not, but he is and there’s nothing he can do about it, so there), I reached out to my local user groups to ensure I wouldn’t be stepping on their toes, and received nothing but support in return.
I stressed over what venue to have my first event at for days. Coffee shop? Library? Diner? Everyone said coffee shop but i’m one of those people who tries to get in and out of a restaurant quickly because I feel bad if I take up too much space for too long (servers gotta turn tables for tips!), so my own anxiety wouldn’t allow that. So I settled for the local library that had meeting space. They only had 2 hours available but it was perfect for a first event.
Next, how the heck am I going to let everyone know? Chatter? I’m still learning how Chatter works beyond the basics (and my success comm profile at the time was out of whack). LinkedIn? It’s been a month now and they still can’t fix my group naming issues. Meetup? It had a cost to it, so I was hesitant. Eventbrite? EVENTBRITE! They threw a great party with CRM Science at #DF16 and integrate with Salesforce! DONE!
I listed the free event on Eventbrite (which is a fantastic platform by the way), and asked a few friends to blast out the announcement. Within a week I booked the 12 RSVP’s necessary to fill the room. I’m expecting a 40-50% show rate which is perfect, but everything worked out!
What the heck are we going to talk about? I know what I like to talk about, but its about the group! I decided the first event is simply going to be introductions, chat, networking, and learn what brought everyone there, with future events being more project/collaboration/education/fun focused.
So far, so good, and even got a shout out from Stephanie Herrera (queen of Salesforce Saturday)! I look forward to the first event and will check back with another blog post after the first event is complete.
- Bill Powell