I joined Zmags as Vice President of Sales in the summer of 2015, so I’m just coming to my second work anniversary. I’m really proud of what we’ve done here in that short time – launching a new product, nearly doubling in employee size, and expanding our reach to new industries, verticals, and geographies. Without sounding too cliché, it’s been a whirlwind – and a learning experience. I want to share a few quick thoughts on what I’ve learned from my time so far here at Zmags. You may have heard a few of these before, but give it a read anyway. A refresher on how to succeed is always good and you might discover something new too.
Listen to your customers – Sales people always say that. It is definitely critical to the sale, but I’m talking more about company growth here. I learned fairly quickly that Zmags and our Creator solution exist in a unique area in ecommerce, somewhere between CMS and Platform. Our product doesn’t have one distinct category, which means we were (and still are) building a market as well a product. Quite frankly, this tool just does what no one else can do. Feedback from customers and responding to it is crucial to not just sales, but to discovering how we build and position our product. There have been things we didn’t anticipate, such as using it to build quizzes, buying guides, etc., and it wasn’t until our customers were using the solution that we realized its full potential. Creator is and always will be influenced by our customers, and there is nothing better than when your customers use your tool in ways you didn’t expect, which is critical to our product growth.
Work as a team – What I’ve learned is that this is not just within my sales team. Sure, our sales team is tight and we learn from each other, compete with each other, and have fun doing both. But it’s the teamwork between sales, marketing, product, services, development, and account management that keeps our ship afloat. Whether through in person meetings, video meetings, 1-1 online chats or my constant roaming the office staying connected, I have found that being aligned on a daily basis is crucial. One department simply can’t exist without the other, and when our goals intersect and build on each other we succeed.
Be ready for change – It’s been said before but I’m happy to say it again: everything changes. Always. Whether it’s your product, your goals, or your personnel, expect change. In fact, I learned you should encourage it. When I remain static, opportunities pass me by. But when I’m flexible and open to adjustments, I am in a position to go literally anywhere. When we first went to market with Creator we were positioning it as a way to create digital lookbooks without coding. However, I’ll never forget when one of our customers built the first long-form (or full page) buying guide with our tool. That one use case example generated more buzz and interest in our platform than any of our other efforts had thus far. This lead to us re-position its use cases with our existing clients and in turn enabled us to showcase their results, leading to over 100 new clients in the last year alone!
Celebrate success – Naturally, this is the thing I’ve learned that I enjoy the most. Since joining the Zmags team we’ve seen our customers build over 20,000 experiences within two years. When we have a victory, we celebrate it – whether it’s a champagne toast to our 100th Creator customer, company-wide excitement over a customer’s fantastic ROI statistics, or even the customary ringing of the gong for a sales win, no success goes unnoticed, big or small. When we’re aligned and working as a team to create success, nothing can stop us… and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!