Salesforce Trailblazer Community Group — Online Salesforce DemoJam

Zach
7 min readMar 3, 2021

This blog originally appeared on TechieZach.Com.

On January 14, 2021, the Austin, TX Salesforce Administrator Trailblazer community group (#SalesforceATX) hosted a virtual DemoJam. This Salesforce user group meeting had over 60 attendees with four different Salesforce AppExchange partners in the DemoJam. I ran this alongside fellow co-leaders Chris Robertson and Cindy Reeder. You can check out their social media by clicking their names. Onto how this blog came to be for the TrailblazerCommunity.

This blog came to be the night of the Salesforce DemoJam, as a suggestion from our winner ProtonText. I only have a few blogs posted at this point, such as about Salesforce Certification Exam Webcams or my social media rebrand, so it is about time for another one.

First, let’s quickly define what is a DemoJam…

DemoJam: These are game show style events where 4–8 Salesforce AppExchange partners showcase their most compelling app in a short, no fluff, demo.

Now that we know what a DemoJam is, let’s plan one for your local Trailblazer Community Group.

Planning the Salesforce Trailblazer Community Group DemoJam

Date & Time

You would think that such a section would not be necessary but the date and time of the meeting are important. Now when thinking of your community first, what does this entail? This means being mindful of other Trailblazer Community Groups in your area. Here are some quick dos and don’ts that I like to consider in general.

Do

  • Finalize the date & time well before you contact Salesforce AppExchange Partners
  • Schedule the DemoJam at least one month out
  • Ensure all of your Trailblazer Community group leaders can attend
  • Plan for about 2 hours to run the entire Salesforce user group Meeting

Don’t

  • Have the same topic as another Salesforce user group in your area in the same month
  • Have the same date for your DemoJam as another Trailblazer Community Group in your area
  • Plan your Trailblazer Community Group around one vendor

I’m sure there are many other gotchas when scheduling a DemoJam but off the top of my head, I think these are the most helpful tips in terms of scheduling.

Finding Vendors for the Salesforce Trailblazer Community Group DemoJam

First and foremost, If you’re planning a DemoJam for an official Salesforce user group such as we did here in Austin, that means you are not allowed to take any sort of financial exchange for your meetings. Aside from that big no-no, here are some quicks Do’s and Don’ts for finding some vendors to participate in your DemoJam.

Do

  • Prioritize your local Appexchange companies
  • Prioritize individuals or companies that repeatedly come to your Salesforce user group and have asked to present
  • Reach out to Salesforce AppExchange partners your community has expressed interest in or you believe will fill a need in your community

Don’t

  • Have the same topic as another Salesforce user group in your area in the same month
  • Have the same date for your DemoJam as another Salesforce user group in your area
  • Plan your Trailblazer Community group meeting around one vendor

Finding AppExchange companies in my experience typically have not proven difficult. It is not uncommon for companies to reach out to me either on LinkedIn, Twitter, In-Person (whenever that is a thing again), or through the Contact form on our group page.

If you haven’t had a company reach out to you yet for your Salesforce user group do not fret, it will happen soon, I promise. In the meantime, there are often contact forms on company websites that you can utilize to reach out to the sales or marketing department. You can also do a quick search for marketers at companies on LinkedIn and send a personalized invite to them with your proposition for them to join your online DemoJam.

You ultimately are providing low-cost to free marketing to the AppExchange companies with the possibility of a high return on investment. Think about it, you will be:

  1. Advertising on Social Media
  2. Advertising on the Success Community
  3. Email blasts through the Trailblazer Community Group Leader Platform
  4. Webpage landing with their name for your community group
  5. Word of Mouth
  6. Direct access to your community in a live 2-hour meeting after work hours

Keep all of this in mind when you are proposing to an AppExchange partner to come to your user group…

After we locked down the date we reached out to these AppExchange companies to confirm interest for our group:

  1. Copado
  2. OwnBackup
  3. RenderDraw
  4. ProtonText

Meeting Software — Zoom!

Ultimately we ended up using the Zoom account from Merivis. The reason why we chose to use Zoom is mainly because of the Breakout room feature.

We are able to put attendees and each AppExchange company into a breakout room, and thus have a focused experience. Even though we had over 60 attendees, we were able to divide this by 4 for each vendor, allowing us to give each vendor around 15 people at a time. This is a much more manageable level of engagement that allows discussion and networking. We were also able to assist in moving individuals from room to room. More on that later… The main room also created an area for people to flock to if they had technical issues.

Facilitators

You are going to need multiple facilitators. The logistics of the meeting can get big enough that you will need multiple people. I think 3~5 is sufficient, so if you don’t have that many leaders expect to ask for help. If I had to establish roles here is what they would be:

  1. Point of Contact
  2. Participant Rotator
  3. Attendee Experience Checker
  4. Swag Guardian

Point of Contact

I acted in this role for the most part for this past DemoJam. There are a lot of behind the scene communications that occur. Aside from facilitating date and vendors, there is a lot of communication needed for how the event would run which I’ll break down in the DemoJam logistics section. During the event, I was also the contact individuals would come to for issues however ultimately I would defer them to the Participant rotator for the most part.

Participant Rotator

Amy from Merivis was the Participant rotator. We made the decision to rotate every individual through each room. So with four Salesforce AppExchange partners, this means we would need four breakout rooms. Why did we think this was a good idea? Well, originally I thought we would have about 40 attendees which is a manageable number in my mind. Here is my train of thought:

  1. Rotating individuals ourselves would allow us to ensure everyone was sent to each room once, and that each Salesforce AppExchange partner would get every attendee at least once
  2. Rotating individuals would mitigate us combatting technical issues raised during the call from an attendee standpoint
  3. This would allow us to control how long everyone is in each room and keep the flow of the meeting on schedule

Attendee Experience Checker

We needed individuals to go to each room and experience the DemoJam to ensure there were no bumps from the Vendors or participant side. Cindy and Chris performed this and was hands-on with every attendee. I jumped in where I could but mainly sat in the main room if issues arose.

Swag Guardian

It can become difficult to hand out 15 pieces of swag virtually, so Chris Robertson stepped up and owned the swag distribution during the meeting. He had the task of figuring out who won the swag from all the vendors and our local user group. Each vendor could have a different form setup, so it took some collaboration to figure out exactly who won what.

Online Trailblazer Community Group DemoJam Logistics

Austin, TX Admin Group meetings typically run from 6PM to 7:45PM. We also clarified to group members the meeting will not be recorded, so they need to attend the experience to see it and win some swag.The schedule of the meeting was as such:

6:00~6:03 : Allow participants to join the meeting

6:03~6:07 : Cover announcements and meeting agenda

6:07~6:12 : Merivis to do their segment to every attendee (Participant rotator begins queuing up rooms and assigning attendees)

6:12~6:15: I explained logistics of the event to every attendee

6:15 ~ 7:20 PM: Show time.

7:20PM ~7:45PM: DemoJam Winner Survey and swag was passed out

We budgeted about 10~12 minutes for 4 rotations, totaling a maximum of 48 minutes. You can see above we ended the DemoJam itself around 7:20 PM, this resulted in the DemoJam running 65 minutes. Due to technical difficulties caused by my planning, this caused us to go over about 17 minutes. Here is the key detail I would perform differently:

  1. Have the participant rotator only rotate the Salesforce AppExchange Partners from each room and not every attendee. I made the mistake of asking Amy from Merivis to rotate 60 attendees, which can be a huge manual task in Zoom. Rotating 4 people is a lot quicker than rotating 60.

At the end of the DemoJam is when we handed out swag, as we did not want attendees to leave halfway through. We also required vendors to not give out swag during the meeting itself, to prevent attendees from getting confused and thinking the swag has vanished. This is also when we conducted polling to find out who won the DemoJam for our Salesforce user group.

Here are the slides we presented to the attendees about the logistics if you want to create something similar:

The End

I think the above covers how to plan your own DemoJam for your Salesforce User Group, but feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Thanks for reading such a long blog! If you have any suggestions for blog content feel free to suggest them to me through my contact form or on social media.

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Zach

Techie Millenial who works from home. I post about my work from home life, being a 9X Certified Salesforce Architect and User Group Leader, and my dogs!