Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines recently sat down with Rohan Santora, Director of Sales Operations for The Sailor Group, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Zak and Rohan had a far-ranging conversation that touched on how The Sailor Group came to use Formstack Documents and explored Rohan’s perspective on versatile document formatting, feeding ERP and CRM data into documents, and mobile document creation. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
Background of The Sailor Group
Zak: Can you start by telling us about The Sailor Group?
Rohan: We are a Salesforce reseller partner; our product is called AgentDealer. AgentDealer is a custom version of Salesforce built for office equipment and technology dealers—companies that sell products from companies such as Xerox, Ricoh, and Canon.
Zak: What are some of the main ways that you’ve customized Salesforce for this vertical?
Rohan: Dealers have so many different lines of business and different types of product they sell, ranging from multifunctional copiers and printers to managed IT to VOIP phone systems to water coolers. Dealers get into everything you can buy or lease in the office.
We’ve consolidated the record types the data dealers care about, making it easy for them to use. A specific example is opportunities and leads are consolidated into a single deals object.
We also integrate with their typical ERP system, eAutomate by ECI. They use that for billing and accounting, service contracts, orders, and invoices. With the integration, now we can bring data such as the equipment and usage back into AgentDealer and turn it into usable data.
Zak: How did you get involved in The Sailor Group?
Rohan: I met our CEO, Ed Barfield, at one of the dealers we both worked at 12 years ago. That’s when he discovered Salesforce, and he said he was going to go create the CRM for dealers that he never had.
Ed downloaded a trial of Salesforce and said, “This thing is awesome. I can create the CRM I never had. I think I want to do this.”
Within a few months, Ed left the company, went and got certified in Salesforce, and created AgentDealer. We implemented it at our dealership after he launched the system about a year later.
Zak: So your team has a long heritage in this space?
Rohan: Yes. Ed had been in the dealer business for 35 years. I was in it for 20 years. We have several others here with 10+ years experience from that industry in our support and implementation teams, and we currently serve dealers in size from the smallest to the largest “mega” dealers.
Versatile Document Formatting
Zak: How did you first start working with Formstack?
Rohan: It must have been around two years ago. We had been a Conga partner for a while. We started looking around for a new partner after Conga made some changes to their program that impacted our model.
I first downloaded a trial of WebMerge, as it was known at the time, now Formstack Documents. I was immediately impressed by how versatile it was with the number of formats supported. It was much easier than Conga both to set up and to generate documents. And the mobile experience was a huge win for us. I was thinking, “Where’s this been? How come I haven’t seen this before?”
In hindsight, we are glad Conga made the changes they did because it’s worked out better for us with Formstack.
Zak: Versatile is a very powerful word to use. Can you tell me more about what you mean when you say Formstack Documents is versatile?
Rohan: With our dealerships, one thing they all struggle with is paperwork. Every deal, every lease, every credit approval involves paperwork. And each document is formatted a bit differently, with a very specific format like Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF. And these documents have so many different layers to them. There is hardware, software, service, bundled equipment leases. And when you build these documents, everything needs to fit. That is a real strength of your product.
Zak: So part of your service is setting up unique document templates for each of your customers?
Rohan: Yes, that’s right. The typical dealer will end up with five to ten new templates, spanning Microsoft Word, PDFs, and Excel as the three most common formats.
Zak: What’s an example of something you couldn’t do before with your previous system?
Rohan: There are a lot of bundled services. The dealers want each model and quantity listed out independently with individual rates on a row. We can do that with Formstack Documents using table loops. We can format the tables and format the loops.
I’ll get an example to you so you can see the kind of formatting I’m referring to. (Example by Rohan shared below.)
We also take advantage of SOQL queries, which opens us up to do things we couldn’t do before. There isn’t a document or use case from the dealers that we can’t support.
Feeding ERP & CRM Data into Documents
Zak: Earlier, you talked about your ERP integration. Does that factor into your document creation use cases?
Rohan: Yes, in a big way. The dealers have quarterly business reviews, and they are using data from the ERP that we feed into AgentDealer to dynamically feed into their documents. Data such as usage, trends, volume, and billing.
Formstack Documents grabs the data, groups it, and formats it into these complicated documents. The documents automatically format in a way that makes sense for the dealers.
Zak: Can you walk through a specific example of data from the ERP automatically populating into a document?
Rohan: The typical dealer is managing leases on multi-functional machines, and they are being serviced by the vendor. Those assets reside in the dealer’s ERP.
We’re going to contract this machine, and you are also paying for it on this lease. Now you have certain usage per month, and here’s your bill based on this meter read and base charges combined.
Zak: Got it. So that data from the ERP maps over to AgentDealer, where it dynamically feeds into your Formstack document templates as data-driven elements?
Rohan: Correct. All that information is going to automatically appear as part of their monthly usage and costing on a document automatically generated by Formstack Documents.
Now it’s time for your quarterly business review. That quarterly business review document needs to show what the overall usage has been for that quarter, how much service activity there was, and if fleets are low or high on maintenance activity. All of this provides visibility into how the account is being serviced. Before it was a huge manual process to pull that information into documents. Now our customers have the process fully automated.
Mobile Document Creation
Zak: What kind of reaction do your customers have to this type of document automation?
Rohan: They flip out; they love it. We’ll often demo this at the industry events we attend. We show them how they can generate leases, proposals, and contracts. When they see how easy it is to create a document, they love it.
Zak: What do they love about it?
Rohan: The idea of creating a document automatically from Salesforce that looks so good—that part alone they love.
Then when they see the mobile experience, they have to have it right now because they can be out in the field and produce an account review, or a lease document, or a proposal. Their number one goal is for their sales people to be more productive. They no longer have to spend time doing paperwork or hunting down information. When they see the mobile experience, they have to have it.
Zak: You’ll have to share those examples with me.
Rohan: Yes, will do. You can navigate to a document and customize it at the click of a button, right there on your phone.
Zak: Let’s wrap up with the lightning round. What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
Rohan: I used to like to regularly play golf, but not so much anymore. I visit the shooting range every once in a while.
Zak: What’s your favorite productivity tip?
Rohan: Productivity just makes me think of Formstack Documents. I go back to what a time savings it is for users to be able to create a document, using ERP data, at the click of a button.
Zak: What’s your favorite TV show?
Rohan: I like watching football. I’m a big Steelers fan.
Zak: What’s your go-to lunch during the workday?
Rohan: I do a Caprese salad. Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic, carrots, radishes, half an apple. That’s my lunch four days a week.
Zak: Nice! That’s the most detailed answer we’ve gotten to that question. And let’s wrap with this: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Rohan: No. It’s in a class all its own.