Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines recently sat down with Brett Martin, President of Zenatta Consulting and cohost of “The CRM Zen Show” podcast, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Zak and Brett had a far-ranging conversation that touched on the evolution of Zoho, what it’s like to produce a weekly podcast targeted at Zoho users, and ideas for data-driven documents across various types of Zoho users. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
Background on Zenatta Consulting
Zak: It seems like Zenatta is the evolution of your career. Can you share some of that backstory?
Brett: Back in 1996, we started working with technology companies and focused on building out their partner programs. We did the first channel program for Cisco, for example. Whenever we got in to work on the channel program, we found that sales process and CRM data was always a challenge.
That led us to build expertise around CRM. We started in those early days with Act! and GoldMine, then later Salesforce. Over the past three years, we’ve become 100% focused on Zoho. We’ve bet the farm on it.
Zoho has invested a lot in their product to become the operating system for business, and we are focused on helping customers to be successful with Zoho.
Zak: We work with a bunch of consulting firms that may be generalists or specialists. We see many Salesforce-focused consultants. It makes a lot of sense to me for you to have that laser focus in your business. Do you see any trends around the types of businesses that you tend to serve?
Brett: The one common thread is they are on or moving to Zoho. It runs the gamut by industry. We see everything from real estate to financial services, consulting firms, coaching businesses, and investment bankers.
From a company size standpoint, Zoho is targeted at the SMB market. So we see anything from the solo-preneur all the way up to companies with around 100 employees, typically.
Zak: Do you find these are companies turning to CRM for the first time, or is it some other dynamic around the project when you get involved?
Brett: I would say it is one-third, one-third, one-third. About one-third are bringing on CRM for the first time. About one-third have been using Zoho, but not leveraging it properly, and need some consulting to get it to where it needs to be. And about one-third are switching from another CRM system.
The underlying theme is typically trying to improve sales and marketing automation to make their sales and marketing more effective and more efficient.
The CRM Zen Show
Zak: You were early into the B2B podcast space and now produce a weekly podcast called “The CRM Zen Show” on all things Zoho. How did CRM Zen come about?
Brett: I had another podcast for a while, called “Channel Happy Hour,” with over 200 episodes. I knew the power of podcasts.
As we got into the Zoho ecosystem, we found so much was going on, it was nearly impossible to keep up with. So we centered the CRM Zen podcast on keeping up with all the latest around Zoho.
Zak: What is the format for the show?
Brett: The target audience is the 60 million Zoho users out there. Tyler Colt and I are the cohosts. We have standard segments, such as Zoho News, Things We Noticed and the Application of the Week. We’ve gotten really good feedback from Zoho employees, and we know many of them use it to keep up on the news inside their company.
Zak: That’s a huge testament to what you are doing. I’m a podcast fan myself, and I’m always curious about the behind-the-scenes process. What is that like for you to put out a new show every single week?
Brett: I spend about five hours collecting news about what’s happened in the week around Zoho. We create an outline of topics for the week and record on Friday. I edit it on Saturday, and we publish it on Monday. We also use the show notes as part of a newsletter.
Formstack & Zenatta for Data-Driven Zoho Documents
Zak: For our Formstack Documents (formerly WebMerge) product, which is our data-driven documents product, we’ve done a lot of integration around Zoho, so it makes a ton of sense for us to be working together. How did you discover Formstack?
Brett: We met at the Zoholics conference in 2019. We had adjacent booths. When I saw what you could do, it immediately struck me as a great add-on to Zoho.
One of the more difficult things to do is elegantly create documents from within Zoho. We see this need all the time in industries like insurance, healthcare, and finance. They have very specific forms that have to be filled out perfectly. Formstack Documents does this beautifully.
Zak: What challenges did you see our data-driven documents product solving?
Brett: I love it because it’s a great user experience. You want as minimal clicks as possible to create documents. Historically, the challenge with creating documents in Zoho is it takes way too many clicks, so users can’t do it fast enough.
With Formstack, that’s now one click to create the document.
Zak: I know Zoho has many, many modules. What’s the right usage of Formstack Documents inside of Zoho?
Brett: For us, you’re usually pulling CRM data to start. So you’re feeding your CRM data dynamically into documents and building a PDF from a template, and then you also integrate into multiple sign products, including Zoho Sign. One or two clicks—it’s the way it should be. Truly best in class.
Zak: What types of documents do you see needing to be created from Zoho data?
Brett: In real estate, you have your standard forms and disclosures; those can vary state to state. You have paperwork for both owners and renters, on both sides of the transaction. Proposals are another document type across many different industries.
We’re working across many paper-based industries, and now, maybe they have a PDF, but it’s not well automated. Formstack Documents can digitize that process so the creation of the document is much faster and easier, and the signature and logging of it is all electronic.
Zak: OK, Brett, we’ve come into our lightning round. We want to learn a bit more about Brett. What do you do to stay active?
Brett: I’ve been a tennis player for many years. I swam in high school and college, but post-college, I got into tennis. Yoga too.
Zak: One of our Formstack themes is helping customers to be more productive. What is your best productivity tip?
Brett: It’s all about the daily to-do list. I get all the key items on there and plow through the list no matter what.
Zak: What’s your favorite TV show?
Brett: I’m usually watching what my kids are watching. Now that “Game of Thrones” is over, one of the better shows is “The Boys” on Amazon.
Zak: Any book recommendations you want to share?
Brett: I’m a huge science fiction guy. I just did a full re-read of the entire Isaac Asimov “Robot”/”Foundation” series.
Zak: What is your go-to lunch during the workday?
Brett: Sushi. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Zak: A popular debate amongst Stackers: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Brett: No it’s not. But then again, yes it is.
Zak: Thank you, Brett. We’ll be sure to listen to “The CRM Zen Show” to keep tabs on you.