Maxime Tassin worked for 3 years as Director of Strategy for the marketplace firm, Cdiscount. This enriching experience enabled him to discover the keys to smooth marketplace operations. He now provides his expertise to Octopia customers, helping them to define effective action plans for the growth and success of their marketplace project. As Head of Business Consulting & Customer Success, his role is to ensure the customer’s voice is heard.
What are the main aims of Business Consulting and Customer Success?
The marketplace model is becoming increasingly popular among retailers, but creating a marketplace requires an appropriate form of organization and a clearly-identified strategy.
New marketplaces are created every month. It is crucial to work on the value proposition of future marketplaces and to provide guidance in the selection of on-board sellers.
A reflection phase with our customers is a must to ensure they define their strategy clearly in terms of positioning, resources and objectives, etc. We help our customers to develop their skills with training modules in extremely practical short or long-term tasks.
For instance, if a retailer is facing customer relations management (CRM) issues, we assist them in reviewing their processes, re-writing their stance and re-defining their decision trees.
The task of our Customer Success teams is to support customers and ensure the success of their marketplace project. These teams are in daily contact with our customers and thus represent their voice at Octopia. They make sure that the solution they implement will meet customers’ expectations, from both a technological and business perspective.
How exactly does customer success contribute to the business promise?
In addition to a technological solution, we also sell a business promise.
In practical terms, we connect a catalog of rated, qualified sellers and products to our customer’s marketplace; it’s our competitive edge over other players.
Here, our role is to ensure that the seller’s onboarding to the Octopia base has a real impact on our customer’s business. In particular, we check that:
- The product offer is coherent,
- The sellers are effective,
- Delivery is high-quality.
What are the prerequisites to becoming a business consultant and customer success manager, in your view?
At Octopia, we only recruit professionals. As a result, our business consulting teams have always had previous experience in marketplaces. They are marketplace specialists; profiles who have already held key roles in the running of a marketplace (offer strategy, customer relations, SEO or seller sourcing, etc.).
“Marketplace culture is a fundamental concept for us”
The same goes for the customer success teams. We put our customers in contact exclusively with experts who have a very strong marketplace culture from a business perspective. They have perfect knowledge of the expectations, challenges and life cycles of sellers on a marketplace. This expertise is a guarantee of performance for the retailer, who will thus save time and succeed in their launch from day one. Our strongest competitive advantage is our ability to boost Time to Market.
In practical terms, how do you proceed with your customer when launching a marketplace project?
At the pre-sale step of business consulting, we enroll our customer in our collaborative “COOP” program. This consists of four 2-hour workshops.
The aim is to closely manage the project via the following 4 phases:
- Determine the Course, in other words, the strategy
- Define the right Offer, which means identifying the right selection, products and sellers, and who will take care of sourcing, i.e., Octopia or the retailer, and so on
- Define the right Organization, in other words, assess the impact that the creation of the marketplace will have on the retailer’s organization. This ensures that the customer will have access to the right resources to size and recruit their teams.
- Lastly, integrate their Performance objectives to create a 5-year business plan.
Then, during the post-signature phase, we carry out highly specific tasks with experts, in areas such as the forming of an improvement plan for the conversion tunnel, the creation of a loyalty scheme, marketplace monetization strategy or the setting up of a Fulfillment service, etc.
For the customer success part, two or three months prior to the go-live phase, we take part in project meetings with the teams in charge of implementation. The aim is to ensure that everything goes smoothly during the delivery phase. This implies the involvement of the in-house teams, to ensure the customer's expectations are met. Then comes the run phase, during which the Customer Success Manager measures the performance of the marketplace using specific indicators.
You clearly imply the importance of customer culture for Octopia teams. How does that transpose to your vision of business consulting and customer success?
We are truly at the service of our customers. That’s why, for the business consulting aspect, we challenge our customers to help them make the right decision.
We remind them of the basic marketplace principles and highlight the risks and opportunities. The idea is to make sure that the retailer is fully aware of all the stakes and consequences relating to their activity.
“At Octopia, the customer success manager is the customer’s voice”
Our role, in terms of customer success, is to represent our customers in-house. We act as an intermediary, a trusted third party between our development teams and our customers. When we deliver a product, we don’t just create functions and deliver them, without considering whether they will be used or not. Customer success is there to ensure that the delivered product is 100% operational and fully in line with the retailer’s requirements.