Post contributed by Adam Metz of Metz Consulting. Partnering with brands to help them figure out how to acquire, monetize and retain the elusive “social media” customer.

The San Francisco Sales 2.0 conference begins tomorrow, and while I love just hitting a conference and going from session-to-session, on a whim, I usually get more out of them by making a plan, before the show. So, here’s my run-down of the absolute essentials.

If you’re attending Sales 2.0 trying to learn as much as possible about the social customer, these are the talks and parties I wouldn’t miss. My advice – just print this blog post out, and pop it in your pocket or purse, and use it to navigate the conference, when you need your Social CRM fix.

Day One: Monday, November 8

  1. 11 a.m. – Breakout Session B – Demand Generation Tactics That Create Synergy Between Sales & Marketing – If your Social CRM team lacks a solid orientation in Demand Generation, the key synergies between the sales and marketing use cases of Social CRM may really mis-fire. Not one to skip.
  2. 3:50 p.m. – BOTH breakout Sessions – This is a real tough ones. Two of my favorite speakers, Anneke Seley and the team at Marketo are going head-to-head. I’m seriously going to hit the first 30 minutes of Seley’s talk, “Social Networking Strategies that Generate Qualified Leads and Revenue,” and then cut over to Marketo’s talk, “Secret Sauce of Sales & Marketing Alignment”. I really doubt that the Marketo guys took their title from my first book, There Is No Secret Sauce, but, you never know. 😉 Note: Seley literally wrote the book on Sales 2.0. A must-read, in the space.
  3. 4:45 p.m. – Breakout Session B – The ROI of Sales & Marketing 2.0 – This is definitely the big metrics talk for Day One of the conference. Jim Dickie, from CSO Insights, is sure to break this down cleanly, and clearly.
  4. 5:45 p.m. – Cocktail Reception – If you want to catch most of the speakers in one room, this is place. Come on time, because there’s likely a speaker dinner that they’ll be whisked off to, around 6:15ish.

Day Two: Tuesday, November 9

  1. 9 a.m. Mark Woollen keynote The one talk that I would say is a “can’t miss” Social CRM talk. Woollen’s talk topic is “Prepare To Win: Five Transforming Trends In Sales & Marketing.” Woollen is one of the few people I’ve interviewed that understands where Social CRM will be in the year 2015. 
  2. 10:20 a.m. – How To Win Friends & Influence People With CRM – Although the title may sound dubious, this brand-based talk, featuring CRM leaders from North Shore Credit Union, Irvine Company & Career Builder is sure to show best practices in guiding and responding to customer behavior on the social web. If they don’t get social enough on the panel, be sure to ask questions. I know I will.
  3. 11:15 a.m. – The Changing B2B Buyer & What It Means For Sales & Marketing – The whole Customer 2.0 focus is popping up a lot in conferences this year, and it illustrates a clear shift from the corporate-focused ecosystem to the customer ecosystem. CRM Godfather Paul Greenberg is surely pleased. (This is stuff that he called over five years ago).
  4. 4:40 p.m. – Cocktail reception and awards dinner. If you have to hit only one of the two parties, this is the one I’d go to.

Vendor/Sponsor Booths To Hit Up:

  1. Jigsaw – Since this social sales prospecting data was acquired by Salesforce in early 2010, it will be interesting to get the 5-minute update on what’s happening with Jigsaw Data Fusion, their first data-as-a-service product. Yeah, they call that DaaS. Another freakin’ -aaS acronym, ugh.
  2. Marketo – This is a pretty bad-ass brand. If you don’t know much about lead nurturing, lead scoring, or turning social customers (especially B2B ones) into sales prospects, the Marketo booth is worth a look.
  3. Xactly – If you’re managing a sales team and have any issues with compensation or performance management, these guys are worth checking out. Their CEO, Chris Cabrera, is sort of known as “the man who killed spreadsheets” – check out the 2009 cover of Selling Power that he was featured on, for more.
  4. InsideView – I did a killer interview with their CEO, Umberto Miletti, at last year’s Sales 2.0 (which I’ll be posting this week). Be sure to try out their product. Highly useful if you’re looking to socialize your reference customers, in a B2B environment. This is possibly the most addictive Sales 2.0 software I’ve ever used.

Disclosure: I’ve been given an analyst/press pass to Sales 2.0 for 2010 and 2009. I’m not paid by the conference, or any of the vendors to write anything. My company does receive a no-cost InsideView subscription in exchange for some blog posts, and some co-marketing.