Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines sat down with Mike Bucci, President at 4Convergence, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Zak and Mike had a far-ranging conversation that covered the 4Cs of 4Convergence; Mike’s nine combined Salesforce and Formstack certifications; and Formstack as a Salesforce consulting partner for forms, document generation, and eSignature. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
The 4 Areas of 4Convergence
Zak: Can you start by describing your firm, 4Convergence?
Mike: 4Convergence focuses on driving high return on investment projects for our clients. Whether we’re starting them up new or improving a Salesforce instance, it’s all about finding ways to make a bigger impact or leveraging their existing tools more efficiently.
We work with our customers to maximize the value they are getting from the Salesforce platform, whether it be Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, or communities. And we look towards great AppExchange partners and products such as Formstack to fill in the gaps and drive more value for clients.
Zak: What size companies do you typically work with?
Mike: We’ve worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to mom-and-pop shops.
Zak: What’s in the name 4Convergence?
Mike: 4Convergence really works well because we bring expertise in four different areas.
Zak: What are the four areas?
Mike: First, it’s business expertise. I like to understand the business side, and since I have been in technology for many years, I can connect with our clients on that level. I’ve been a VP of Operations and VP of Sales, so I’ve lived the roles my customers are living. Second is analytics, which helps drive good decisions, and I have a deep background in this area. Third centers around program delivery, which is essentially getting things done. And lastly, the fourth area is Salesforce platform knowledge. We go in knowing the platform well and know how to leverage the platform to drive great results for our clients.
Zak: OK, nice. So it’s business expertise plus analytics plus program delivery plus Salesforce expertise.
Mike’s Journey to the Salesforce Community
Zak: When did you found 4Convergence?
Mike: The company has been operating for over five years now and has been a Salesforce partner for the last few years.
Zak: Did you have Salesforce experience prior to that?
Mike: I’m not your typical Salesforce consultant. I wasn’t an IT consultant who then learned Salesforce. Prior to jumping in, I was doing general business consulting. I was helping companies solve business problems, and I found several companies in a row that all said they had problems and Salesforce was the answer. And all of them had different problems.
Zak: Can you tell me about one of these use cases and the problems you were solving for?
Mike: I was responsible for leading the due diligence and initial integration work for a corporate acquisition. Part of the acquisition was bringing the acquired company onto their Salesforce platform. I had to meet with the service teams from both organizations, and we had a solid Salesforce administrator in the room. At the end of the half day meeting, we realized he was already developing and putting visual displays together for what people were looking for while we were sitting in the meeting. I spent some time learning more about Salesforce and decided I was going to turn my entire business into a Salesforce consulting business. I realized you can drive business results without needing coders or IT people; you just need people who know about systems and business operations. If you have those roles, you can make great things happen.
Zak: And fast forward to today, I know you have a bunch of Salesforce certifications.
Mike: Yes! I have six Salesforce certifications and completed them about three to four years ago. I have Admin and Advanced Admin certifications, Sales Cloud Consultant, Service Cloud, Platform App Builder, and one of the marketing certifications.
Zak: You talked about how your customers can be all over the map in terms of size. Are there any themes you’re seeing, or types of businesses or people you’re running into?
Mike: Absolutely. One of the biggest themes comes from people who know the outcomes they’re looking for. From a business perspective, they know what they’re trying to get done, and they inherently believe Salesforce has the capability to do these things. But their people don’t know how to translate those business needs into Salesforce capabilities. The first theme is bridging that business technology gap for people. To help them understand what they’re looking for, the outcomes, and how they define success. From there, we look at the best ways to deliver that and drive the results they need.
The second thing is the way in which we approach projects. We don’t take the typical IT approach of asking them to share user stories, then we go out and complete the code and ask them to review it. We go heavy on the customer engagement angle, where we sit down with customers, let them know we heard what they’re looking for, and show them the few different ways we can do the work. By showing them the options, we can help them understand the trade-offs we would have to work through within each. So it’s very much a proof-of-concept approach where we share, discuss, collaborate; and then we build from there.
Partnership with Formstack
Zak: When did you come across Formstack?
Mike: I came across Formstack early on due to the needs of one of our customers. There are customer needs that aren’t solved by Salesforce. That is the reason for the AppExchange. This specific customer was a medical company who did medical rehab for drug addicts. Their intake process started with a phone call. Then they needed to gather a ton of medical information from the patient. What they needed was the capability to send forms out that could be filled in and signed and confirmed for accuracy. They recognized how inefficient it was to do this over the phone, so they needed a digital forms solution.
Zak: And that’s when you first discovered Formstack?
Mike: Yep, due to your market reputation around your forms products, particularly in healthcare. We then found more and more customers who need solutions that go beyond forms, like document generation and eSignature. These are things that most, if not all, companies need.
Zak: That’s our strategy that’s developed over the last year with Formstack Documents and Formstack Sign. We want to be the single source partner and provider to Salesforce consulting firms and their customers for use cases around Salesforce for data collection, document generation, and eSignature.
Mike: What I really like about it is the customer focus that your strategy has. The idea that you can start off with one of these very common needs and branch over to another one. The more seamlessly you can do that for customers, the more I think you’ll win in the marketplace.
Zak: Are there other areas you see opportunity for digitizing forms, document generation, and eSignature?
Mike: The need for those exists in every vertical where there’s pressure to grow your revenue or reduce your costs. At the core of it, what those tools are doing is driving efficiencies inside of your organization and driving better experiences for your customers—whether it’s making sure information is coming in correctly so there aren’t any mistakes, or being efficient with your processes, or being more customer-centric by making signatures easy. All of these things apply in every vertical that’s out there.
Mike: We believe in the product. We believe it’s a great answer for clients.
We have trained qualified certified personnel who are experienced in delivering on capabilities like eSignature, document generation, and forms. We also offer fixed-priced packages for customers so they know what they’re going to be paying at the end to quickly get solutions that meet their needs. That’s what those offerings on our website are all about.
They’re great for companies looking to drive improved processes around Salesforce, as well as for Formstack customers who are looking to expand their usage of the products across new lines of business or groups of users and need help with templates, business process, and implementation.
Zak: You were recently certified on our Salesforce app and Documents and Sign products, right?
Mike: Yes, I love the Formstack products, and I’m certified on all of them! Six Salesforce certifications and three Formstack certifications!
Zak: What was the process like?
Mike: I thought it was very reasonable in terms of looking for people to get up to speed and then taking a realistic scenario where you’re walking through with the Formstack team to show you know what you’re doing. It was a very practical certification process. We ended up with real world examples we can share with customers to help introduce them to our joint capabilities.
Zak: What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
Mike: I have two teenage children, so my personal interests and hobbies are trying to maintain my sanity raising two teenage children. They’re wonderful kids! My daughter just got her license. My son had a soccer banquet just last night. He’s the captain of the middle school team, and they won the championship for their division. So I spend a ton of time doing things with my kids. Beyond that, I love getting outside—hiking, biking, canoeing. I’m also in the process of hanging up about 40,000 lights outside of my house to be officially a part of Richmond’s tacky light tour. So that’s one of the things I’m working on right now.
Zak: Do you have a productivity tip you can share?
Mike: Make a list and make sure you’re crossing things off the list. As you’re working through the day, we can all get bogged down and distracted. I focus on always trying to knock items off that list. Some days are more successful than others. The goal is to stay focused and have that list and to prioritize and work on the most important stuff.
Zak: Do you have a favorite TV show?
Mike: I was a big fan of the “Game of Thrones” series when that was happening.
Zak: What’s your go-to lunch during the work day?
Mike: Typically, anything I can eat between meetings and getting work done.
Zak: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Mike: It is meat surrounded by bread, so I’m going with yes.