With over 150,000 attendees, Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference is one of the largest conferences in the world. There are over 2,500 sessions on topics for marketers, sales, admins, and developers. And there are tremendous networking and community engagement interactions around every corner, as well as opportunities for volunteerism. Multi-Pack Solutions is a relatively new user of Salesforce, and Dreamforce ’16 was my first event. Having attended nearly 15 sessions over three days, plus countless networking and community interactions, I found four key takeaways that bear consideration for how they can be applied to the contract packaging industry:

#1: We must provide value

By the time a typical B2B purchase has contacted a vendor, they’re already nearly 70% through their journey. Wow! What does this mean? The buyer has spent considerable time researching, learning, engaging, and trying to solve his pain points. This is where we, as contract packagers, have a tremendous opportunity to provide value to potential customers. There are many contract packagers who fill tubes or bottles or manufacture wet wipes, so how should we differentiate ourselves? By providing answers and solutions – our cumulative knowledge, insights, and expertise – to those pain points, and demonstrating our value as a potential partner.

#2: Engagement is key

There are countless ways for us to engage our customers and potential customers along their journeys. With so much taking place before someone even reaches out to us, we need to engage along the way by providing that value discussed earlier. When someone does finally contact us, what happens next? Are we instilling confidence? Are we developing a genuine relationship? And when we are fortunate enough to have someone choose us as their contract packaging partner, are we doing everything we can to engage and provide “wow” moments? Are we delighting the customer with new ideas or improvements? As an organization, Multi-Pack Solutions is making significant strides within these areas of engagement, but opportunities are nearly endless and we’re excited for what’s next.

#3: Sense of community is a powerful emotion

In a previous blog post, I discussed reasons why we, as consumers, might choose to do business with a particular company or buy a particular product. This was one of my most powerful observations at Dreamforce ’16: salesforce has invested heavily to develop their user community. Opportunities for swag – like socks, coffee cup jackets, stickers, and buttons – are everywhere. Volunteerism is encouraged with pride but without being obtrusive. Receptions were hosted. Monks were even available to help attendees focus. Formal training sessions and informal discussions are nearly limitless, and Salesforce employees and partners were genuinely excited to talk, and more importantly, to help. Finally, Salesforce’s free training program, Trailhead, was woven into everything and visible everywhere. All of which led to a distinct feeling, almost a perception that could be visualized, about what kind of company Salesforce is and how I, as a customer and a conference attendee, fit in.

Many of us know this is incredibly challenging to accomplish, but it is also incredibly powerful. I became engaged. I became excited. I became an advocate for Salesforce and excited about what it can do for us and how I can use it. And now I’m telling our readers all about it. Powerful.

#4: Find opportunities to give back

I was fortunate enough to be in the audience for a conversation with Melinda Gates. Her closing words were simple and moving. To paraphrase: each of us in the room has the ability to change someone’s life. We all do this in our personal lives through activities like volunteerism or parenting, of course. But let’s not forget, we can also do this professionally; a small gesture can make a big impact.