Case Study: Convictional's Ability To Speak The Language Of Its Customers And Repeatedly Activate Enterprise Retailers At Scale Led To Explosive Growth
What have Convictional's Roger Kirkness and Chris Grouchy learned after raising their $40M Series B?
Author’s Note: Hello Founders! Just want to give you all a heads up reading this Case Study for today. Today’s Case Study on Convictional is written differently than past editions of this newsletter. Not only is it also shorter, but it’s more focused on where Convictional is currently as a company. To capture that concisely and in a compelling fashion, I needed to come up with a new set of questions specific to Convictional to highlight their growth and potential as a company after their $40M Series B raise.
To get the most out of reading this particular Case Study, I strongly encourage you to read the Background section, which includes all the F2F articles I’ve written on Convictional, starting with their Startup Spotlight and covering past Case Studies. The goal of this newsletter has always been to capture the growth of a high-performance, high-growth startup over time, so it’s critical to read about Convictional’s past to understand where how they came to be in the present, and where they will be headed in the future.
Companies that feature in subsequent Case Studies on F2F after their first Case Study will be profiled in this fashion going forward. I plan to explain more about why I’ve taken this directly in a short thread tomorrow morning. Enjoy today’s read!
Convictional is a B2B trade enablement network. Their customers are B2C retailers and marketplaces and B2B distributors who need a single way to source, onboard, integrate, and grow with third-party suppliers. Founded in 2017, Convictional has a vision of balancing the needs of buyers and sellers in all B2B trade transactions. The B2B Graph is our description of the dynamic of companies trading with each other in networked ways, and how we can provide a platform to enable it.
Roger Kirkness is the co-founder and CEO of Convictional. Roger started working at age 16 in retail management at GNC. He later spent three years at the family business, learning all aspects of operating a software business. He spun up and eventually sold a plant floor automation technology company, before joining Shopify to commercialize their wholesale product. Roger oversees product, engineering, design, finance, and HR at Convictional.
Chris Grouchy is the co-founder and COO of Convictional. Chris graduated from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, holding product marketing and sales roles at Oracle and Cisco during university. Upon graduation, Chris joined Shopify Plus as an early Account Executive, quickly becoming the #1 salesperson by ARR and deals closed. Chris oversees commercial, marketing, sales, customer success, operations, and growth at Convictional.
Background: (CRITICAL CONTEXT TO READ BEFORE DIVING INTO THE MAIN CASE STUDY!)
Startup Spotlight #100: Convictional - Convictional is the Seller Enablement Platform that enables enterprise B2C retailers and distributors to implement and scale their own digital marketplace.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since your last fundraising round?
Roger: We learned what it would take to activate (implement and get to a sustainable place) enterprise customers. During our prior fundraising round, we did not have a clear sense of the required effort involved in helping Top 100 retailers use and get value from our product. We have had to build a lot in support of this goal and ultimately have built a playbook we think will help us grow the number of companies that benefit from our work a lot faster than before, now having a clear way to do it. We have come to recognize that a lot of the reasons companies are the way they are because of how the leaders of those companies choose people and give them goals. To make an initiative that involves significant change or transformation successful, you need the buy-in of those who choose people and give them goals, to be able to ensure that what you bring is aligned with needs. We start there when we are activating new customers, and it goes well much more often.
Chris: On the customer side, we’ve learned that large retailers want freshness and differentiation in their eCommerce assortments. Alternatively, you’re competing on pricing and therefore competing against Amazon. When retail executives inspect how they are doing against their board-level goals of freshness and assortment, they are shocked to learn that they can only onboard 3-4 suppliers a quarter. That pace means that they will struggle to adapt and grow long-term. In contrast, enterprise retailers using Convictional are onboarding >60 brands and vendors each quarter. On a meta-level, we’ve learned how to speak the language of our customers.