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  • Writer's pictureJesse Passafiume

Top 10 Things I Learned at Dreamforce 2018

Dreamforce is the title bestowed on the annual gathering of users and vendors. This year, more than 170K of us descended on San Francisco for a week. The conference is a spectacle. Streets are shut down. In place of traffic, a park is built, complete with rocks, grass and a live music.

The scale is overwhelming. The message was the following: how you use data will make or break your business. This year, a few key messages stood out at Dreamforce.

1) The only CRM that matters is the one that is used.

The first thing I learned at Dreamforce was that you do not need a CRM to run your business. There isn’t one that is “better’ than another. The key thing is that you have a system for No Lead Left Behind and On Time Close and stick with it. One of the most successful mortgage planners in my market still uses a shared Google Sheet and it works. All of the technology in the world is useless if it isn’t used.

Action Plan: Instead of worrying about what CRM to use. Start using SOMETHING. The discipline of No Lead Left Behind will increase your production now.

2) The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about connectivity and it is here. @rmahna2

Dreamforce also taught me that everything is connected. Phones, computers, coffee makers, cars, and thermostats. The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming to Real Estate and mortgage. The technology of the future is seamless and connected. Compass’s new Real Estate signs talk to your phone and while sitting an open house, you can connect to your clients on 15 social media platforms with the click of a button.

Action Plan: Use the new stuff. Experiment, explore and build proficiency. Buy a Nest Thermostat, integrate your Google Apps into Evernote, edit video on your iPhone. Being ready for what is next is a huge piece of the battle.

3) You can use Technology to improve service. @Marriott

Marriott is using their technology platform and the IoT to connect you to your hospitality experience. They are keeping track of your preferences, including the temperature you like your room, in their CRM and delivering every time. They are truly using technology to elevate their service game.

Action Plan: Track your client’s communication preferences, favorite restaurants, and hobbies in your CRM. Use that info before during and after the transaction to improve their experience and increase the likelihood of referral.

4) It is time to move from Project to Platform thinking @unileverusa

Dreamforce highlighted that in the mortgage and real estate business, very few of our systems connect. It is not unusual for large successful mortgage banks to have 5 – 10 systems that deal with the client. The future is thinking about your Client from end to end and making sure your systems “Talk”. The middleware landscape is changing rapidly. Engineers and CEO’s need to commit to data connectivity and deliver it to their sales teams.

Action Plan: You are a business owner, only implement systems with an open API and connectivity. If you are an MLO or Realtor, consider your entire customer journey from lead to closing on their 5th purchase and make sure you keep all of your data in one place.

5) Financial Services Products are Becoming Self Service @StateFarm

The Sr. Exec from State Farm predicted that 100% of financial services products will have a viable self-service option by 2022. That is a scary proposition. But, it is happening quickly in the Mortgage space. If you consider off the shelf tools like Floify, they are one step away from full automation for 70% of our clients. What does this mean for us?

Action Plan: Build scalable systems. In a world of automation, your margins are smaller and the number of people you serve needs to double. It is no longer an option, it is an imperative.

6) The Financial Services product roadmap is Changing #BBVA #Deloitte

I talked to an MLO about the self-service mortgage and a large portion of our industry being internet enabled by 2022 and he adamantly told me that it is impossible. It is time for some honesty on this topic. BBVA, a massive retail bank, and Deloitte, a major consultant that helps drive the stuff we don’t see both advocated for a new product roadmap. 1) Digitize, 2) Make it DIY, 3) Make it Smart, 4) Create consent and convert that consent to autonomy. This is what two of the largest influencers in mortgage and banking are advocating as a methodology for rolling out products. Where does that leave us?

Action Plan: Know your niche. The mortgage is still the largest transaction of someone’s life and the ones that don’t fly through automated systems need your expertise. Find your niche and layer in world-class client service.

7) “Technology isn’t good or bad, it is how we use it” Marc Benioff

This is a common theme in my life today. Technology is disruptive. It is recreating status quo in nearly every industry. It is eliminating and creating millions of jobs and unlocking billions in new wealth. Elon Must rails on about the dangers of AI and Marc Benioff is going all in. Technology deployed correctly improves experiences and increases authenticity.

Action Plan: Consider how you deploy your technology. For mortgage and real estate pros, the next challenge is humanizing the automatic funnel. Don’t buy the lie, complete automation largely pisses people off without lasting results.

8) Design and Plan for Eternity @Cucinelli

Brunello Cuccinelli, a fashion designer from Italy that uses to manage deeply personal client relationships, believes we need to take a long view of the technology we design and build. Just because it’s all ones and zeros doesn’t mean it needs to be ugly or lack longevity.

Action Plan: Consider the future when you are using technology. It can be as simple as assuring you maintain copies of your data in a centralized location. Or that your address book is duplicated on your personal phone.

9) Inclusive capitalism is the answer because business is the greatest platform for change.@Benioff

Capitalism is worshiped or vilified with equal vigor. Like technology, money is neither good nor bad, it is a tool. provides free licenses to non-profits, including one I am involved in, Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. They also donate millions of dollars, employ hundreds of veterans and have fueled the creation of hundreds of companies. Patagonia popularized the Benefit Corporation and provides grants to non-profits making a difference.

Action Plan: How is your business a tool for change. One MLO in my community donates a % of her revenue every month to a different community charity. Another offers the local schools a technology grant every year. Make money, so you can impact your community.

10) In the era of the individual, technology makes it easier than ever to change the world.@unitedway

Finally, at Dreamforce I learned that you have a platform. It is turn key, free, and in your pocket right now. Technology created this individualistic period and gave us direct access to everyone on the planet. The ultimate soapbox and a powerful tool.

Action Plan: What is your message? You are passionate about what you do, tell people about it. Use the platform to promote who you are because business follows authenticity.

If you want to go a little deeper on Dreamforce check out Jesse’s Tweets from the show and follow some of the folks on Jesse’s #DF18 list.

#DF18 #Salesforce #DigitizedMLO #DigitizedRLTR #DigitizedAgent

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