Fuel Growth Podcast: Stepping Into an Omnichannel Future

Fuel Growth Podcast: Stepping Into an Omnichannel Future

On this episode of the Fuel Growth podcast series, my co-host Lizzy and I were privileged to meet with Javier Castillo, CEO of Empresas ADOC, a leading Central American footwear and apparel company. I say privileged because Javier is a truly impressive “servant leader” CEO. Javier has driven the company’s expansion and solidified its market presence through strategic innovation and operational excellence. Under his leadership, Empresas ADOC has ventured into new markets and emphasized corporate social responsibility, actively engaging in community development and environmental sustainability.

Known for his inclusive and forward-thinking leadership style, we were really enjoyed speaking with Javier to learn more about how he brings together ethical business practices, digital transformation, and overall customer experiences in the rather inspiring way he does.

What we'll Cover:

    Putting the Customer First: How Javier Gains 360-Degree View of Empresas ADOC’s Community

    Optimizing an Omnichannel Environment

    Javier started this portion of the podcast by saying, “The first thing we do with our CRM is really get to know our customers—what our customers are buying, what our customers want, how they behave, when they buy something from us what they say, etc. Those kinds of things have helped us a lot to really get to know our customers and really be able to take care of them. So that engagement with our customers is fundamental.” Empresas ADOC uses a variety of channels to connect with customers during every phase of their buying journey, including brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce websites, WhatsApp, and customer service bots where they speak with a real rep. All of these exist in an ecosystem that Javier and his team use to make sure no question goes unanswered and that every purchase is a smooth experience. Javier was also quick to point out how well Empresas ADOC does in keeping a unified dialog going with customers across all of the different channels with a single view of the customer.

    Customer Segmentation

    Breaking out your customer base into relevant segments can help you tailor the way you speak to them. Javier knew that the only way to grow his business is to deeply understand his customers. Javiar broke this down by saying, “We look at our customers in two ways. The first is the format that they buy from us, we have five formats, aka five companies, so the first goal is to narrow that down because customers are different. They belong to different stratas, and they have different interests. Then, we look at the territory, not necessarily at the country level, but at the cluster level. Because we have different climates, we have different behaviors identified within each country, which is how we look at our customers. So, we understand what customers like and what the needs are in that specific cluster.” Javier called out that the only way they can do this deep customer segmentation is through the investments they have made in CRM technology across the business.

    Never Settling for a Low Customer Experience Score

    Customer experience and customer happiness is everything to Empresas ADOC. Javier stated, “The first thing we do is make sure we are serving customers well. That’s the first thing and the main purpose of all the information collection processes we have in place. We want to make sure that we have a net promoter score above eight, which is very, very difficult. So, we measure that all the time, and if we are not achieving that, we start to dig into the information available. For example, when we go back to our commercial areas, we gauge what’s going on with the inventories, if a product needs to be developed, or if they need a certain product we currently have but don’t currently distribute in that market, because addressing these issues is something very important to us. So that’s what we do with the [customer] data. But the main thing is that we are serving our customers in the right way.” The incredible sense of commitment to their customers by Javier and his team came through strongly as he described the time and effort his team put into understanding their customer data.

    Creating a Company Focused on Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and Environmental Impact

    Empresas ADOC is a company very focused on being more than just another shoe company. They also have a deep commitment to making the lives of the underprivileged communities in Central America better through better footwear. Javier describes their mantra of ‘making the world work better, and walk better’. Javier described, “we are responsible for the communities where we operate. That’s one of the most important things to us because we know that that’s something that creates this social capital for companies. So being responsible with our communities is very important for us. We started 50 years ago as a company with a social focus. We wanted to be that company that was going to be able to provide shoes at the right price to underprivileged people. We were born with that social responsibility in place from the very beginning.”

    Three Mistakes Javier Has Made in His Career and How He Learned from Them

    Making Sure You’re Aligned on Customer Needs as a Whole

    Javier has felt the pain in the past of not ensuring his people are all aligned to his customers’ needs. He believes strongly that everyone in the company needs to have a clear view of who the company is, what it stands for, and what success looks like. Javiar stated, “The first thing would be not having a clear understanding of customer needs. Very early in my career, I worked for companies that used to operate without any clear…true north regarding what they needed to do. If you are not in top management or a senior leader, it’s [difficult] because you don’t really know what you need to do in order to be aligned with the strategy of the company. I was constantly struggling and asking myself, ‘What’s the right direction?’ That caused a lot of frustration and a lot of employees [turnover]. Basically, all the bad things that you can imagine.”

    Not Putting Purpose on Your Career

    Finding true purpose in your career is the goal we all share. Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day of your life. Javier expressed, “I believe the underlying feeling was one of lacking productivity. There comes a moment when you find yourself in constant conflict with customers, questioning the purpose of your actions. You realize you know your job, but you’re unsure of where it’s all leading. It’s frustrating to recognize a problem yet feel powerless to address it, or to see an opportunity but lack a clear plan to address it…That was my ‘aha’ moment. I vowed that if I ever led a company, I wouldn’t let that happen. It’s part of life, isn’t it? It’s the culmination of our experiences.” Javier has certainly realized that goal by leading a company with a mission to give back to the community and put shoes on the feet of everybody, regardless of the size of their wallet.

    Not Realizing How Much Leadership Can Affect Your Organization

    Most organizations typically operate from a top-down approach, where the effectiveness of your executives is pivotal. However, leadership doesn’t just happen within a company. It’s a skillset, even a mindset, that requires thoughtful cultivation. Javier emphasized, “Leadership can be the defining factor for an organization, and it’s crucial to understand that being a leader isn’t solely about inherent traits; it’s more about continual learning and development. In my view, becoming a great leader involves gaining experience and nurturing others to become leaders. I strongly believe that you learn the most when you teach and mentor others, as opposed to simply absorbing information from training sessions or books. Establishing a culture of leadership within an organization involves not only emphasizing the importance of leadership but also providing guidance on how to become a proficient leader within that specific cultural context.”

    Javier’s commitment to customer-centric practices was evident as he discussed the importance of understanding customer needs, implementing effective segmentation strategies, and continually striving for exceptional customer experiences. His reflections on personal and organizational growth underscored the significance of purpose-driven servant leadership and the transformative power of nurturing leaders at all levels.

    For a deeper dive into the impact sales leadership can have on business transformation, relationship-building, and sales enhancement, tune in to the complete podcast conversation available here. If you want to catch up on our previous episodes, you can do so here or on your favorite podcast app.

    As we wrap up season three of our Fuel Growth Podcast, Lizzy and I just want to thank everyone who has tuned in and listened along the way. We have more exciting topics and experts to talk to on the horizon and can’t wait to catch up with everyone on season four. Thank you, and we’ll see you soon!

    Clint Oram
    Clint Oram Clint helped found SugarCRM in 2004 with the goal of enabling companies around the world to turn their customers into loyal fans. Today, he leads strategy and acquisitions for the company. Clint was one of the original architects and developers of the Sugar application and has focused on building out the product, company, partners and community in a variety of executive roles. Prior to co-founding SugarCRM, Clint held senior roles in the development, professional services and product management organizations at Epiphany, Octane Software and Hewlett Packard. He has 20 years of experience in the enterprise software industry and over 15 years designing and building award-winning CRM software solutions. Clint holds a BS in computer science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is the co-author of multiple CRM software patents. Clint enjoys traveling and speaking at conferences on a variety of customer experience and entrepreneurship topics, and has visited SugarCRM customers and partners in over 25 countries.

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