#145- How makers and traders that exist based on trusted long-term relationships can thrive online

An interview with Michiel Schipperus, CEO Sana Commerce

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to enable wholesale and manufacturing organizations to a build the same kind of relationships online as they’ve always done offline. My guest is Michiel Schipperus, CEO Sana Commerce.

Michiel has been working in e-commerce since 1999 when he joined ISM eGroup. In the years following he consulted with many distributors and manufacturers on how to successfully set up an online sales channel. These lessons learned from more than 100 B2B e-commerce cases were used to develop the Sana Commerce concept.

In 2011 Sana was founded. Since then Michiel is pursuing two missions simultaneously:

1. Helping companies worldwide achieve e-commerce success

2. Building a company culture people love and that enables them to be their best selves.

This inspired me, and hence I invited Michiel to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in the market for e-commerce and why so many companies don’t achieve the e-commerce success they hope for. We dig deeper into the question what needs to be done differently from a product strategy standpoint to solve this global challenge. Lastly we discuss Michiel’s standpoint on what’s required to build a software business that turns customers into advocates in a way that’s highly scalable.

Here are some of his quotes:

We learned 10 years ago that that B2B was very different from B2C.

The problem for these companies if they have this very special unique relationship with their customers and they put in place a B2C ecommerce platform, is that this platform is not supporting the nature of their relationships.

They run into all kinds of issues with their customers. They don’t see the adoption that they would like, because these customers, they go online, they try to order but they do not see the information that they’re looking for, or the information is inaccurate. So, they will not use the ecommerce platform anymore. They’ll just pick up the phone and revert back to their old way of working.

If they’re not able to make this transition with them, and service these customers online the same way to have been doing offline, well, that will definitely damage their business.

During this interview, you will learn three things:

  1. Why what customers say they need, is often not what they want. And getting this wrong could severely undermine your competitiveness.
  2. That value differentiation starts with your foundation – and done well helps you can escape the competition on feature
  3. Why you have to be more strategic earlier in your journey – to avoid things just ‘happen to you’ – especially around your value proposition.

For more information about the guest from this week:


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.