B2B Marketplaces

What can a social network teach B2B networks? A lot, it turns out.

Ted Truscott, Tradeshift’s Product Growth Lead, knows a thing or two about social networks. Prior to his current position at Tradeshift, he worked at the world’s largest social network, Facebook. At Tradeshift, he helps sellers get the most out of the network by building more and deeper connections from day one. We sat down with Ted to find out more about what he does and what makes his work with sellers so impactful.

Read the full interview:

What excited you about coming to work for Tradeshift?

I’ve always enjoyed working on B2B companies with an element of B2C. At Tradeshift, we’re a platform that connects some of the largest companies in the world with the smallest. There’s huge untapped potential there because it’s difficult for large companies to find trusted suppliers and vice versa.  Building up a network as robust as ours helps both sides.

I’m particularly interested in the products we build for sellers. Product growth is all about helping people find the features that they otherwise might not have done. We want sellers to be successful when they first start using the platform and to stay as successful clients for years to come.

You worked at Facebook before coming to Tradeshift, what was it like making the switch from a consumer social network to a B2B network?

Some of the work I enjoyed most at Facebook was helping the Ads business grow.  There, I was helping very unsophisticated advertisers try out new ads features. At Tradeshift, we’re also B2B with that element of making it as easy as a B2C environment.It seemed natural to me that there were areas I could help with to help sellers succeed.

Another reason why it’s actually quite easy to move from a place like Facebook is that they have extremely strong execution.  There is a strong engineering discipline, a focus on numbers and of course moving fast.  I’ve found a lot of that at Tradeshift too and have supported the team in areas where there were good cultural elements to be brought over from Facebook.

Most of us have used a social network in our lives, but maybe not a B2B one—how are they different? How are they similar? 

The value of a social network is in the number of connections and the depth of connection between them. At Tradeshift, we’re shifting from seeing the value as being only with the buyer, to being just as much with the seller. And that’s unique in this space. Right now, we have a number of ways that we can help sellers beyond the basic invoicing service and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to find these services and take advantage of them. Far too often in business you see that there are great features that have had a huge amount of effort put into building them, but users just don’t find them.

At Facebook, the equivalent would be Facebook Marketplace: That only took off when they added the Marketplace button to the bottom of the main app. The underlying functionality was the exact same but it wasn’t getting used before they added that button. There’s no point in building a great product if nobody uses it.

What are some of the biggest hurdles towards getting suppliers onto the Tradeshift network and what are we doing to overcome them?

We do a lot of work behind the scenes to get things right for sellers before they even come into contact with Tradeshift. We need to get the right information from their buyers and get to the right person within seller companies to really make the experience a success. We break things down into funnels so that we can see where we are losing potential suppliers and improve on that.

Previously, sellers have found elements of the platform frustrating to use but we’ve built up a new version that gets them to that wow moment sooner. With Engage, as soon as a seller is added by a buyer, they can see their historic transactions and can see that we’re a much more modern alternative to anything they’ve used before.

Ted has a background in social science, before turning his attention to how users behave online. In his role as a Product Growth Specialist, he builds and improves digital experiences using elements of product management, analytics, and marketing. His experience spans ecommerce, social media, and fintech platforms, most recently at Facebook.

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