Innovation Series: Formstack

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This is a podcast episode titled, Innovation Series: Formstack. The summary for this episode is: <p><em>This is the third episode of the Innovation Series -- where we will highlight marketing experts to learn how they are innovating in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. </em>In this episode, hosts Bobby and Cole chat with Joel Houghton and Zak Pines from Formstack to learn how they are being innovative in Marketing Cloud and with their customers. <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Formstack</a> is a workplace productivity platform that helps organizations streamline digital work through no-code online forms, documents, and signatures.</p>
💡 Who is Formstack?
01:03 MIN
🏀 One Way the Pacers Use Formstack
01:40 MIN
🔐 How TradeStation Uses Formstack
02:12 MIN
💥 What's Next for Formstack Innovations
00:49 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the In The Clouds podcast. In The Clouds is a marketing Cloud podcast powered by Lev, the most influential marketing- focused Salesforce consultancy in the world. Lev is a customer experience- obsessed and podcast hosts, Bobby Tichy and Cole Fisher, have partnered with some of the world's most well- known brands to help them master meaningful one- on- one connection with their customers. In this podcast, they'll combine strategy and deep technical expertise to share best practices, how- to's and real- life use cases and solutions for the world's top brands using Salesforce products today.

Bobby Tichy: Welcome to In The Clouds podcast. This is Bobby Tichy along with Cole Fisher. Cole, why do I always want to call you full Fisher and instead of Cole Fisher?

Cole Fisher: That's probably just your eclectia.

Bobby Tichy: That's a good point. It's a good point. Really excited today. We are continuing our innovation series. We have a partner here called Formstack. We're super excited to have on the podcast, Joel Houghton along with Zak Pines from their team. Joel, Zak, if you guys wouldn't mind just doing a brief intro of yourselves, that'd be great.

Joel Houghton: My name is Joel. I'm a Senior Healthcare Account Executive at Formstack, I've been here for three years.

Zak Pines: And hey, Cole and Bobby, Zak Pines. I am VP of Partnerships at Formstack. Partnerships at Formstack includes our technology partnerships with companies like Salesforce and Microsoft and our great consulting partners, our consulting partner community of which Lev has been a great partner. And we're excited both about our partnership and about participating in this podcast today.

Bobby Tichy: Awesome. Yeah, that's great. So what we want to do is just give a kind of a quick overview of Formstack in a better sense that the key features and capabilities, especially as they relate to Salesforce marketing cloud, and then also just get a better sense of what's on the roadmaps and core use cases, that sort of thing. So we'll turn it over to you guys to give a little intro of Formstack, the key features and functionality, and then we'll go from there.

Zak Pines: Awesome, Bobby. Formstack think of us as we're in the productivity software category, we're enabling businesses to be more productive with how they capture data and what they do with that data, including things like generating documents, collecting digital signatures, and we're often wrapping our product around a system of record. That system of record could be Salesforce CRM, it could be marketing cloud as well as hundreds of other integrations that we provide. So the three big products are Formstack forms for generating a form and capturing data, Formstack documents for generating documents, automating document generation processes at scale, and Formstack sign for digital signatures, which is a very hot product as businesses are moving more and more of their operations into digital. This has all been a hot area for us to work in over the past couple of years.

Bobby Tichy: That's great. And just out of curiosity, what are the big... If you look at those three products, what's the delineation of your business across those three?

Zak Pines: So Formstack forms, that's how the business started. We also, interestingly have two forms products. We have a forms product that integrates with marketing cloud that we're going to talk about. We also have a native forms product installed into Salesforce CRM for managing forms natively within Salesforce CRM. So those two products are forms category is going to be the majority of the business, but, but all product areas are well- represented, it's pretty well balanced across all three categories.

Cole Fisher: Very cool. So you mentioned being stitched in these two products with Salesforce CRM and with marketing cloud. Can you guys kind of give us the two coolest solutions that you've or the coolest use cases that you've seen working with Salesforce or Salesforce marketing cloud?

Joel Houghton: That's a great question. We deal with so many different use cases, but one of my favorite ones that I've recently worked with was the Indiana Pacers. They use us throughout many different facets of their organization. The one that most people notice is sales. They actually use us for a lot of different things like grant applications, journey followups to that grant. And all of that is processed through marketing cloud, just to kind of keep that customer interaction going through multiple channels. The coolest one that we did was actually, so at the beginning of the pandemic, once basketballs started coming back for the NBA, they actually were one of the first organizations to have out a form that people could sign up to be on the giant digital screens that they had on the side of the court, in the bubble. So fans could actually apply and if they were selected, they would actually go onto that screen. And they could actually cheer along with other people that were at their home cheering on. It was pretty cool. There were a couple of them that happened like the Lakers, they had celebrities that were popping up in there. Oh, darn I can't remember who it was. Well, there's a comedian that's from Indianapolis actually popped up in one of the seats that night. It was a small use case, but it was really cool and effective and had giant engagement from everyone. I didn't even get to be able to hop in there. And I was kind of along the side of them as they were coming up with some of this.

Cole Fisher: You had an inside track to at least get in the front row. Right? I mean-

Joel Houghton: Yeah, no kidding. I wish, it would have been nice.

Cole Fisher: Perks of the job, right?

Joel Houghton: The perk is being on a podcast with you right?

Cole Fisher: There it is. Well, you got hosed. Huh? So the way the Pacers did that, they just have that on there a form on their website or this go out via email, or how that happened?

Joel Houghton: They do it in a couple of different ways. So the forms are versatile so they can have it on their website. And in fact, they have all of their order forms for the Pacers, the Fever, their G league team, the Mad Ants and Fort Wayne. They have all of those available on their website, it's embedded on their website. So it has the same feel and look as their website because we'll inherit the CSS from that site and also be mobily responsive because most people are doing this on their phones anyways. So that's one of the big things that they use it for, but they also do send these out in social media posts, contest, ticket drives, when they're selling these different packets together of," Hey, get this small packet of four games where you can get this one key game that everyone wants to go to, but also have to go see the Hornets." So there are a lot of different things that they use it for. It's pretty neat.

Bobby Tichy: And just to another question there, as they're configuring this form within your platform, are they then able to determine kind of which data source it goes to? I want to put this data to certain sales cloud or this data to marketing cloud. How does that work?

Joel Houghton: Actually, that is one of the nice things about the flexibility of Formstack. We natively have hundreds of integrations that are already set up. You don't have to be stuck with one integration to be able to use it. So if you need some information to go to CRM, have it go to CRM, if you need other bits of information to go to marketing cloud, have it go there, have it go to both. It really depends on how you want to route that information through the actual platforms.

Bobby Tichy: And I think- crosstalk Go ahead Zak.

Zak Pines: I was going to say one of our recent product releases is adding a power automate connector. That's opened up integrations with a lot of the Microsoft ecosystem, also bringing form data into Microsoft Teams, Microsoft SharePoint, et cetera, Microsoft dynamics as well. And then the other part about this that shouldn't be overlooked is when you're actually setting up a form and deploying it, you can do that without code, or maybe with a little bit of code if you want to do some special customization. So it's a way to really enable a team like the Pacers to be able to do a lot more with these programs.

Bobby Tichy: I think that's an important point. And actually what I was going to mention this, because for those people who are listening, who have experienced a Salesforce marketing cloud, you notice for sure that forms are not the easiest thing to build out and marketing cloud. And obviously we can only write it to one place if we're leveraging some of the out of the box drag and drop functionality of forms, or if we do want to create a custom form that might send a sales cloud for CRM Bison somewhere else, we've got to know HTML and CSS and really get into the code element of it. So, that's where I think to a lot of our customers have seen a big advantage of utilizing Formstack. So that way, not only can they build out these forms really quickly because a marketer can do it, they don't need an IT person or a developer, but also they can then port the data anywhere they need to for that particular campaign.

Joel Houghton: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, even if you have a complex integration, we have an open API, so you can move that information to whatever complex tool you're working with. Another one that we're being used with is with TradeStation. Now TradeStation has several different application paths that a new client needs to go through is either they're applying to work with them, or they're a current client that needs to reapply to specific programs to stuff that they're using. They actually use us through marketing cloud. They use Formstack and they use marketing cloud and they have a form throughout the entire onboarding process, but they've built to where if specific things happen, they're going to get form A or they're going to get form B, dynamically sending these forms through each step of the journey. So what that means to TradeStation, or even actually more, probably more correctly to the end- user is that they're going to have a seamless experience. They are going to easily be able to fill out the documents that they need to, because I'm not sure if you've ever applied to something like you have to download the PDF, print it out, fill out the information that you need to do, upload that document if you have a scanner and then send it back. And it's a lot of back and forth via email. So for TradeStation, it was more about security. How secure can we get information collected? And how securely can we get this information back to marketing cloud and to CRM? They were able to use a string of different Formstack forms to keep them from having to use email, to do some of these tasks better collecting PII, right? There are so many cyber criminals out there today that are trying to get your information. So, knowing that you're using a form that is encrypted at rest and in transit to get your information to where it needs to go is a big relief on, not just the organization, but every compliance team out there.

Cole Fisher: It's kind of a tricky wire to walk when you're talking about security, especially with financial institutions. So at TradeStation, their futures and brokerage and very... The PII that you don't want slipping out anywhere because that's a real big no- no. So yeah, that's always a big one with I'm sure too with healthcare companies and things like that, like HIPAA compliance and things like that, where security is a really, really big concern for a lot of companies that are using forms or trying to come up with forms themselves, or whether the populating or collecting that data.

Joel Houghton: And that's where one of our major advantages jumps in. Zak mentioned earlier that we have a native forms tool to Salesforce, and that's just not a native integration. Some people might say we are actually installed on to their Salesforce instance inheriting all of the same security settings that their Salesforce instance already have. So from a compliance standpoint, they don't have to do 15 security reviews to make sure that our product is safe enough. They already know because we're working on the same backbone infrastructure that Salesforce has out there, which is already trusted in the market as best- in- class with security.

Bobby Tichy: I was just going to say that's a big differentiator too, because it's not just something that's layered on top. And I think Joel, to your point, we hear so many different customers or I'm sorry, companies saying that they have an integration. And I say the word integration with air quotes, because it's not a true integration. It might just be," We have an API that can hit their end point." Or something like that. But with Formstack, we're actually more of an embedded integration is the way I like to think about it within Salesforce.

Zak Pines: Yeah. It's eyeopening for Salesforce user state. They end up applauding this product because we truly get comments," We've never experienced anything like it." You can directly from within your Salesforce environment drag and drop off of your Salesforce data model. You can pull in fields from related objects to really smooth out the process for how data is brought into Salesforce from forms. You can pre- fill forms, you can build digital experience forms, basically Salesforce versions of portals. And to your point, Bobby, where it really hits the road is you're not sinking data between two systems. You avoid all those headaches that we've all troubleshooting-

Bobby Tichy: Right, there's a data replication.

Zak Pines: Yeah. Troubleshooting and integration data in two places, whose fault is it? All that goes away which is a huge operational advantage for customers.

Cole Fisher: I think also from the end user standpoint, if you think about the experience where you're using pre- populated fields, where you're dynamically populating the correct actual forms for that user, things like that. Even in retail, how many times have you received some sort of like," How was your feedback? What's your product like?" And you're like," I haven't even received it yet." You haven't gotten it through the mail. And having the ability to trigger the right type of form and dynamically populated what's most relevant to me. And then also pre- populate those fields. I can't tell you how many times just going through normal everyday and this just because we're marketers and we look at this stuff, but going through everyday, field functionality where you're like," Oh, this is just a terrible experience." So in the end user experience is really great for that.

Joel Houghton: Yeah. And one thing that is roadmap for TradeStation, and we actually see this with a lot of other clients, especially in the insurance field. You've got to get so many documents signed off on. Once you've filled out these specific applications, we can actually have this set to go to through Formstack documents, assemble into the document format that it needs to be. So for example, W- 4. There are specific places that information needs to go, but you have that data filled out on a Formstack form. We can take that information, put it onto the form and then send it out to them via e- signature so they can sign it and have that full audit trail on the back end. So that pure automation that you're going to get through filling out your insurance application online, fill it out. At the end, a team reviews that information and you're sent the contract immediately through automation to sign off on it. How much quicker do you think you're going to get clients back if you're immediately sending them the documents that they need to sign? We get distracted easy. We're goldfish. So if we can get it to them right now rather than later, it's going to make a faster adoption rate.

Cole Fisher: Oh yeah, for sure. I think that that lag time is paralyzing to progress. That's a really cool idea. So speaking of roadmap, then what else are you guys really excited about for Formstack and what's kind of the next steps for the product?

Joel Houghton: Yeah. So from an innovation standpoint and what's next, we are actually looking to get a better support for grandchild and junction objects to make sure that Salesforce and admins can have a really smooth experience as they adopt industry and vertical focused data models that are becoming more and more common in Salesforce. Helping to accelerate time that marketers can do a ton of different use cases. It's not just object A, object B and then any other related object, you could actually get a lot more granular giving the ability to have more complex forms and collect more complex information upfront.

Zak Pines: Cole, when answering that question I always like to start with, well, what have we done recently and giving it a one more knot to that power automate integration. I'm looking here at Joel on our healthcare team. Well, one breakthrough with power automate, HIPAA compliant. So that's opened up a lot of HIPAA compliant integration use cases for us.

Cole Fisher: That's huge.

Zak Pines: Healthcare is our number one vertical. So that's been a great addition as of February 1st. There's a lot of just continuous iteration on these products. Be agile and iterate is one of our company's culture values. Heading up the partner team, we're doing some really cool things. We just launched our partners, Slack community. As part of that, we're doing monthly or sometimes twice a month, virtual events with our partner community. There's a lot of appetite for that right now, like engaging in without trade shows or in person events. So that's been really exciting for me and my team. And we're going to look to do a lot more with that as we move through the year.

Bobby Tichy: Awesome. Well, thank you guys again for joining the podcast. We really appreciate it and learning more about Formstack and what you guys have on the roadmap. So moving over to completely unrelated by far the most important part of the podcast. Favorite sports team. Cole, I'll let you start.

Cole Fisher: So I feel like you have to go to a specific time period. So I couldn't just be like," Oh, the Pacers." Because you can't go crosstalk

Bobby Tichy: But the other piece of this too, is not only are we talking about sectional like this fictional sports teams in here too?

Cole Fisher: Valid. So who's going to say Cobra Kai Dojo?

Bobby Tichy: I was going to say Mighty Ducks.

Cole Fisher: Oh, solid.

Zak Pines: Well, I'm going to hold another direction because you can also say fantasy sports teams. I'm a big fantasy baseball guy. So I can say my own fantasy baseball is my favorite, which is kind of the point.

Bobby Tichy: I don't know. I think that's taken a step too far. I think Zak, I think he might be too far to the fantasy baseball world if you say your favorite sports team is your own fantasy baseball team.

Zak Pines: Fair point. Well, but here's the thing though, guys. I'm from New York, the Mets, the Knicks, I mean, these are pretty hard franchises to root for.

Joel Houghton: Oh boy, I might have to-

Zak Pines: You can't blame me for a bailing on them.

Bobby Tichy: I feel like you should have caveated that first because that explains everything. I don't know how you continue rooting for the... The Knicks are having a better year this year.

Zak Pines: No, there's a shining light after 20 years of struggles.

Bobby Tichy: Only 20. Only 20.

Cole Fisher: Yeah, just a couple of decades. Come on.

Joel Houghton: I mean, it looks like they're trying to pick up all a Depot right now. We'll see how that turns out for them.

Bobby Tichy: I'll just turn this into an NBA trade rumors podcast. Let's do that.

Zak Pines: Downloads are going to spike.

Bobby Tichy: Yeah, no kidding. Just come out with some hot rumors," Looks like James Harden might be switching teams again, stay tuned."

Cole Fisher: If we make up the rumors, it could happen, right?

Bobby Tichy: Yeah, I don't see why not." LeBron and the Pacers?" Cole you never answered.

Cole Fisher: It's a tough one. I mean, clearly Cobra Kai Dojo, it's got to be up there. But I had to go like time period specific. I did love Manning- era Colts, still love the Colts, but Manning- era Colts was up there specially'06, if I had to brag about one season. But I think all time, if I had to pick one thing, I got to go 1980s, 1980 USA hockey solely for the miracle.

Bobby Tichy: And what miracle was that? Joel, how about you?

Joel Houghton: So I am from Louisville, Kentucky. You can tell because I said it like I have rocks in my mouth, so I am a Cardinals fan through and through the Alma mater. So it pains me with March Madness right now, not to see them in there, but I have been a fan since I was a little kid. Yankees fan and baseball to help offset that disappointment that happens sometimes with being a Louisville fan. I'm a Yankees fan to make up for that. But yeah, Pacers and basketball. Actually growing up, I was a Suns fan. I had lunch with Dan Majerle while was in fourth grade and I was just like," Yeah, Thunder Dan, he's the best!"

Bobby Tichy: Oh man. I'm so jealous.

Joel Houghton: He's a cool dude. He's pretty suave.

Bobby Tichy: Is he still the coach at Grand Canyon university? I don't think he is.

Joel Houghton: No. He moved on and he's already moved on, had been fired from somewhere.

Cole Fisher: Why were you having lunch with Thunder?

Bobby Tichy: Yeah.

Joel Houghton: A cousin of mine was dating him at the time.

Cole Fisher: Nice.

Zak Pines: Family connections, right?

Bobby Tichy: I got to go with from 1934 to 1941, the Minnesota Golden Gophers college football team, won five college football championships out of eight years there.

Cole Fisher: Did you just Google this?

Bobby Tichy: Oh, I absolutely just Googled it, yes.

Cole Fisher: Real trying hard, Bobby.

Bobby Tichy: Yeah, no, it's weird. As I've gotten older, I don't really pay as much attention to teams as I do players anymore. I was a big Cubs fan growing up and then when they won in 2016, it was like," Well, we, we won." So it's kind of like," All right, well, I don't really feel like I should root for them anymore." Not that I shouldn't root for them, but I can just kind of lost interest in it.

Cole Fisher: You're the only person that fell off the bandwagon at that point.

Bobby Tichy: Yeah. It was just kind of well, it was really fun because it was all about the pursuit in the struggle and all this kind of stuff. And then they won and I was like," Well, all right, well that was fun." So I had a good 29 year ride with them, I suppose, but I don't know. It actually might be Zak's fantasy baseball team. That might be my favorite team.

Zak Pines: The name of that team, Bobby is Nut Flush. And I named it when I was in a bit of a poker craze. So I named it after a famous poker hand, the nut flush, which is the highest possible flush draw.

Bobby Tichy: The nut flush. Boy, there's a lot of different ways you could take that one. Thank you guys so much for jumping on the podcast. We really appreciate it. It was great to learn more about Formstack and more about you guys too. So thanks again. We'll talk to you soon.

Cole Fisher: Thanks guys.

Zak Pines: Thank you.


This is the third episode of the Innovation Series -- where we will highlight marketing experts to learn how they are innovating in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. In this episode, hosts Bobby and Cole chat with Joel Houghton and Zak Pines from Formstack to learn how they are being innovative in Marketing Cloud and with their customers. Formstack is a workplace productivity platform that helps organizations streamline digital work through no-code online forms, documents, and signatures.