In the latest episode of Marketing B2B Tech, we interview Terri Delfino, Chief Marketing Officer at FormAssembly, an online form builder.

Terri discusses what makes FormAssembly stand out amongst its competitors and how marketers can integrate forms into their marketing automation and CRM systems like Salesforce.

Terri talks about the importance of branding forms, and how features like pre-fills give customers a better experience. She also shares details around the need to be compliant with legislation, such as GDPR, is driving more people to tools like FormAssembly, where it is harder to make a mistake.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Interview with Terri Delfino – FormAssembly

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Terri Delfino

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing B2B Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in B2B marketing today.

Welcome to B2B marketing technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’m joined by Terri Delfino. Terri is the CMO of Form Assembly. Welcome to the podcast, Terri. Thanks, Mike. Thanks for having me. Thanks. It’s great to have you on. I think, you know, what we always like to do first off in the podcast is, is find out how you got to where you are today. So how did you build a career that led to becoming the CMO Form Assembly?

Terri: Well, I’d love to say I had a masterplan that started when I was in elementary school, but I’d be lying. I actually started my career in finance. And I thought that would be my career path. And I found myself working in finance at a high tech PR and advertising agency. And they came to me one day, and they said, you have a little too much personality for all this finance stuff. No offence to finance people, I love you. And they moved me into account service, and I never looked back. So I have worked for agencies, consultancies, nonprofits, public companies, startups, mature companies. But I’ve always, I’ve always been in high tech since that time, and I’ve always been in marketing.

Mike: That’s awesome. And I love people who’ve got a background in numbers, I used to be an engineer. And I keep saying it’s like, having good background numbers is the best thing you can do for going into marketing, particularly now with digital and all the data.

Terri: Yeah, being able to read a balance sheet and an income statement comes in handy.

Mike: Yeah, I was gonna say, I guess you’re, you’re always on budget with your campaigns I?

Terri: Well, if I’m not I know how to hide it. Let’s put it that way.

Mike: Awesome. So I mean, you’ve joined a company called Form Assembly? I mean, there’s an obvious question here is, did the world need another company offering online forms?

Terri: Well, I don’t look at it as another form company, I look at it as having the right form solution. There are a lot of form solutions that come in, within packages, things like Marketo, and your other CRM solutions will have built in forms. But I’ve never met a marketing person that didn’t complain about the form builder in their CRM or something like that. So what we like to do is we offer a no code, easy way to collect information. And then we have built into that ways to make that information. actionable, right, you can share it, you have it in a structured format, you can do more with it than simply collect collected. And when you think about the fact that most of us are either going through a digital transformation or have gone through a digital transformation, collecting information isn’t just for the marketing organisation anymore. Anybody in your organisation that is collecting data, is doing it probably in some type of digital form, whether it’s, you know, onboarding forms for insurance, or you know, how to get a parking pass, or collecting leads off a website.

Mike: That’s interesting. I mean, you talk about data, and I guess being European, one of the big things we have in Europe is is GDPR is one of the things driving better form tools and need to be compliant with legislation is is that something people are looking for from suppliers like Form Assembly?

Terri: Absolutely. And we pride ourselves on our security functionality, not only do we have encryption, and we have physical methods within the product, we have HIPAA compliance, GDPR, GLBA, sock two, all of those things to ensure that we are treating your data, when we are being stewards of it in the in the best possible way with regards to security, compliance, and privacy and data stewardship is actually in our mission. And it is one of our tenants, we believe, and this is something we can get into more is that when someone shares their data with you, they’re not transferring ownership of it to you, they’re loaning it to you. And it’s incumbent upon the organisation, whether it’s a not for profit, whether it’s a for profit organisation, to be a good steward of that data.

Mike: And so can you expand a little bit on how you make sure that happens? You’ve talked about security, but you also making it easy, for example, to gain consent for GDPR?

Terri: Absolutely, so we haven’t built into the product so that the things that you have to know about the things you have to be aware of those things are standard in their rules in the product. So you it makes it harder to make a mistake.

Mike: Oh, that sounds great. Harder to make a mistake. Sounds like a very underrated feature there.

I’m interested, you know, so obviously, people are using Form Assembly to gather data. I mean, presumably, typically, what they want to do is then put that data into some other system. Can you talk a little bit about integration and what you do to enable Form Assembly to work with other systems, whether it’s marketing automation or anything else?

Terri: Sure, sure. We have over 30 off the shelf connectors as well as an API for building specific ones. And probably the thing we’re best known for is our Salesforce integration we have, I will say, I’m biassed, but we have the best Salesforce integration. And we have over 305 star reviews in the AppExchange. to back us up on that. So, again, that is a part of, of why would you need, you know, a dedicated data collection platform or form building solution. And that is because getting the data is only half of it, and you want to get it into the systems you use most and make it actionable.

Mike: I think that’s really interesting. I mean, Salesforce, they don’t Okay, as a business, you know, they’re pretty successful. A lot, right? Like their chances. Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately, the forms, you know, I totally agree are not the most fun part of the system. So how have you managed to integrate to make that so seamless and make people so happy with the integration?

Terri: We started this business in 2005. We’ve been at it for a very long time, we have Salesforce experts in house, we understand the Salesforce environment, and it is our business, it is the it is the one thing we do so we dedicate ourselves to making that as simple and seamless as possible.

Mike: That’s really interesting, because I see with some, you know, marketing technology vendors, you know, it’s like, we built an integration with Dun, it sounds like you’re doing a lot to continually optimise and improve that. And certainly, you know, you’ve built this reputation around Salesforce. So I guess that’s a key part of your business.

Terri: It is it is continuous learning. And continuous improvement is not just, you know, it is something we do throughout the organisation. It’s something we do in our marketing organisation. And, you know, our product, and our engineering teams adhere to it as well.

Mike: Cool. So, I mean, presumably, you’re using a very wide range of different applications, do you want to touch on a couple of areas where people liked to use Form Assembly and why they feel that that Form Assembly is so much better than using Salesforce forms or whatever other system, they’ve got their built in system?

Terri: Sure, well, some of the ways you know, we use it right. So we use it every day in our organisation throughout internally and externally. Externally, we use it for things like Event registrations, contact forms, all of the forms on our website or in Form Assembly, downloading content waivers, e sign double forms, you know, things that require signatures, legal documents and things like that. Internally, we use it for all of our marketing requests, we use it for event planning, onboarding, and training, just collecting things like travel information to build travel profiles. And then of course, internally and externally, it’s things like feedback, forms, quizzes and surveys, meeting planning, so So it also, not only is it easy to use, right, you can get up and running, you don’t have to get it involved, right, you can build forms and start, no code, just get going. The joke is easy as a caveman can do it. For me, it’s easy as a CMO can do it, if I can do it, trust me, anybody can do it. So not only does it make things easier to use, it also helps, you know, eliminate or reduce the reliance on other tools, you know, you don’t need things like an event planning tool or a survey tool, or you can do some data analysis and get feedback on your forms, without bringing it into a spreadsheet tool or something like that. So it helps reduce kind of that, that martec footprint, which as we know grows almost on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like it just grows by itself.

Mike: No, absolutely. I’m intrigued. You mentioned about gathering feedback and things like that in terms of internal uses. I think as marketers, we’re often you know, really focused on how do we get customer data, but I’m really interested in do you have some examples about how you’ve got data internally, that’s really helped you improve projects or, or create campaigns that perhaps wouldn’t have been so successful without involving some sort of formal feedback or data input mechanism?

Terri: It’s an interesting question.You know, so we’re involved in a product launch right now. And when this product launch is over, not only are we using our form in our product launch, we will send a survey out to all of our internal, all of our internal teams, and how was that launch experience for you? Did the sales team have everything they need? Was Customer Success prepared? Did product feel that product marketing? Did it share the work, right? Just to get that feedback internally? We use it we use it all the time.

Mike: That’s awesome. Because I think a lot of marketing campaigns that run people look at results and move on, there’s not necessarily a lot of an analysis about how well the campaign that was executed, whether there could be improvements. So it feels to me like making that data collection easier. is one of those key obstacles you’ve got to overcome in order to be able to collect that data. I mean, is that your experience?

Terri: Yes. And there’s there’s ways so not only does the data about the campaign help, but we help make your forms more successful. Right. So we have improve your odds of good data collection. So not only do we have rules in to help you design better forms, but we make it easy with things like dynamic picklist, and conditional fields and payment processing and pre fills so that your user is having a better experience, right? How often do you get to a form? And you’re like, hey, know this information about me? Why do I have to fill it in again? Or I just filled this out on the previous screen? Why do I have to do it? Again, they know who I am with pre fills and things like that. You don’t have to refill information with conditional fields and dynamic picklist and things like that you can select your choice, or based on your answer, more areas of the form will filled up. And if you don’t answer the question in a way that makes that form, expand, you don’t have to deal with it, you don’t see this long, daunting form. So our users find that not only do their their or their customers happier, their employees are happier, because it’s easier to build. And it’s a better experience. Plus, we provide data about the form, right? How many form completions did you have? How many times was it abandoned? How long did it take people to fill out your forms? So that again, you can get to that continuous improvement? Because we all know, if you don’t, if you don’t give a good user experience, and you don’t capture people, and you don’t keep them moving? You’re gonna lose them?

Mike: No, I mean, I love that I’m just intrigued with, you know, you’re saying about building rules and functionality to make it harder to make mistakes? What are the typical mistakes you see people making when they build forms? And what have you done in Form Assembly to try and prevent that happening for your customers?

Terri: Well, some of the things that that I just mentioned are sort of how we help from a structural building the form point of view, but in general, you know, thinking about the user experience, I say that at least five times a day, you know, and how would this this work for a user? And what would a user think if they were doing this, right? So just we all fill out forms all the time, right? If you shop online, as much as I do, you know, a lot about forms. So you know, how would you feel if you had to fill out this form? Try it for yourself, see how that goes? What information do you absolutely need? What information? Can you pre filled? You already know? what information you know, is are you going for nice to have? And maybe that’s a progressive profiling thing. And you don’t need that right now. Do they know who they’re talking about? Have you branded the form is it customised? Again, and it’s also considering security and compliance so that you are being a good steward steward of that data from the time it comes into your possession?

Mike: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I love that kind of branding. I think that’s something that’s often forgotten with forms, because typically, most form builders, it’s really hard to do. But I think it’s quite important, you know, people don’t like going from, you know, maybe a really glitzy marketing page into a form that is just not branded. So I love that comment. That’s great.

Terri: Yeah, you can launch our forms, right, within a webpage? That’s really cool. I’m interested about where Form Assembly really shines is is there a particular either application or feature that you find people keep coming back to and go? Just absolutely love it? Because it does this? That’s a good question. You know, as I said, I’m sort of new with the company. And I haven’t really spent as much time with our customers as I’d like, I do know that we’re really strong in higher ed, in financial services, in health care. And that is one part because of our data security and our integrity. And also because of our ease of use and friendly approach.

Mike: I mean, that data security thing, I think, is really interesting, more and more. And we should have been considering this for many years. But I think more and more people are getting more focused on being fully compliant with regulations. Whereas perhaps people have been a bit sort of loosey goosey in the past. There are a lot of driving factors there.

Terri: And you know, I remind my team about all of the all of them on a regular basis. We all know GDPR, and all of those things, and there’s carrot and stick, right. And that’s definitely the big stick, those penalties are increasing, and they’re getting more serious and different regions are developing their own requirements. So it’s time to take notice. And as we all know, the threat landscape increases every day, right? Every time the good guys find a way to block the bad guys, the bad guys find a new way in so you’ve constantly got to be up to speed and up to date on security practices. And you have to work with vendors who are too. But there are there are other things more and more people are voting with their data and voting with who they trust. And they don’t want to work with companies that aren’t being good stewards of their data. And we see this specifically, especially in millennials, they also want to do business with companies who do good, right? It pays to do good it pays to have good practices and when you’re when you’re doing that it became become a competitive differentiator for you.

Mike: Definitely, I mean, I think you’re absolutely right that people are are using their data as a source of power with with some kind companies. And that’s because the data is really so valuable and the things that people are collecting. So I definitely agree with that I’m really interested in, we’ve established that value of the data. What can B2B marketers do to improve their forms? And ultimately, I think for, for most B2B marketers, it’s primarily about improving completion rate, but also about getting richer data. I mean, what can they do to try and achieve those two goals?

Terri: Well, I think, you know, when you work with a technology that gives you flexibility, and gives you the ability to do some advanced capabilities, you can do things like progressive profiling, right. And when you couple that with a pre fill, so when you come to my forum, all you have to do is look at it, all your basic information is already there, you know, it’s already right. So maybe I have the opportunity to ask you another question and get a little bit more information about you. And because you didn’t have to fill all that out, you’re going to feel better, and you’re going to feel more open to sharing that information with me. And you also, you know, again, going back to what you said, you’re on a branded form, you know, Who you talking to, you don’t feel like you just got passed off to something you don’t recognise. And it’s also personalised. Right. So I know, you know who you’re talking to.

That definitely, I mean, another thing I’m interested in is obviously Form Assembly has the ability to, to a B test. I mean, how are people using a B testing in forms? Is that something that’s widespread? Because you hear a lot about it with, say, landing pages or emails, but much less about the form itself? Well, I if they’re not doing it, they should, because it’s a huge opportunity. Because how often do you get to that form, and you’re like, oh, and you go on, you know, you just move on, you’re like, I’m done. I don’t want this that bad. Whatever it is, I don’t want this that bad. So again, there’s a million things you can do with design, right? How we perceive things visually how we take things in matter. So always adhere to those best practices for design and try things try. What level of information can you get away with? How much should you be trying to collect at a time? Look at those form, fill stats and see, right? Are people abandoning my form? And where do they abandon it and use that to try to shorten it and try some different things?

Mike: That’s great advice. I mean, I think, I think the obvious thing that now, you know, a lot of people were thinking is, but it’s my for many good. I mean, what is a good conversion rate? Is there a good conversion rate? Or is that one of those questions you really can’t answer?

Terri: Well, you know, I could give you numbers, I could make some up I could give you depends on who you ask, right? Everybody’s got an answer. But to me, it goes back to what you just talked about, about AB testing, what is a good response rate, better than you had last time, right? Because you should always be testing, you should always be trying to continually improve, you should always be looking at the results of the campaign results, the form results, the programme results, the feedback, and, and tweaking and little tweaks can make a difference. And using the advantages that forms give you such as pre fills, and, and conditional fields and picklist, and things to try to make your forms easier. So I believe in continuous improvement, so better than the last time is, is I think, the best rate to have.

Mike: That’s a great answer. So just keep getting better. I love it. I’m really interested, actually. I mean, obviously, you’re you’re fairly new in the role as CMO. But what do you see as the main way you can impact the growth of former assembly? What do you see as being the things that are going to drive more users?

Terri: Well, I, I really want to see us and we will be leaning into this notion of data stewardship, and being good stewards of the data and and raising the profile of data collection within the organisation. So typically, when someone needs to build forms, they’re maybe a Salesforce admin. And they come and they say, I need to build a form and they purchase our solution. They get up and running there. They’re off, they’re happy. They’re collecting forms, and that’s where it stops for them. Right. That’s the extent of how they’re thinking about it. But I think there’s an opportunity for CIOs and CISOs. And IT leaders to think about what’s going on across their organisation. Where else in their organisation is data being collected? And what type of governance and oversight do they have of that process? Are those people following good practices as far as security, privacy and compliance? Is it possible for them to have one flexible system of record for their entire organisation that they have governance over to to not only improve the experience but reduce risk for the organisation? I think there’s a big opportunity there.

I think that’s huge. I mean, we’ve worked with a lot of clients and we had one client recently that said to us, right, here’s three steps, you just do this, this and this, and your form will work with all our campaigns it will feed through to leads you’ll have the right data. Yeah, I think that ability to you know, whilst you’re giving people the capability to add fields and ask for more information. But the ability to say this is going to guarantee it’s going to work is awesome. I mean, to me, that’s the biggest challenge with forms. And I think, you know, a lot of us have seen campaigns where people have collected data, and then you’ve found you’ve not got the right information. And suddenly, all these potential prospects for this external, that could become sales leads can’t because you don’t know where in the states they live, you don’t have a zip code or a state. So I love that idea of governance. And I think that that’s something that is gonna become more and more important, not only in large enterprises, but also, you know, a lot more in the midsize companies, because it takes away. Again, I think that the thing you said earlier that that ability to make a mistake, I love that. Yeah, we, you know, our mission is to help our customers and our in the people we work with be good stewards of the data that that’s entrusted to them. And that at the end of the day, is really what we focus on. And that comes from the top that comes from our CEO.

Mike: That’s great. We’ve talked about the systems as well. And I think we’ve talked a lot about Salesforce, because I think that’s where form assemblies really known to be, you know, if you’d like one of the favourite products is somebody using Salesforce and natural thought is phone assembly for the forms. But what other systems do you interface to, I mean, it give us an idea of the kind of range of different things that that you’re able to feed data to?

Terri: Sure, well, we have marketing automation systems, Pardot, things like that. So that’s, that’s critical, especially, you know, you want that, that that triangle between your data collection, your marketing automation system, and your CRM, payment processing, such as stripe and PayPal, so that smaller businesses especially can use those forms to actually do commerce, tools, like survey tools like MailChimp, and things like Go To Webinar, WordPress, Drupal, all those types of applications where you might want to move data to, in your, in your process to again, not just collect it, but make it actionable.

Mike: That’s, I mean, that’s awesome. That’s such a range from, you know, surveys through to payments through websites, CMS is so it shows I think, what a lot of efforts got to go into to produce a form product that’s going to work in all sorts of different environments. That’s amazing. I’m, I’m aware of time, I just want to ask one quick question this this is, I think the killer question, you know, how much easier is it really to use Form Assembly rather than using Salesforce or Marketo. And I think maybe this might need a bit of a bit of explanation, because maybe some of the listeners haven’t tried to build a Salesforce form.

Terri: Well, I’ve never tried to build the Salesforce form either. And I think that’s because the prospect of it just seems so daunting. So I think just by the fact that I was willing to try, it will tell you that it is easier. One of the things that I think is wonderful having been in an organisation where you’ve got this great new solution, and you really want to get up and running, and you’re just waiting for it to give you that time. So you can get going, we take all of that out. So it’s a no code, easy to use solution where you don’t have to get it involved. But yet you get power above and beyond some of those sort of built in form builders that you may get with some of your applications. So like I said, so easy, a CMO can use it.

Mike: And that’s got to be a recommendation. I love that. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. Terri, is there anything else you feel we should have covered or anything I should have asked?

Terri: Well, we did touch on it a little bit. And I think I mentioned it a couple of times. But we really have this commitment to data stewardship, and we are a cybersecurity champion. And we are kicking off a campaign to help educate organisations about the need to shift from data ownership to data stewardship, and why that is so important. And again, it goes back to this feeling that when someone shares their data with you, they are not giving it to you, you have a responsibility. All organisations have a responsibility to the person who shared that data, while it is in their care. And we want to help organisations be good stewards of personal data. We have a lot of resources on our website, webinars, infographics, white papers and things like that, to help them sort of learn about the tenants of data stewardship and why it matters. And, and as I said, it can become a competitive differentiator for your organisation.

Mike: Oh, that’s great. So I’m sure a lot of people want to go there and learn more. I mean, if anybody’s got a question or would like to contact you, what’s the best way to get ahold of you? I have an idea. It might involve a form.

Terri: Exactly. Just come to Form Fill out any form on our website, and we will get back to you because we will have that data right exactly where we need it when we need it.

Mike: Thank you so much for your time. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. Hopefully, people listening to this are going to think a little bit more about the data and not think about owning other people’s data but thinking about data stewardship. I think it’s a great a great concept for everyone to think about.

Terri: Thanks very much for being on the podcast, Terri. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing B2B Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier B2B dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.