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Product Sellers: Are You Still Using Legacy Tech? Here’s How to Leverage the Right Talent for Ultimate Growth

By Samuel Parker, Product Evangelist, Cin7

2020 was a year of upheaval for product sellers. Supply chains ground to a halt, orders plummeted, and costs to keep the lights on skyrocketed. Many retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers were caught unprepared for the storm – 28% struggling to keep afloat and experiencing more than a 5% decline in revenue, according to a recent Cin7 study.

On the other hand, a small group of product sellers (just 6%) achieved more than a 20% increase in sales. And among these top performers, one of the most notable ingredients for success was access to top-notch technical talent.

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Many product sellers are still using outdated software

It may not come as a surprise that legacy systems are still plaguing businesses even with accelerated modernization, but almost half of product sellers and manufacturers are still working with old tech. In fact, 44% percent of businesses with technical teams are using legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and 43% still use custom-built, spreadsheet-based systems. These inefficient systems and processes lead to delays and add strain to the business, exacerbating teams as they deal with crises. Working with the right technology can make the difference between a thriving business, and a dying one.

As legacy systems are extremely complex, you will either need to maintain an in-house staff that understands the product or outsource services to keep systems up and running. Both options are expensive, and keeping a staff in-house is proving more difficult these days. The best solution is to work with modern SaaS providers.

Cutting-edge inventory management can make or break your business as you scale your operations. SaaS inventory management can help you maintain inventory visibility, replenish your supply chain, and improve order management functionality. Keeping an eye on bottom-line labor and efficiency across fulfillment is a challenging prospect for businesses without the right solutions in place. 

For example, fashion designer Meghan Fabulous experienced a big problem when it came to running her business: she was running it the same way she was designing garments—written sketches on paper. While this approach worked wonders when it came to making dresses, it didn’t translate to the numbers side of the business. Her team relied on handwritten tallies to see what merchandise was available and make plans for next season—a time-consuming and error-prone process.

Bringing in seasoned technologist Steve Dunlap to assume the role of CEO, the company was able to automate, streamline, and modernize operations. Steve quickly knew they needed to get the right inventory technology in place to grow the business and looked for a solution offering EDI connections, channel integrations, and sales automation to effortlessly track inventory and keep financial records accurate. Since automating inventory management, Meghan Fabulous has saved plenty of time and money – most notably their revenue growth of 69% in 2020.

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Top-notch tech talent is key to success

Meghan Fabulous’s success is also a testament to the power of hiring technical talent to support makers. To manifest a truly thriving product-selling business, you need both modern systems in place and a technical team to drive the company forward. Our study also found that product sellers with a technology coach are 37% more likely than those without a coach to beat their competitors in operational efficiency. Additionally, 99% – ninety-nine percent! – of product sellers without any full-time tech or IT employees are growing at a slower pace than competitors with those teams. Access to technical talent is clearly a must-have in order to grow the business and get products into the hands of consumers quickly and effectively.

However, finding the right talent can be a challenge, considering the ongoing IT talent shortage and the industry-crossing Great Resignation. Talented, tech-savvy candidates are more likely to gravitate toward tech-forward product sellers that are further along in their digital journey. This means that the companies already using updated technology have an advantage in securing employees with the know-how to operate newer systems.

There is a sense of urgency today to find and hire tech-minded employees and coaches. If you stick with outdated technology, you may actually repel the very talent you want to attract! Embracing modern technology is not only a crucial step towards surviving and thriving, it is also necessary to bring in the top talent.

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