Shopsys is a Czech software house located in Ostrava. It creates online stores for the biggest B2B & B2C sellers – those that are already in the eCommerce world or are about to enter it. At the time of starting the cooperation with Shopsys, two sales people and two sales support specialists were involved in acquiring customers. The company’s achievements are impressive – they’ve been operating on the market since 2003, employing 80 employees and have implemented 800 IT projects so far.
The main challenges that Shopsys faces on a daily basis when acquiring customers are… the competitors’ aggressive pricing offers. There will always be a company that offers a lower price. The matter is not made easier by the multitude of e-commerce platforms that offer their software in the SaaS model, usually competing on a global scale, not limited to a single region.
A company that decides to set up an online store (or replace the current store with a better one) is entering a world where a lot is said about headless eCommerce architecture and a Czech market where there are over 200 companies offering custom solutions and 80% of them have their own system.
Choosing an eCommerce platform is only part of the “how to set up an online store” project. In order for the implementation to translate into an increase in revenues and profits, it must be reconciled with the marketing of the e-store, choosing the appropriate 3rd party software (e.g. online payment system) and verifying to what extent the whole concept will meet the expectations of the end customer – since it is the end customer who finally hits “enter” when making a purchase.
Cooperation with Shopsys was based on 2 elements:
In order to see if the sales process is organized, you need to be able to analyze it on an ongoing basis in CRM. And during the buying process, most potential customers will evaluate the supplier through the prism of, among others: a sales conversation and a PDF presentation.
1) reflect what is happening in sales,
2) make it possible to analyze what is happening in sales – to know which activities to stop, scale and which to improve.
The first step was to determine what metrics Shopsys should measure in their CRM, that is:
along with the possibility of comparing these metrics over time and broken down by sales specialists and lead sources.
It turned out that the CRM that Shopsys was using at the time didn’t allow these metrics to be measured, so it was necessary to change the tool and determine what should be in it. The next step was to establish the structure of CRM elements such as funnels, stages, custom fields and the reasons for losing prospects.
The PDF with the offer contained the right information, but… Shopsys’ strengths did not echo strongly enough. That’s why we recommended Shopsys to:
If your clients are companies with an annual turnover of dozens millions of euros, you should expect that several people will be involved in the decision to choose an online store provider. Each of them will have their own fears, questions and risks that may materialize if the implementation fails. That’s why we advised Shopsys to devote more attention to researching the decision-making process during a business conversation.
Questions such as:
If you like our offer, who will you have to discuss it with to get the green light?
Who was involved in deciding on a previous IT implementation of a similar scale?
… help to assess in advance whether we have direct contact with key decision-makers during the interviews and what questions should we be prepared for.
During the sales conversation, Shopsys spoke very well about the benefits that the company can expect after implementing their online store. However, there was still space for:
You have to be ready for objections when acquiring customers. Therefore, when we were talking to Shopsys about difficult situations that arise during conversations with customers, we recommended that:
Shopsys: Based on existing projects: the smallest project we implemented had a budget of PLN X. The largest PLN Y. Are your options between these limits?
Shopsys: Closer to which end?
Client: In the middle.
Matěj became the head of sales. In the spring of 2020. The most interesting spring of this millennium. Especially for the eCommerce industry.
Looking for bottlenecks in the sales funnel and finding ways to remove them – this is what we tried to sensitize Matěj to when we talked about what he should expect in his role.
We also pointed out to him that while his job is to worry about (and check) things, he should avoid micromanaging. Therefore, in his work it will be important in what context he will check CRM, listen to sales talks of his salespeople or disseminate the best ways of dealing with difficult objections. The leitmotif is not to exercise control, but look for ways to increase revenues.
When Shopsys talks to potential customers, these conversations do not happen in a vacuum. The Shopsys’ offer competes with offers from other companies, which usually offer a lower price. Not only are the companies different, but so are the technologies available. Over 200 agencies offering tailor made solutions – the customer has a lot to choose from. Therefore, during regular meetings with Matěj, we discussed the current challenges that arose during the ongoing negotiations.
When a potential client pointed out the “high price”, we recommended Matěj to encourage the client to:
The price in the offer is not the same as the total costs associated with the use of the online store. A company dealing with the creation of online stores on a daily basis is able to guess with a high degree of probability what may result from the differences in price and offer. However, it is the customer who chooses the offer, so the customer must be able to compare offers using the right criteria.
That’s why we’ve encouraged Matěj to make certain elements of Shopsys’ offer (sales conversation, questions asked, presentations, materials sent out to the client) stand out:
Showing the differences is one thing, showing the impact on the customer’s target revenue is another.
You can “price” differences using the cost of no change technique:
Shopsys: How many orders per hour were placed in your online store during the previous Black Friday?
Client: 1,600 orders
Shopsys: What is the average order value?
Client: PLN 700
Shopsys: I understand, so an hourly failure of an online store during Black Friday means revenues lower by PLN 1,120,000? (PLN 700 x 1600 orders)
This example is obviously very simplistic, but our recommendation boiled down to this: help your prospect assess the risk of implementing a “cheaper” offering that may make it difficult to increase revenue.
The methods we proposed are the workshops: Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas.
During the Business Model Canvas, we jointly organized the knowledge about the Shopsys’ resources and relations with their customers.
We started Value Proposition Canvas by writing down the problems, daily tasks and expected benefits of the company that uses the online store. Then we were looking for how Shopsys can meet customer expectations.
… you need to emphasize in order to tell the client what is important to them. The Value Proposition Canvas methodology (first “customer profile”, then “value map”) helps to focus on making the arguments meet the customer’s problems, not the other way around.
Then, from a list of arguments, Matěj chose those that most or no competitors could benefit from.
What I like the most about our cooperation is that we talk about other business problems as much as we do about sales – so on a daily basis our cooperation is not so much sales consulting, but business consulting.
Matěj’s words when asked what he liked most about our cooperation.
Among the threads that appeared during the cooperation (in addition to sales and support in negotiations with potential clients) were, among others: