Salesforce Connections 2023 Brings the Hype

» 5 min read

Scott Kirkpatrick

By Scott Kirkpatrick

Director, Salesforce

Salesforce Connections 2023 is in the books. If you’re not familiar with Connections, it’s touted by Salesforce as “the marketing and commerce learning event of the year for customer-first innovation.” In short, it’s a gathering for education, networking, and developing good old-fashioned hype around Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud ecosystems.

The Promise of Generative AI

The theme of this year’s conference was AI + Data + CRM, and that order was certainly prescient, as talk of AI ruled the day. Not just any old AI, mind you. The promise of generative AI dominated even the presentations that had no actual GPT-related content to share.

Generative AI is the ability to automatically create content (text, images, sounds, etc.) by providing minimal inputs. In the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space, the possibilities seem endless.  To their credit, Salesforce came to Connections armed with relevant use cases and practical capabilities across each of their functional clouds (Sales, Service, Marketing, Slack, and Commerce).

Most of the presentations highlighted text-based content creation, with the primary benefits being speed-to-market and messaging capabilities:

  • Salespeople being given a summarized email and next steps in a follow-up email to send
  • Customers having conversations with their own digital personal assistants for service
  • Marketing creating content with varied messaging and tones at the click of a button
  • Product content being auto-generated as a customer traverses a website

While it should be noted that some “demo magic” was definitely sprinkled in (only pieces of this functionality are widely available), it painted a compelling picture of what the very near future holds for users of Salesforce.

For the uninitiated, the wow factor of Generative AI may have overshadowed the intended core of the event: the realization of last year’s hype around AI, Data, and CRM. Salesforce and key clients shared multiple success stories around the application of predictive analytics — remember Einstein? — and personalization in Marketing and Commerce, and extending those capabilities into Sales and Service.

Not coincidentally, a majority of the breakout sessions delivered varying takes on the same general theme. They also gave the attendees a chance to network and share their experiences with these solutions from the past year.

The Bottom Line

There was much more to the event — keynote address from Dan Levy, the obligatory mid-conference concert, Salesforce mascots everywhere — but the two big takeaways from this year’s Connections were:

  • Salesforce is back in the game from an innovation perspective
  • The technology conference concept is alive and well post-Covid

The content was fresh, the breaking news was relevant, and the networking options were substantial.  We’re already looking forward to seeing how the hype from 2023 plays out at Connections 2024.

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