Top 10 sessions for Higher Ed folks attending dreamforce which will help to increase enrollment and student success.

If you are in Higher Ed and attending dreamforce or not attending here, my post here talks about the top 5 sessions which you should bookmark and plan to attend next week. Should I care if I am not attending? It is a valid question but you can still note the session and plan to watch it later on youtube.


Subscribe to Roadmap sessions first

There are 100’s of sessions which would be overwhelming to pick from. Before you identify a session, search on the session builder for roadmap, bookmark and subscribe to them first. The reason is that roadmap sessions are not videotaped and not shared publicly by Salesforce due to changes in the release schedule. So this would be the session you want to subscribe to immediately. Here are some roadmap sessions which would be of value to you. To see all the roadmap sessions, just search roadmap on the session finder and pick the ones you want. Also if you see numbers like (1) or (2) on session headings,  there will be repeat sessions and so you can always find the next session on a separate date and time. 😛

EDA Roadmap session

Community cloud Roadmap session

SAL Roadmap session

service cloud Roadmap

GEM Roadmap session

Pay attention to the EDA, SAL , GEM and community.
For all the higher ed folks who are thinking of EDA or planning to migrate to EDA, please enroll for EDA sessions which would help you to plan for future roadmaps. Also for folks in retention , Student Advisor Link sessions are a must attend. If you are thinking about student communities, plan on to attend community cloud sessions and the new content management session.

Data Governance in Education

Roundtables are first-come, first-serve – limited capacity. What is your plan for accessing, sharing, and securing data? Salesforce thrives on the integration of data flowing from existing systems of record (SIS, LMS, ERP) along with many other sources within your environment. Establishing a data governance strategy that works for your cultural, political, and technology landscape is critical to ensuring success with the Salesforce platform. In this Circle of Success, we will discuss concepts to help you drive more effective data governance on campus, including best practices to maintain data quality, strategies for sharing data between departments in a FERPA compliant manner, and understanding how to bring this conversation to your business and IT leaders and develop a strategy that works for your institution.

The Power of the Platform: Using Data to Increase Prospective Student Engagement

Meeting your enrollment goals requires developing authentic relationships with prospective and admitted students. But how do stretched recruitment and admissions teams create 1:1 engagement at scale? Learn how to build stronger relationships, and overcome summer melt, by creating personalized journeys for prospects, applicants, and admitted students. In addition, discover how AI is changing how institutions find, attract, and engage with prospective students, giving them fresh insights into what drives yield. In this session, you’ll learn how to harness CRM-driven insights to 1) Automate follow-up processes and nurture prospective students; 2) Identify and act on applicant and enrollment trends, and 3) Reduce recruitment funnel attrition and summer melt.

Watch the great Kirsten Rauscher do a demo with great use cases on admissions on this session!!

Facing the Challenges of Staffing Your Salesforce Team

Staffing your organization with the right mix of skills and people to manage and run your salesforce implementation is a constant challenge. What’s the right mix of admins, developers, analysts for the number of users that I have? How can I develop their talents and retain them? Which certifications should I be looking for in every role? How do I find the best talent? This session will be an interactive panel discussion with experts in each of these areas. Christine Haley, IT Director at Liberty Mutual utilizes Trailhead as a key tool to help develop and enable the Developers, Admins and Product Owners in their organization. Mac McConnachie is a Senior Director for Trailhead at Salesforce and helps to drive credentialing for our Trailblazers. Joanna Iturbe is the President of the Denver Salesforce Users Group which publishes a semi-annual Salary Survey. She will talk about the power of community groups to help build and develop talent. These experts will be sharing brief stories about how they are addressing these issues and take questions from the audience to help you with your own challenges in staffing your salesforce team.

Watch out for Salesforce MVP Joanna Iturbe provide great insights on leveraging the salesforce community for your needs.

Lather, rinse, repeat: styling Salesforce for recruitment event success

More than ever before, students expect the same level of ease as shopping online when connecting with Colleges and Universities, and, frankly, so does your staff. In this session, we would like to show how the University of Miami, built out an iterative event management solution. Starting with our Salesforce “shampoo” we connected campaigns and accounts and contacts to promote and manage events, on-campus in our recruitment territories. Then we lathered you on some rich conditioners— like lightning components and flows— and rinsed off with some of our existing functionality and reimagined it for new uses cases. By strategically planning and building our use of Salesforce, we were able to rock a brand new ‘do to meet our students and staff in a mobile-friendly and automated space.

Watch out for Salesforce MVP Florence Parodi rock the session with best practices and tips.

Wharton’s Salesforce Journey: Not Just Marketing & IT, a School-wide Strategy

I am happy to showcase a school in our backyard. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has a complex, distributed, and federated environment. We embarked on a Salesforce journey four years ago to enable the School to make data-driven decisions and streamline business processes with superior user experience. Along the way, we learned many lessons about change management, data governance, program management, and adoption as we deployed Salesforce. In this session, you will learn why we chose Salesforce to advance our CRM/sales, community-building, and marketing activities. Come and learn from stories of various stakeholder perspectives and ideas that contribute to this initiative, fostering a culture of collaboration and change at the Wharton School. Join Sarah Spaulding, Senior IT Director for Strategic Partnerships and Joe Cruz, Senior IT Director for Enterprise Solutions and Services, as they share Wharton’s Salesforce journey from their perspective as Program Managers. Whether it’s growing your Salesforce footprint, trying to decide if Salesforce is right for you, or if you’re humming along smoothly, there are many little and not-so-little things that can be learned from their experience.

Are Enrollment Questions Keeping You Up at Night? Einstein Analytics Can Help!

Would your admissions team be more effective if you could spot elusive trends and patterns in your data? New England College is harnessing the power of Einstein Analytics and Discovery to analyze the enrollment funnel as well as develop predictive and forecasting models. This session will include an overview of management and analytic strategies, the specific challenges NEC is addressing, and their overall results. In addition, you’ll learn how you can empower your admissions team to be more agile and strategic, too, with new Einstein Templates for Recruitment and Admissions.

Managing Subscriber Preferences in Marketing Cloud for Higher Ed and Nonprofits

Roundtables are first-come, first-serve – limited capacity. Do you want your subscribers to be able to opt down and not out? How can you listen when subscribers are telling you what they want to read about? This discussion will focus on best practices in Marketing Cloud for holding and respecting subscriber statuses. This is a pain point for many universities and how to handle opt-ins and opt-outs and would be a great one for folks to attend.

ISDI has developed a solution that integrates Salesforce and Blockchain in order to permanently store the student Electronic Academic Records. This communication between Salesforce and a distributed database like Blockchain provides a solution to safely certificate any kind of student credentials (attendance, grades, activities, diplomas, …) resulting in a trustworthy way of backing the digital track of any student at ISDI. Moreover, this solution allows ISDI to define rules in Salesforce that generate custom student badges that are later on automatically also stored in Blockchain so they can be easily shared and validated by anyone — resulting in the generation of trust and at the same time offering a gamification process for the whole ISDI ecosystem.
 This would help to increase efficiency in the transcript process followed now in schools and colleges.
It’s great to have a CRM, but even the best CRM is only as strong as its adoption, especially when its success depends on the buy-in of multiple programs and departments. In this session, you’ll hear how the University of the Pacific gained faculty buy-in by revamping how the school tracks the effectiveness of its marketing and recruitment efforts. Through reporting tools and dashboards, the CRM gives graduate programs greater insight into their enrollment funnel data to better target prospective students and adjust their market spend. In addition, discover how the UNLV Graduate College deployed CRM to streamline admissions and student funding processes across more than 155 programs, each with its own needs and stakeholders, as the first part of their student lifecycle CRM. From building personalized communications journeys for prospective and current students to optimizing case management and student funding, UNLV Graduate College’s lifecycle CRM is now the system of engagement for graduate and professional students. Join us to discover how both graduate schools began their connected campus visions in recruitment and admissions, and how CRM is empowering these institutions to better serve the needs of their students, faculty, and staff.

To summarize, here are the top 3 things which you should plan or do at dreamforce.

  1. For folks who are new, you will never be able to attend all sessions. So please pick and choose sessions in one building for a day and stay focused on it rather than walking and losing it on huge lines.
  2. Do not miss the roadmap sessions.
  3. Network with MVPs and peers to learn best practices.

As always, you can reach out to me at on questions and I would connect you with the right folks or share best practices.

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Author: buyan47

Hi there! My name is Buyan Thyagarajan. I am a Salesforce consultant specializing in Higher Education, Manufacturing and Marketing Automation. My blogs will help you to maximize your Salesforce CRM investments, prevent problems beforehand and make the right decisions. If you need to talk to me right away, you can email me at or call me at 302-438-4097

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