TechBytes with Ashley Walsh, VP, Marketing, Formstack

Ashley Walsh

Ashley Walsh
VP of Marketing, Formstack

Smart forms have existed for more than 12 years and people are still using paper forms for much of their meaningful data college. We spoke to Ashley Walsh, VP, Marketing, Formstack, to understand the extent to which AI/ML help deliver customized forms for online engagement.

What’s the biggest attraction for you at Dreamforce 2018?

Obviously, Metallica. Just kidding. We’re especially interested in getting feedback from customers, partners and media who are boots on the ground. Real-time feedback on pain points or best practices is always beneficial.

Additionally, Marc Benioff always makes a big splash in his keynotes. And, since we’ve been really focused on automation this year, we’re looking forward to learning more at the “Automate a Business Process with Point and Click Tools” to see if we can continue to hone our current offerings.

Who are you keen to meet and huddle at the event? Which sections are you most excited about attending?

I’m most looking forward to connecting with our partners and customers across the Salesforce ecosystem. Dreamforce creates a great opportunity to meet up with so many people in person all in one place. We’re co-hosting parties with WebMerge and WalkMe as a way to connect with key partners and customers outside of the booth.

I am very interested in the AppExchange keynote and any sessions about the Einstein Platform, especially their newly announced voice capabilities. Using AI to transcribe voice-to-text is a very practical application of AI and ML technology.

Additionally, I’m excited to see our very own Emily Douglas, Sales Operations Team Lead, present on using the Salesforce Process Builder to make prospecting more efficient and to see our Solutions Engineer, Francis Pereira, rock the SMB demo jam competition.

How do Salesforce trends and technology impact your business?

As a provider and developer of a native AppExchange application, our business is greatly influenced by Salesforce trends such as the rise of Health Cloud and Community Cloud. We’re dedicated to offering a hassle-free way for Salesforce users to collect and manage their data, so we’re continually watching trends to help improve our app and offer a complete service to customers. One such improvement we made earlier this year is the release of Community Forms that can streamline data processes in Salesforce communities.

How do you plan to extend the benefits of Dreamforce to your employees, customers and technology partners?

This year, we are partnering with WebMerge and HelloSign (other tools we integrate with) to donate $5 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every demo shown at our booths during Dreamforce. Make-A-Wish Foundation is a Formstack customer, so we are very excited to leverage Dreamforce to give back to a non-profit customer.

Besides, Dreamforce is an opportunity to interface with real-world Salesforce users to better understand their business problems, use cases, opportunities for improvement and best practices across industries. Those interactions provide valuable information that those of us attending can share with the rest of our team to continue improving our app for customers.

With 6,000-plus Martech companies to choose from, how should new businesses leverage customer review platforms to make better, unbiased decisions while buying enterprise software?

Software review platforms such as G2 Crowd and Capterra and even the Salesforce Appexchange are great sources for software buyers to see real-world feedback from existing users, and we are very proud of the strong scores we have on each platform.

However, these platforms can make an apples-to-apples comparison difficult. That’s why we offer honest, transparent competitor comparisons (see how we stack up against 123FormBuilder and FormAssembly).

To what extent AI/Machine learning help deliver customized forms for online engagement? How do you leverage these technologies at Formstack?

We see some cool opportunities for AI-driven lead gen and customer service forms, but the reality is that smart forms have existed for more than 12 years and people are still using paper forms for much of their meaningful data collection. While AI and ML are hot topics, as with any new technology, they are still not being widely adopted or used in everyday business processes. At Formstack, we’re focused on helping businesses improve cumbersome processes, either by moving them online or cutting back on manual steps along the way.

What are intelligent forms and how do they help grow sales?

For us, that’s a broad term that incorporates a lot of things. Many companies offer forms with conditional and rules-based logic such as if/then rules that will automatically adapt to inputs. For instance, if a website checks a box expressing they would not like to receive a phone call from a sales rep, the phone number input field will disappear. We consider that table stakes and believe a truly smart form in 2018 must do much more than that.

Our forms connect to more than 40 other software applications, allowing users to kick off thousands of different process such as lead to CRM, automated email drips and payment processing.

We also offer enhanced marketing attribution tools such as UTM Tracking, a Google Analytics plugin and the ability to prefill forms with data from social media accounts.

Forms with intelligent autofill capabilities can increase conversion rates by as much as 189%.

Lastly, we offer sophisticated workflow automation capabilities, allowing users to kick off multi-step processes and route forms around an organization. This is a game changer for businesses who need multiple levels of approval to complete a process.

Thanks for chatting with us, Ashley.

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