Forum 360: Better Customer Experience for Products and Services Distributed Wholesale

Rowland Hirst, CEO
Broadcast and relay sales techniques are being superseded by access to virtual meetings where inclusiveness is crucial to building trust in a company’s brand and people. Currently, organizations are challenging themselves to deliver better consumer experience while supporting their existing distribution partners. In fact, a Deloitte global survey found 54 percent of investment managers are looking to build sales relationship management systems that leverage inclusive virtual meetings. Forum 360 an integrated IR, sales and distribution platform enables companies to offer an inclusive customer experience without disrupting the wholesale model. This leads to increased sales while reducing expenditure on distribution and stakeholder engagement.“Forum 360 helps active asset and product managers better engage with consumers, members, shareholders and advisers,” states Rowland Hirst, CEO of Forum 360. The company’s platform is a great fit for any industry that follows a wholesale distribution model but is best suited for products and services that have a high educational component such as financial services, automotive manufacturing, premium wineries, and medical devices.

Forum 360’s platform offers inclusive meetings that are more scalable than video conferences and more inclusive than webinars and webcasts. The inclusive meetings are designed to simulate physical group meetings that facilitate two-way conversations. “We enable our customers to offer meeting access to their investment/management teams through a variety of branded channels in a way that respects the role of their distribution partners,” explains Hirst. This offers a superior customer experience and an opportunity to meet the team behind the product, the company, or the fund through their sales advisory relationship. Moreover, if the customer likes what they hear, they can purchase while at the meeting through their sales or advisory relationship.

Feedback and analytics are centralized in the Forum 360 platform and the inspiration behind its development. Often, companies rely on intermediaries to collect feedback from meetings or shareholder activity analysis from their service providers. The feedback collected is highly subjective—it is not based on data driven from the meeting. “Forum 360 is a game-changer as it is the first platform to concentrate on participant feedback and benchmarking driven by rich data from the meeting itself,” says Geoff Blaisdell, Advisory Board, Forum 360.
Geoff Blaisdell, Advisory Board
The platform offers event analytics which enables a host to measure how investors responded to the meeting. Similarly, the platform’s network behavior feature helps prepare campaigns by providing insights about the agenda being set during meetings, factors that lead to positive outcomes, meeting styles that work, among others. Forum 360 also offers peer comparison so that clients can compare their customer engagement metrics with others in the same peer group.


We enable our customers to offer meeting access to their investment/management teams through a variety of branded channels in a way that respects the role of their distribution partners


To further illustrate Forum 360’s capabilities, Hirst mentions the case of a client based in Europe with global distribution offices around the world with an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) mandate. The client faced a conundrum where despite being one of the leading ESG advocates, their portfolio managers would travel by flights—which meant leaving a large carbon footprint—to visit customers in Asia. Forum 360 enabled the client to replace their physical meetings with inclusive virtual meetings and in the process dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of their ESG advocates—their portfolio managers. Moving forward Forum 360 intends to offer a service to collate investment information into a secure digital passport that can be used to onboard clients directly with product manufacturers, intermediaries, and financial advisors. Forum 360 is keen on enabling organizations from all industries to pursue a strategy of inclusiveness with their stakeholders in a manner that reduces time and resources spent on distribution.

Forum 360 News

Data Science is the Great Enabler of Inside Sales, not Video Conferencing

Rowland Hirst - Up to 70% of the global workforce at large organizations, field sales, have been forced inside over the last 18mths and have discovered efficiencies with the remote sales process. Putting serious doubt on the return of business travel, field sales is projected to fall to 40% of the sales force with inside sales (40%) and digital (20%). The role of inside sales shifts from a support role to a hybrid sales force with senior representatives spending more time inside.

It makes sense that 1×1 B2B physical meeting were initially replaced by a 1×1 video conference. The convenience leads to shorter meetings more frequently at a fraction of the cost of travel. Importantly though, there is no change in how data is collected. Video conference tools are no better at collecting data than an in person sales meeting. Arguably they are worse given the difficulty in reading body language. So the efficiencies are largely time and transport, which will come under pressure with a hybrid sales force.

While business buyers (B2B) now have a preference for remote sales and digital, consumers have also moved to virtual meetings. Consumers have changed their minimum expectations of a business relationship with profound implications for the sales method. Consumers will expect access to expertise no matter where that expertise is located in the world. That means B2B models will evolve to B2B2C with product makers working in collaboration with their distribution partners to exceed the expectations of consumers. Car buyers around the world will start meeting the car design team at the one event through their local dealers’ brand. Wine buyers meet growers through their local distributor. Each meeting has fulfilment, product information and sales advice options for participants and behavioural tracking that yields a data rich experience.

The B2B2C inside sales model post-pandemic focuses on converting traditional broadcast sales techniques (media releases, pamphlets, short videos, social media posts, etc) to communication. Providing access to expertise via group virtual meetings that traverses B2B2C without disrupting the model. Video conferencing is not the solution for B2B2C. Webinars provide scale but are not designed for the sales process nor do they traverse B2B2C without disrupting the model.

By applying sales and distribution-tech to group virtual meetings, these events become data rich experiences. End to end from invitation though meeting to fulfilment across distribution channels. The opportunity for businesses to improve customer experience direct (B2C) and through their distribution partners (B2B2C) and better position themselves for the business of experience (BX) where companies enjoy 6x the profitability growth on average.

Company
Forum 360

Headquarters
Sydney, Australia

Management
Rowland Hirst, CEO and Geoff Blaisdell, Advisory Board

Description
Forum 360 an integrated IR, sales and distribution platform enables companies to offer an inclusive customer experience without disrupting the wholesale model. This leads to increased sales while reducing expenditure on distribution and stakeholder engagement. Forum 360 helps active asset and product managers better engage with consumers, members, shareholders and advisers. The company’s platform is a great fit for any industry that follows a wholesale distribution model but is best suited for products and services that have a high educational component such as financial services, automotive manufacturing, premium wineries, and medical devices

Forum 360