Andrew Guldman, CEO of ConfigureID, recently joined the Leaders of B2B podcast for an inside look at his involvement in the foundation and execution of ConfigureID. His journey began more than 15 years ago as a software engineer and he has been involved at varying levels of the company development since then.
The underpinnings of the technology for ConfigureID began more than a decade ago when Guldman worked for the ecommerce agency, Fluid. As VP of Product Engineering and R&D, Guldman architected a cutting-edge product personalization platform, Fluid Configure. Eventually, Astound Commerce acquired Fluid (and Fluid Configure). When it became evident that Fluid Configure was not part of the strategic plans for Astound, ConfigureID was born as an independent company that could take its software goals to the next level.
Guldman speaks of how his personal career journey mirrors that of the journey of ConfigureID – from a small and focused segment to a large and forward-thinking leader in the industry. As Guldman puts it, Astound had a different focus and methodology, where the culture of ConfigureID was more of an innovative and “run fast with scissors” kind of environment.
Astound Commerce Supports ConfigureID Development
Of significant benefit to ConfigureID is the fact that Astound remains a technical owner of ConfigureID, offering all its resources, while still supporting ConfigureID in its pursuits and goals. ConfigureID now works with premium brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fender, and Michael Kors, helping them develop and present top-tier product personalization on their ecommerce sites.
Offering amazing user experiences that boost margins and loyalty is the focus. CongifureID presents the shopper with a highly interactive product personalization experience with exquisite 2D or 3D visuals. The company also recently launched augmented reality (AR) product visualization and is actively pursuing headless APIs to allow for app-based and social commerce.
In this episode, Guldman shares how the development of ConfigureID was the process of an engineering team building a business around their software product. With a highly talented engineering team and product manager already in place, they then added a marketing leader because it was their most obvious need – they needed leads and sales. From there, they shifted focus to building a strong customer success team to grow and strengthen relationships with existing customers. And currently, the focus is on building out a strong sales team to convert the leads generated from marketing into more new customers.
The Chicken or the Egg – Guldman Builds a Business Backwards
One could argue that Guldman and his team got it all backward – that their areas of focus were essentially lucky in their success and progress. However, it does seem that their strategy and process worked well. Guldman felt it was unfair to put a salesperson “into the void” of a growing company.
Instead, the Marketing department started at ground zero. They assessed their goals and vision and determined their target companies. They built their name, logo, and all the marketing nuances required of a new (and growing) business. The name and messaging of ConfigureID had to mesh with the insight of what the software could do.
By applying data-driven marketing, they have explored and experimented with channels and messages that work the best to reach their target audiences. Fortunately for ConfigureID, they have seen that the number of leads has been increasing as well as their ability to handle these leads.
As Guldman, one of the original software engineers and architects puts it, “I’m all about sales. I was born to sell.” He firmly believes that an amazing salesperson is someone who knows the product inside and out. Who better than the developer to be that person?
Lessons Learned and a Look to the Future
Guldman was one of the original architects but then left the team to explore other opportunities. When he came back to ConfigureID after Astound acquired Fluid, he was initially brought in to revamp the engineering organization – to grow it and give it more purpose. While that task was familiar to Guldman, it was not easy.
After rebuilding the team (coinciding with when ConfigureID became independent from Astound), Guldman and his team were able to build tremendous brand proofs, with data in their favor.
As Guldman looks to the future, he sees the emotional side of the business as a compelling and driving force. When you customize a product, you connect with the brand. This guided co-creation experience builds a strong and invested consumer base. Immersive product visualization is also key to this emotional connection.
Guldman continues to wear his sales hat to build the business and is excited to be part of a technology startup. He looks forward to greater accessibility to AR and VR components that will allow for even more immersive customization opportunities. As social commerce grows, Guldman envisions they will be more tightly integrated with the platforms and ambitious companies who are seeking to offer premium product personalization on a global scale.