Salesforce Events for 2020

Cactusforce 2019 Open - Alternative Solutions Consulting

Since 1998, Salesforce has not only created a world-class CRM, but they’ve built a huge community of salesforce professionals. These professionals range from developers of the platform, business analysts, technical architects, marketing managers, sales managers, and salesforce administrators. As the ecosystem has developed and grown over the past 20 years, they’ve needed to organize events where Salesforce users can meet in person, share ideas, and learn how to use the platform more effectively.

These events range in size, from smaller regional events to international events that span the length of an entire city. There are also salesforce events focused on beginners of the platform to Salesforce experts. Continue reading and we’ll lead into all the best Salesforce events for 2020.




November 9th – November 12th

San Francisco, CA

Dreamforce is Salesforce’s iconic yearly conference. In 2019, it boasted 2,700 sessions across the 4-day conference, so there was always something for everyone. They also host a music festival within the conference called Dreamfest which has had bands like Metallica, U2, and Red Hot Chili Peppers perform. 

It’s located in San Francisco, home of Salesforce’s headquarters and had over 170,000 attendees last year! It’s such a large conference it is held across multiple facilities and different areas of the city. They proudly utilize this gathering of like-minded people to organize huge volunteering events along with training events.

On a typical day during Dreamforce, you can expect to hear a keynote presentation, announcements on new features, volunteer for a national non-profit, and grab dinner and cocktails at a networking event. The event is so massive, Salesforce prepares for it all year, and even produces a web series called, “the road to Dreamforce,” which helps prepare attendees for the conference. If you can’t attend Dreamforce, we highly suggest tuning into the event through Salesforce Live!

Salesforce TrailheaDX



June 9-10th

San Francisco, CA

If you are looking for a conference to expand your salesforce development, admin, or architect knowledge, TrailheaDX is for you. It’s an international development conference focused on the technical side of Salesforce. Consider it a smaller, more focused Dreamforce with more opportunities for hands-on experience.

TrailheaDX is located in San Francisco, where the headquarters of Salesforce is, but is joined by people from all over the world. It also has a three-day post-conference bootcamp where you can immerse yourself into a deep-dive of Salesforce. There are also two opportunities for salesforce certifications which adds just the right touch to your resume.

Cactus Force


January 17th-18th

Phoenix, AZ

Cactusforce is a community-led conference located in Phoenix Arizona. It’s more regionally focused, but has attendees from across the United States. As a salesforce event, it is geared to more advanced users of the platform, developers, and architects. Beginner salesforce users are encouraged to come and have the opportunity to accelerate their growth.

The conference is broken into three tracks, the developer track, the architect track, and the configurator track. Over the two days, attendees will be able to get a hands-on learning experience in their chosen field. The conference program is highly interactive and progressive, each session leading into a more advanced topic, product, or feature.




February 26-28th

Salt Lake City, UT

Snowforce is a yearly Salesforce focused conference that combines one day of seminars and small group discussions with another day full of skiing! What better way to get to know fellow salesforce enthusiasts than chatting on a ski lift or winding down at the lodge!

The conference is located outside of Salt Lake City right outside of world renown ski slopes at Solitude Mountain Ski Resort. The sessions include: How to Drive Rapid Business Value Through Artificial Intelligence & Einstein Bots to the Rescue! If you can convince your boss to foot the bill for any conference this year, we highly suggest one which includes a ski trip!

Regional Specific Salesforce Conferences & Events

Salesforce has developed an international community, but not everyone can attend the major events. Smaller more regional communities have started hosting their own events to boost the knowledge and network in their respective locations. Below we’ll expand on a few regional salesforce events in North America and the exciting things happening at them!

Southeast Dreamin’



March 26th-27th

Atlanta, GA

Set in the tech hub of the southeast, Atlanta Ga. Southeast Dreamin’ is a community lead Salesforce conference. It’s produced by salesforce users for salesforce users. It gives Salesforce users in the southeast the opportunity to meet one another and expand their knowledge of the salesforce platform.

At southeast dreamin’, you can expect 20 community lead breakout sessions and hands-on-training in Salesforce. There is also a keynote presentation that has been given by some notable speakers. In 2019 and 2018, Warren Wick, EVP of Salesforce spoke and presented their keynote.

Midwest Dreamin’


July 22-24

Minneapolis, MN

Located in Minneapolis, Midwest Dreamin’ is another community lead salesforce conference. It brings everyone from the bread belt together to discuss all things Salesforce! It is set during the summer when the city is alive and full of entertainment!

Midwest Dreamin’ for 2020 has 5 major keynote speakers, Peter Coffee, Sean Alpert, Kris Lande, Zayne Turner, Kristen Englehardt. They will cover topics like Great Marketing Matters, Think Like An Architect, and Trailblazing Your Way To Your #DreamJob.

Northeast Dreamin’


September 14-15

Providence, RI

Northeast Dreamin’ is a community-produced Salesforce conference for users located in the northeastern United States. It’s located in Providence, Rhode Island at the end of the summer. If you catch it at the right time, you’ll still be able to enjoy the pleasant northeastern coastal summer!

Northeast Dreamin’ is a two-day conference with two opening keynotes and a closing keynote at the end. In 2019, they had Phil Komarny, Erica Kuhl, and Peter Coffee speak on ideas like Education Transformation Through Trust Networks, and Appropriate Intelligence

True North Dreamin’



April 23-24, 2020

Vancouver, BC Canada

While we’ve covered a few Dreamin’ events across the United States, True North Dreamin’ is Canada’s first community lead Dreamin’ event and rotates between major Canadian cities every year. This year it’s hosted in Vancouver, BC on the beautiful west coast of Canada!

The sessions for 2020 haven’t been designated yet, but in 2019 you could have heard: Advanced Reporting Tips and Tricks for New Admins & why Lighting Migration Must be a Priority. Since it’s hosted in Vancouver, the community will be encouraged to explore the city and immerse themselves in the local culture. This is only the second year of True North Dreamin’, but we are excited to see this Canada specific community grow and learn from each other!

Salesforce CPQ Enhances Precision in Closing Deals

Conference room in black and white - Alternative Solutions Consulting

Every organization with a sales team understands the need to close deals quickly and accurately. However, providing precise pricing often gets lost in complicated manual processes or cumbersome approvals. This is a common scenario across a variety of industries and organizations. Companies want a fast sales cycle, but they often forget the effort it takes a sales team to actually close a deal.  

Enter Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ is a sales tool designed to help companies generate detailed quotes. If you aren’t familiar with the acronym, CPQ stands for configure, price, and quote. CPQ enables the centralization and automation of complex pricing and business rules in real-time. This process equips sales teams with everything they need to close sales. 

Salesforce CPQ features solutions for problems that many companies face today around products, pricing, and quoting. The following is a short list of the capabilities Salesforce CPQ offers:   

  • Product customization
  • Advanced pricing rules
  • Exceptional approval tracking
  • Customizable quote templates
  • In-app guidance to prompt users to review products before continuing 

A Sales Rep’s Best Friend

With a solid understanding of the customer’s needs, Salesforce CPQ can assist sales reps with providing accurate quotes to prospective clients by narrowing options to the most applicable product for the customer. It enables the user to create quotes with consistency and clarity. Advanced rules can be set to handle volume discounts or channel and partner pricing. When the deal is ready to be closed, manual quote creation is easy; it only takes a few clicks to create the template and send it via email. This entire process can be completed in minutes, all the while saving your sales team valuable time.   

Salesforce CPQ is a great solution to increase revenue and sales productivity. If you have a complete understanding of your sales processes and have noticed issues with products, prices, and quotes, you may need to consider trying something new. Let us help you determine if Salesforce CPQ is the right solution for you.

Meet John Lay, Dreamforce Golden Hoodie recipient, November 2017

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Do you remember when you first heard about Salesforce? How did you get started with Salesforce?
My Trailblazer story started slowly but quickly spiked. I first heard of Salesforce when looking for a CRM solution. A few years later, I got the opportunity to license Service Cloud and attended my first Dreamforce along with our CIO and enterprise architect. The scope and options with Salesforce were hard to comprehend. Within 2 months, we increased our license from a simple Service Cloud license to a full Enterprise license and added more than 2,400 users. I then was tasked with deploying Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.
How has Trailhead helped you succeed?
Trailhead is my story! Ok, so remember what I said about getting started? I really knew zilch about Salesforce when I was handed a full org with 2,400 enterprise licenses and tasked with a full deployment. We had a great Success Manager who walked me through all of the resources, and I even took a class, but it still wasn’t what I needed to be successful. Luckily, Trailhead was launched soon after and I became addicted! I’ve found it to be the resource I’ve been looking for throughout my entire career in technology. Trailhead has such a wealth of information and is easy to consume, and its gamification makes it fun. Now, I not only study Trailhead to learn all I can about Salesforce but also reference it from time to time for a quick refresher.
Are you the only person learning on Trailhead at your company, or does your whole team or company embrace it?
My entire team uses Trailhead at some level. We have more than five Rangers and are always looking to grow more.
What does being a Trailblazer mean to you?
To me, a Trailblazer is someone who actively seeks out more knowledge and is always curious about what’s around the corner. Trailblazers aren’t just always learning—they also seek to share and help others along the trail.
What impact has the Trailblazer Community had on your Salesforce experience?
I find the Trailblazer Community to be extremely helpful and supportive.
What message do you have for new Trailblazers?
Don’t be afraid. Create an account and get started. Trailhead has more for you than just Salesforce-specific information.
What’s your favorite aspect of Trailhead?
Superbadges—I love them. The real-life example of being handed a problem and solving it using learnings from other modules is great.
Article  from:
Learn more about the Golden Hoodie!

Project Perfection is in the Planning

Project Planning 4 - Alternative Solutions Consulting

Project Perfection is in the Planning

People often discuss the high failure rates associated with technology projects around the world as if they are some industry-wide enigma.  Why do so many businesses fail in their endeavors? What is it that separates the incredible from the regrettable projects, and how can you make sure your company succeeds in delivery?

When a need or idea presents itself in an executive boardroom, business owners and stakeholders will generate loose criteria from their internal discussion and then send over the details to an assistant that transcribes it all into an email assuming the developers will “figure it out”.  Many times, these developers are off-site and the second-hand communication may be all they have to work from.  In my past, I have been handed a pencil drawing and hand-written list of features on a napkin, yes, a napkin, and told to just figure it out.  Believe it or not, scenarios like these constitute the bulk of the process for many efforts around the world, and projects like these are doomed before a developer ever enters the scene.  If a business is very lucky, the pure perseverance of the team will overcome this information hurdle to produce a production ready solution, but the odds are not in your favor.  Success in projects with limited planning are generally short-lived, as even these lucky few will find that their completed product falls far short of the original requirements or riddled with compatibility bugs.  If the project fails, the business minds will blame the developers for not delivering the product they wanted, and the developers blame the business minds for not explaining their needs efficiently.

The two project scenarios mentioned above account for about 90% of the projects out there, but what about the other 10%?  What about the award-winning, industry spinning 10% that lead us to a better way of doing business?  What are they doing that the others aren’t?

Communicating in a standardized, thorough, and well-documented manner.

In psychology, the false-consensus effect or false-consensus bias is an attributional type of cognitive bias whereby people tend to overestimate the extent to which their opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits are normal and typical of those of others. This cognitive bias tends to lead to the perception of a consensus that does not exist, a “false consensus”.  This false consensus is the best example I have found to explain the disconnect between business minds and developers.

Much like lawyers, developers are taught to think in a very process-oriented, standardized, and detail specific manner.  When provided the information they require, a strong development team can achieve incredible feats.  Without that information, they will be spinning their wheels on the 5th rejected iteration 6 months after the project deadline.  Business minds are forged to think outside the box and disrupt and improve standards to generate revenue increases. A developer asked to create a project without effective technical architecture and discovery is like being a CEO trying to lead a company with no analytics or references about the market!  Imagine having to fly blind with everyone counting on you for their success, it’s a scary scenario.  Finding an effective way to bridge the communication barrier between the business team and technology team is vital to ensuring project success.

The following steps will help put your team on the path to perfecting project process:


  1. The first and most necessary step to bridging the communication gap is, you guessed it, communication. We must bring together all stakeholders and leads to create standardized process that both teams abide.  Create a list out all the items the teams would require or like to see in their ideal project management situation.  Once the list is generated conduct a group value analysis to whittle down a final template.
  2. Fill out a RACI chart to identify responsibilities and consultations required for progression.
  3. Use wireframes to ensure the project is less “imagine this” and instead “create that”.
  4. Do a thorough discovery with a technical consult involved to ensure all data architecture, content, and third-party dependencies see the light of day before they drag your project into the darkness.
  5. Only fools rush in – Don’t start down an uncertain path as you will most likely get lost in the woods or worse, find bears.


It is difficult in the break-neck speed of business to stop and ask if things could be done better, faster, and with a higher success rate.  If your team is already at maximum output and you need help propelling your projects and processes to perfection, a proven partner can make all the difference.  A real partner acts to improve the overall quality and stability of a client, not just deliver the minimum to call it done.

Why take a chance on failure when certainty is one conversation away?


Johnie Waddell, Lead Developer & Salesforce Solution Architect at Alternative Solutions Consulting

The Hype Behind Community Cloud

brick lego figures 3120353b - Alternative Solutions Consulting

Since launching Community Cloud in 2013 Salesforce has continued to grow the functionality and extensibility.


But what is a Salesforce Community? Communities isn’t a social media application, it’s a customer/employee/vendor/client communication application.  It lets you create an online space to speak with the people you do business with even if they aren’t on Salesforce.


So, what can you do with an online portal?  One major use in our business is the Help Desk and Work Ticketing systems.  By logging into their Community account, any AltSolut customer can create an emergency ticket, update a ticket, or see responses on a previous ticket in our Help Desk.  Through the power of Salesforce, many processes are automated behind the scenes like routing the work to a capable agent who has the availability to work the ticket, or notifying a lead if the work isn’t completed in certain timeframes.


In the Work Ticketing System, we developed in-house, clients can see Sprint progress on current development as well as provide feedback or review/upload documentation.  Housing our Work Ticketing System in Salesforce allows us to manage our Project Management process in detail rather than paying a 3rd party provider for less extensible services.


Is that all?  Of course not.  Communities can also act as your Employee Intranet or Vendor Management system.  Pull employee metrics directly from other Salesforce Objects and create a KPI dashboard.  No more waiting until that 6-month review to see your progress.  Vendors/Clients can manage PO’s and Invoices with less work on your team through the power of Salesforce’s Contracts and Entitlements automation feature.  And you can even leverage Salesforce Chatter to maintain that air of personal acquaintance.


I already have a website, though!  With Lightning Builder, you can build easy to maintain public web pages with the look and feel of the modern era.  Salesforce can dynamically pull in content from their CMS (or Amazon’s AWS), and without the need for a team of developers to manage the process.  Customers can see your normal website, or login to their My Account area and see & make changes custom details.  By linking Commerce Cloud (or a 3rd party payment processor), they can purchase items without ever leaving the site or signing in again.  Community also comes with robust blog management features, and can integrate a forum quickly with great moderation options.  Or, you can integrate Community Builder on top of your existing website.


You’ve certainly made a point that Community Cloud can lift heavy, but IT says they can’t add extra cost and time! is built by both Business Users and IT Rockstars.  Compliance and Audit are key in any business, and Salesforce provides many tools to help.  Through help desks, knowledge (very robust permissioning), and easy configuration with outside sources like Active Directory SSO, Oracle, and more, IT will be very happy with all the time they aren’t spending answering simple questions or chasing down the equipment you forgot to return (We sent you an email five minutes before your shift was over to bring it back on your way out.


Spencer Gibson, Alternative Solutions and Customer Life-Cycle Management Consultant

Salesforce Answers Built on Ohana

Ohana - Alternative Solutions Consulting

Working as a Salesforce consultant provides incredible insight into how companies use the platform.  Regardless of our experience with Salesforce, we sometimes come across a question or use case that we need a bit more direction.


Fortunately for us, Salesforce realized in order to be profitable they had to have a purpose.   Building around the spirit of Ohana, Salesforce has made its ecosystem of customers and employees personally responsible to ensure no one is left behind.   Yes, it may sound hokie or like I’ve drank the “Kool Aid” but in reality, regardless of profit, Salesforce has created something more powerful than money can buy……community.


Let’s take a look at some of the best areas and communities to find answers and join in Ohana.


My first stop typically takes me to Salesforce Help where I can review documentation, download user guides and access video.   This is the best starting point.


If I need to dig deeper or research a more unique or custom request, I typically make the Salesforce Trailblazer Community my next stop.  Here I can find answers to questions from other users.


To stay up-to-date with the constant enhancements and new products, there is no better place than

Trailhead.  Trailhead offers complete tutorials and hands-on exercises to help you become an expert in all things Salesforce.   Follow them on Trailhead on Twitter and Trailhead on Medium.


Salesforce Stack Exchange is Q&A site for anyone in the Salesforce ecosystem.  Lots of great questions and expert answers.


Finally, visit Salesforce on YouTube.  Browse through playlists or catch-up on Dreamforce.  Create notifications to be reminded of new videos that get uploaded.


There is a plethora of resources to utilize and assist you with questions and Salesforce learning.  Use them when needed and in the spirit of Ohana, help others along your Salesforce journey.

-Danny Raines, Alternative Solutions Senior Salesforce Consultant for Call Center? Yes.

ccAliens - Alternative Solutions Consulting

If you walk around a call center and ask what agent performance issues are prevalent, you’ll often hear the same things: Lack of agent knowledge, lack of attention, difficulty navigating systems, and lack of agent empowerment.

But, what can we do to improve these areas? Lots of things.

Today, we’re going to focus on CRM and specifically By giving agents and supervisors tools to combat common issues, we can improve agent performance, and make collaboration less of a pain point in the organization.

With, we solve many issues related to these things all at once.

Knowledge is a powerful tool that can be tailored to present relevant articles to agents based on relevant case status and contact information.  The escalation process for chat, phone, and email avenues is also greatly improved by leveraging Omni-Channel routing. The increased, yet efficient, communication allowed by Chatter within and between departments does wonders for a call center’s culture.

With the new Lightning Experience, we can shorten clicks per action, sometimes cutting them in half or more. With custom coding, many agent processes can be automated, allowing your agents to focus on the customer and let the software do the heavy lifting. This not only improves the agent experience and thus employee retention, but it improves efficiency and allows you to backfill less of your attrition.

With Chatter (a method to comment on records to other users), Omni-Channel, and simple yet recognizable notifications, agents are easily and quickly able to gain supervisor approvals without a long hold process. Reminders can also be set by agents or automatically generated based on business rules.

There are a great many factors that go into agent retention, but CRM is one of the best tools that can be used to combat it. It can help your agents perform, make their daily experience better, and help them feel empowered and attentive. does Call Center CRM better than anyone else, and for the first time you can truly integrate your CRM into the rest of your business’s system of record. Alternative Solutions Consulting is the industry expert you can trust to make these integrations work.


Spencer Gibson, Alternative Solutions and Customer Life-Cycle Management Consultant