What I learnt in my first four months working for brands that were different from what I had seen selling software solutions.
12 years of building and selling software to solve problems for ecommerce brands,
four months working for brands solving problems.
1. Most brands need to narrow their focus and try to do fewer projects but execute better.
As brands are scaling up their teams too many projects are being started and run concurrently which means lots are being delayed or closing without being delivered.
2. Projects aren't being managed in a formal framework.
In software development, the principles and practices are incredibly well-defined and talked about religiously. Yet, brands are scaling and growing teams without a common framework for project delivery across teams.
The brands that execute fastest have project management/delivery in the job roles of their senior leadership team. Change is the only certainty, and leaders are responsible for delivering it.
3. Software vendors underestimate the challenges caused by points 1 + 2.
Knowing what I know now, I would focus on creating certainty around how much time is needed to implement your software and productise the services you deliver, so they're easier to consume. Remove the friction.
4. Videos of demos and videos of the software often beat being able to trial the product.
When you're trying to win over stakeholders and get their support, it's far more effective to have a short video showing how it solves their problem rather than organising another demo or asking them to take a trial. So async selling internally is vital.
5. If budget is the main reason you think brands don't go for your thing, you're probably wrong.
From what I've seen, point 1 is the biggest issue. If there is already too much going on, adding more won't help.
6. Acronyms are slowing the adoption of some software categories.
PIM, DAM and PLM, I am looking at you.
DAM = Digital Asset Management. I was confused when I first heard of it.
The reality? You know dropbox and Google Drive suck for managing creative assets 'cause you can't find stuff? However, there are E-Commerce specific versions of them that are faster, visual and don't charge per user.
Buying a DAM is a no-brainer for any brand with more than £3M in revenue.
7. Platforms like Grin that become the all-in-one are bloated and overkill for many merchants.
Smaller, nimble solutions are carving out smaller sub-categories of features and winning market share.
Back to execution being a problem - if it's simpler and does less, there is a higher chance the project will be delivered as planned, making it attractive.
8. Centralising and sharing information is scaling brands' most significant challenge.
I'm not talking about the core data sets like Purchase Orders, Inventory etc. I mean the nuanced data and information that runs your operation.
9. Many of the best E-Commerce Operators have grown up inside the brand they work for and don't realise how good they are.
I'd invest in leadership coaching and project management training for your homegrown stars before hiring big hitters from well-known brands. Yes, you need to bring in some senior people to scale but don't overlook what you've got right now. They might surprise you.