Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines recently interviewed Sean Ouimette, Salesforce Practice Leader of MasterSolve, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Their conversation covered a wide range of topics, including growing the Salesforce practice at MasterSolve, trends and opportunities in resident experience for property management firms, and partnering with Formstack. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
Growing the Salesforce Practice at MasterSolve
Zak: Can you start by telling us about MasterSolve?
Sean: MasterSolve is a Salesforce Ridge partner, focused on manufacturing, financial services, and property management. We work with customers who have anywhere from twenty users to several hundred users on the platform. We also partner with Formstack, Copado, and Zendesk.
Zak: You are the Salesforce practice lead—what does that entail?
Sean: I am in charge of all Salesforce enablement, which includes providing Salesforce product expertise and industry-specific knowledge as it relates to Salesforce products. Plus, I build Salesforce roadmaps for our clients in collaboration with their team members.
Zak: I’m curious about your career story. Can you walk us through it as far back as you’d like to start?
Sean: I started off my career as a business development representative at Oracle, where I began to learn about the CRM industry. I was then offered a role as a Community Cloud Success Specialist at Salesforce, where I was able to deepen my Salesforce expertise. After my time at Salesforce, I moved into the partner ecosystem, where I would work for Brite Systems—in which I was in charge of setting up a Salesforce center of excellence for the public sector focused on urban development.
And now, I am working at MasterSolve as the Salesforce Practice Lead, where my biggest initiative is growing the Salesforce practice.
Zak: How are you approaching building a high-growth Salesforce practice at MasterSolve?
Sean: We’re focused on specific industries. This includes understanding the trends, pain points, and Salesforce use cases for our target industries: property management, manufacturing, high-tech & security software, financial services, construction, and transportation & logistics. We delve into specific use cases like automating your property management workflows; streamlining your mortgage application process; and tying in your supplier and distributor channels.
We have real life demos and examples of what customers are doing when implementing a solution in each of those industries. We have the experience and intelligence to show customers how a solution will work for them and share the pros and cons of vertical clouds and other related applications.
Zak: That’s interesting because it aligns so well to how Formstack engages our consulting partners. We focus our efforts on enablement-first—sharing relevant use cases and demos based on target verticals.
Focus on Resident Experience in Property Management
Zak: As you build the Salesforce practice at MasterSolve, who do you consider your ideal customer?
Sean: It’s a company who is looking at all of their systems and thinking, “We have too many systems. We need to remove silos and make our systems more interconnected. We need our financial data to co-mingle with our customer engagement data, and we need more robust analytics. We’re tired of all these different logins for all these different systems. We need one place to interface with all of the information—invoices, bids, resident information, applicant engagement.”
In summary, they have recognized their processes are not as efficient as they need to be, and they are looking for help refining those processes and automating them with technology like Salesforce or Formstack.
Zak: Who are your typical internal champions?
Sean: If we’re talking property management, we want to engage with the SVP or VP of Resident Experience. Essentially, this is the person responsible for taking care of residents by ensuring they receive the services they have been promised, gathering and acting on resident feedback in real time, and engaging with their residents through multiple channels. This is the person that is accountable for residents continuing to stay at a complex year after year.
Zak: That’s the first vertical Formstack and MasterSolve are focused on very deeply together—property management. It’s a vertical you and MasterSolve have a lot of experience in. What are you seeing as overall industry trends right now?
Sean: There’s a shift to more rent-based living, and there’s more and more competition in that space. Personalization is becoming an important differentiator.
Zak: How does that translate to the types of use cases you were just referring to?
Sean: As a potential resident, the more automated your checklists and pre-approval items are, the better your renting experience will be.
The potential resident expects to be able to supply data through digital forms and view the status of their application through an online portal. A leasing agent can differentiate themselves by making a note of something that the potential resident is interested in during the tour and tailoring their follow-up materials accordingly after the tour. The more personalized, the more effective.
Zak: So there’s the resident experience, and then there’s also the efficiencies a property management organization will get from eliminating paper-based processes and building processes around a unified database or CRM.
Sean: Yes, there are significant operational efficiencies on both sides of the equation. From the property management organization’s side, it makes the renting process more transparent and saves valuable time. On the resident side, it makes the entire application and rental process less stressful.
Zak: As you’re working with these firms, what is the bigger stimulus driving change—the opportunity to improve resident experience or creating operational efficiencies?
Sean: That’s a tough one, but I think it’s more so the operational efficiencies driving change. By making the leasing agent more effective, you are saving the organization money, and you are creating positive experiences for residents.
Zak: What is the typical suite of solutions you recommend for property management companies trying to achieve what you are describing?
Sean: For Salesforce, it’s Sales Cloud, Digital Experience Cloud, and Service Cloud. For marketing automation, it’s either Marketing Cloud or Pardot with Salesforce Engage. And Formstack for Salesforce for application and requests forms, document automation, and digital signature.
Partnering with Formstack
Zak: That’s a good transition to talk about how we started working together. Do you recall when you first heard about Formstack?
Sean: I first heard about you when your team reached out to us at my previous company. When I moved over to MasterSolve, I was looking for a small set of partners who are investing in both the Salesforce ecosystem and their consulting partnerships—these are two areas where Formstack really stands out. We were looking to make strategic partnerships in the Salesforce ecosystem with key products that fit comfortably within the Salesforce stack, and we felt that Formstack achieved exactly that
Zak: What were some of the important criteria for you in partnering with Formstack?
Sean: From a use case standpoint, we know most or all of our customers will require document generation with Salesforce. To find out that you provided that plus additional use cases around data collection and digital signatures became a differentiator. From an engagement standpoint, we look for partners who further our ability to address our clients’ vertical-specific pain points.
Zak: We’re doing that together, with an initial focus on property management and other verticals to come.
Sean: It’s a win for our Salesforce customers. Formstack helps organizations continually collect data so their Salesforce org can truly be an operating platform and single source of truth.
Plus, Formstack helps customers do more with Salesforce by continually building on the profile of a customer through additional data collection touch points, automating personalized document generation, capturing digital signatures, and more.
Zak: Let’s end with the lightning round. What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
Sean: My hobbies include running marathons and hiking. I’ll be running the Honolulu Marathon in December and Baltimore in October.
Zak: Do you have a favorite productivity tip?
Sean: I like to work in short sprints. I like to pick times of day where I know I will be most productive and align my calendar around that. I communicate that to my team so they know when I’m operating at my peak. For me, that’s typically 9am - 1pm.
Zak: What’s your favorite TV show, past or present?
Sean: Breaking Bad is a show that I can always go back to. I would have said Game of Thrones, but the last two seasons threw that off.
Zak: What’s your go-to lunch during the workday?
Sean: At the Salesforce Portland office, I was known to eat a big thing of meat for lunch—a steak or pork chop.
Zak: You very well may be a subject matter expert then for my last question, which is—is a hot dog a sandwich?
Sean: No, a hot dog is not a sandwich. Maybe it really is, but I just don’t look at it that way.