MarTech Interview with Oscar Macia, CEO and Co-Founder, ForceManager
Feb 27, 2019
February 27, 2019
“One of the issues plaguing traditional CRMs is their low user adoption rates by field sales reps, with a knock-on effect that managers have little valuable data to work with.”
Tell us about your role and journey into technology. How did you start ForceManager? My background is in sales, so the journey to entrepreneurship comes from my own journey and difficulties in the field of managing sales reps and striving to meet sales targets. I realized that my sales reps weren’t reporting relevant data and that consequently, we weren’t receiving the right insights. There were few tools available at the time (and apps were fairly new to everyone!) and in most of the cases the few tools that were available were cumbersome, slow and difficult to navigate, there’s no way I’d have been using them either! That’s when the light bulb moment hit; now I can’t be the only one with these issues, can I? A little research and a few questions to the right people confirmed my suspicions. There was a huge issue here that nobody was doing anything about it. It was at this moment that ForceManager was born. How is Mobile CRM industry different from what it was two years ago? CRM systems have changed a lot from a more “product-centric” vision to a “user-centric” product. After decades of evolution, we have taken a leap and have gone from those archaic and complex CRMs where it is tedious to record data, to “user-centric” systems that communicate with the agent, report automatically on behalf of the sales representative and go ahead with their needs to act as their assistant. Furthermore, we can still expect much more in the future! ForceManager is the best example of this. With the application of Mobile Technology and AI , our CRM has become the intelligent personal assistant that serves as support to perform commercial tasks in a more efficient and effective way: it registers, manages and automates the information and proactively offers information of value when visiting clients. What is the current state of Field Sales Assistant Platforms? How does ForceManager deliver on its ROI promises? ForceManager noticed and understood that CRMs lack many essential things, mainly mobility and ease of use. This weak point in the sales business is still there, and we strongly believe that our product can help here — it’s the first mobile CRM, which is modern and multiplatform. To date, ForceManager, in partnership with IBM Watson , has introduced Artificial Intelligence to handle the field sales groups, but this is only the beginning. The future will see how we intend to merge some other IBM Watson features into ForceManager to optimize and update the business procedure to be more agile and intuitive. To make sure each client gets and uses the client’s information to prescribe them the product that inspires them most, we apply personalization to the content . In addition, the smart personal sales assistant researches possible opportunities for each client to create ad hoc guidelines for them, which we know helps close deals faster. Could you elaborate on ForceManager’s integrations with major CRM platforms including Salesforce and HubSpot? At ForceManager, we try to learn from our client’s needs to innovate and develop the most complete personal sales assistant for field teams. In this sense, we have learned that centralizing and simplifying sales processes makes a business efficient. It saves time, cuts cost and boosts bottom-line revenue. That is why we look to collaborate with other platforms that could help us to meet our client’s requirements. In this sense, our smart personal sales assistant can work both as a stand-alone product or as integrated into another platform and Salesforce is a good example of it. We can plug-in to CRMs so we offer fields agents a mobile tool that can be completely adaptable to their needs. We also work with Zapier , allowing you to instantly connect ForceManager with over 1,000 apps to automate your work and find productivity super powers. Through the software integration service Zapier and our API, we make sure all the business tools are seamlessly connected at a touch of a button; email, invoicing tools, e-commerce , surveys, customer service management integration, social media — you name it! Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use? We have been using HubSpot for a long time, but in order to align our marketing and sales departments, we have decided to migrate to Salesforce Pardot . We also use MailChimp and PersistIQ . What are the biggest challenges in the unification of Sales Reporting and Analytics Data from CRM platforms? How does ForceManager deliver on these fronts? From our experience, one of the biggest challenges has always been to make sales representatives register the data into the platform: most of the platforms don’t allow for efficient reportings and, therefore, sales representatives have to spend their afternoons reporting their visits, which many think to be a waste of their time. As a consequence, we found that, often, data is not correctly saved and, therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to develop accurate analysis to improve the sales strategy of a company. In this sense, our aim was that sales representatives could report their activity accurately and fast, so their directors can also overview the activity and achievements of their field teams. This will minimize the time spent by field sales reps on routine or administrative tasks, by 20%. This maximizes their productivity and, at the same time, allows sales representatives to have more personal time for themselves. One of the issues plaguing traditional CRMs is their low user adoption rates by field sales reps, with a knock-on effect that managers have little valuable data to work with. What ForceManager offers is a tool with 80% daily activity rates thanks to its usability. Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign from your experience? We are a mobile app and mobile is also our natural environment and we specifically offer a B2B service. With this in mind, rather than one single campaign, we focus on developing a whole strategy that enables us to contact our two main target audiences: sales directors and field sales agents. If, in addition, we look to some of the biggest sectors, such as insurance, medical device or construction, we find that we mostly focus on LinkedIn and also campaigns coming from the Apple store. What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Sales and Marketing Operations for 2018-2020? The main opportunity for the sector in the near future is the introduction of AI technology in CRMs. For instance, we launched Cognitive, our AI system at the beginning of 2018 and we have seen an extremely good and quick adoption among our clients. Thanks to our intelligent assistant sales marketers, we can now check information, record interactions and simply report in a conversational manner with the system. Considering that in some countries such as the US, a sales representative spends as much as two hours and 45 minutes on the road between visits, providing a tool that allows them to report, retrieve key information for their next visit or establish tasks in their agenda, can really make a dramatic change in their day to day work. What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now? Of course, we follow the SaaS and AI industry. We’re also keen to keep up with other leaders in the CRM industry to see how they are using technology to transform sales efficiency. One Sales Enablement company that we admire and like to watch is Showpad . How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader? It might be difficult for someone who has been working with pen and paper for decades to start using a new digital system. For this reason, its key to guide them carefully through a gradual implementation of new technologies to learn and embrace the tangible benefits it brings. It’s imperative to embrace technology! We have to help them to understand that AI is here to assist us, not to take their jobs away. In this sense, the most important thing to do is to educate employees about the benefits that AI will bring and furthermore to give them the training to update their skills, familiarize themselves with this new technology and get the most out of it. In order to achieve this, we have to help employees overcome their fears by making AI as user-friendly and consumer-centric as possible. AI must be designed from the point of view of the end user, so they don’t believe an engineering degree is required to use it or perceive it as a dangerous “Terminator” technology. Our biggest obstacle is fear of the unknown. How do you inspire your people to work with technology? The average age at ForceManager is 32, so very millennial. I don’t have to do much, we are a tech company by nature. One word that best describes how you work. Focused.