As a leader in SaaS, Sanir knows a thing or two about using technology to streamline business and improve processes. For more than 10 years, he’s relied on Formstack to help him easily manage every step of the membership lifecycle, as well as the day-to-day runnings of the Cloud Software Association.
When COVID-19 hit, Formstack allowed Sunir to quickly gather the data he needed to manage the 10th year of the Association’s conference, SaaS Connect. It was crucial that Sunir make quick, informed decisions on how to run this event in the face of a pandemic. Formstack provided Sunir the tools he needed to survey members and collect data, then easily process and sort that data in a way that made sense for his conference planning team.
Putting together a trade association, it's now 3,600 people. We have run a conference for 10 years now, SaaS Connect. We have a vibrant community of 2,000 Slack members. There's a lot going on, and there really aren't that many of us. Most of us are executives. We're volunteering our time. Formstack is a critical piece of our infrastructure.
Tell us about yourself!
I am Sunir Shah. I'm the president of the Cloud Software Association and CEO of AppBind. Today, we're talking with the Cloud Software Association. That's the network of now 3,600 SaaS partnership professionals.
What were the challenges before using Formstack?
We needed a solution that allowed us to manage all our members as we were growing quickly. And Formstack was the-- I love all members equally, but it was the form builder that made the most sense at the time because it was the easiest to use.
Did you have any doubts about starting with Formstack?
It was like, which products fit into our workflow the best and had the most flexibility there? And of all the products at the time, it was Formstack. And to this day, it's not like we haven't looked at others. Formstack still remains pretty much in line with that entire focus, fitting itself into the way people work so you can get more things done.
How have you reimagined work using Formstack?
So when you're doing email-based communication, you want to use forms that work. And what I found that was really important with Formstack-- and this is why I haven't yet moved to any other products-- is that we could take the form and embed it in our newsletter in a way that our members can respond to the form from within the newsletter email. And that is critical because the conversion rate is high. It's easy for people to do and allows us to get really quick rapid responses from our members.
What outcomes has Formstack helped you achieve?
During COVID, during the pandemic, we had our conference coming up, and I had to very quickly make a decision about what to do with this. I didn't have time to have the dribble in responses, five a day, 10 a day. I needed a lot of responses very quickly. Formstack allowed us to take the form, the first question on the form, are you willing to travel? Are you not willing to travel? And make that first question a bunch of blue links in our newsletter that the audience could just click or tap on their phone. And we got the answers very, very quickly, and it let us make a decision in hours, not days.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become “practically genius”?
Fixing processes is a very old problem. Humans have been doing this for thousands of years. Cloud software has made it a bit different. So the thing that's the same-- and I would recommend you do to everybody-- is simply write down every little, tiny, ridiculous step along the way. And once you do that, write it as if you were trying to outsource your job to somebody else and give it to somebody else because even you in the future is somebody else, you'll never remember. But it does give you the opportunity to hire someone else. And when you do that, you start looking at parts of your process that are silly that you can find more software for to solve. And the nice thing about the Internet, there's always more software that can solve another problem.
To manage services, it means you need to manage technology. And to manage technology, you need to manage subscriptions. And this is how I ended up with AppBind. This is what's happening. 2021, it's a year after the pandemic. It's digital transformation. It's about bringing all these processes and very, very rapidly focusing and accelerating how you can move processes into the no-code digital process automation. So write it down. Look for software. Find a way to bring it in under management, give yourself more capacity and capability. There's a tool to solve every problem.
What challenge are you planning on tackling next?
Our challenges this year are to bring more people into the stack, give them more tools and capabilities, see how many more processes we can automate. And shift to 2021, we're also still going to be virtual, how much more can we do?