4 factors to choosing a high-performing software implementation expert

Cin7 Experts are specialized consultants who are vetted by Cin7 and are committed to providing resources to help brands, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers with a wide range of business needs. Experts can handle anything from data migration, technical training, ecommerce, process development and automation, and financial planning.

Since the Cin7 Expert directory went live, UK software integration company Bluehub has zoomed to the top of the rankings, spurred on by five-star reviews from enthused customers. We asked them how they ended up as the top-reviewed Cin7 Expert, and what customers should look out for when choosing a software implementation partner to help them on their inventory management software journey.

Here’s what they told us:

  • Take the time to understand where your customers are at
  • Specialize in top inventory management apps
  • The best experts hire from industry
  • Top experts build custom integrations and make use of APIs

Bluehub began as a Xero ecosystem consultancy and custom software development house, helping customers identify which apps would be right for their business, setting up those apps, and then providing ongoing support. But after a couple of years, they realized that the customers who needed the most help were almost always product-based businesses looking for an inventory solution — so they pivoted hard into that space.

“Over the last six years, we’ve been solely focused on helping product-based businesses,” says Bluehub founder Guy Earnshaw. “We help customers either build on a foundation of an existing cloud system — like Xero or QuickBooks — or we help people who are on legacy, server-based systems take that first step into the cloud with online accounting, plus one of the inventory apps.”

#1 Top Experts take the time to understand where customers are in their journey

Most of Bluehub’s clients fall into one of two categories. The first is established businesses that are looking to move online — to migrate from an existing ERP, or an offline inventory management solution (such as Sage, or even spreadsheets.) Others are those who have already begun their cloud journey, with accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks Online. Bluehub says it’s vital for Experts to understand where a customer is on their journey, what their current level of expertise is, and where they want to go.

“All the clients that we speak to have already started their own journey of looking at software,” Guy says. “So they’re coming to this with some level of education of what they want to do, the sort of problems they’re trying to fix and what their options might be in this space. So the way we describe ourselves to those people is that we are software consultants and developers who specialize in product based businesses going through this transition.”

From a platform of mutual understanding, Bluehub is well placed to help their clients transform their businesses for the better.

“We help with system selection and implementation, which includes everything like training, data migration, and a bit of support,” Guy says. “And then we have ongoing relationships with our clients where we provide basic user support to big integrations, too. So we’re an end-to-end service for businesses just like theirs looking to make exactly this transition.”

#2 The most effective Experts focus on just one or two inventory apps

Early in their journey, Bluehub supported all the inventory software solutions they could. But now they do most of their inventory management consulting work with just two apps: Cin7 and DEAR Systems. Why is that? Zeroing in on just a couple of best-of-breed apps means you can provide better services to customers, faster. There’s less overhead, and fewer learning requirements. You can just get on with the job, confident in the knowledge that your clients are on the best possible system for their needs.

“A big part of that shift is we’re working with more and more complex and larger businesses. From an accounting and a production perspective, DEAR is really quite advanced for products in this range,” Guy says.

Bluehub reckons that the partnership with DEAR is what helps drive great outcomes with their clients.

“[Partnership] gives us an incredible product that we get to sell to our clients and build on that.
Guy says. “And your service can only be as good as the system that you are implementing. Thankfully DEAR gives us a whole heap of tools in our hands that satisfy our clients — we have so many ‘wow’ moments when we’re giving demos or even when we’re working with clients during consultancy.”

#3 The best Experts hire staff from industry

All over the accounting, bookkeeping, software-coaching and implementation world, Experts are finding that one of the best ways to support customers in a particular industry is to hire from that industry. Hiring from industry confers a huge advantage for Experts — it builds credibility amongst their customer base, and enables them to either double down on support for a particular niche, or easily expand to related industries.

“In recent years we’ve hired more people that actually worked in our client’s industries,” Guy says. “We’re taking people out of the manufacturing sector, out of the wholesale and distribution sectors, who’ve worked in industry for over a decade.”

Usually, the industry professionals Bluehub has been hiring have experience in working with large, bespoke ERP implementations. This experience has proved invaluable, as they’re now able to help companies implement a much more nimble and yet highly extensible and inexpensive ERP, in the form of DEAR Systems.

“We’ve brought them into our team to help our clients transition their processes and really fully adapt to the system,” Guy says.

#4 High-performing Experts don’t implement unwieldy ERPs. Instead, they build bespoke integrations and make use of APIs

Top software implementation experts know that the best way to help small and medium businesses thrive is to get them online as soon as possible. For companies that ship physical products, inventory management software is a must-have. But even for SMEs with specialist requirements, they don’t recommend high-maintenance, expensive legacy ERPs.

Instead, they say to get on software like Cin7 or DEAR Systems, as a good Expert partner will be able to make use of APIs to build all the bespoke integrations and app bridges they could ever need.

Bluehub began as a software development house first and foremost, and that legacy comes to the fore when a customer needs something custom-built.

“We still have development at our core, and we build a lot of integrations — often with third party logistics (3PL) companies, but also with eCommerce websites, and a few custom apps for people who have unique requirements,” Guy says.

When a Bluehub client gets set up on DEAR, they end up with a fully-customized system, purpose-built for them out of off-the-shelf components. This app stack often beats the capability of a legacy ERP, at a fraction of the cost.

About Bluehub

Bluehub is a top-ranking software implementation company and DEAR Expert partner. They  provide innovative system integrations and solutions that support their client’s businesses operations and growth. From initial discovery into client needs, to set-up, training and roll-out, Bluehub provides a fully managed service from start to finish. 

About Cin7 Experts

Cin7 Experts experienced with DEAR are an essential part of the Cin7 inventory and order management community. No matter what kind of product business you’re running, where you’re located, or what you’re trying to achieve, there’s a Cin7 Expert on DEAR who can help you achieve your ambition while saving your money and time. 

The #1 secret to becoming a thriving product seller: Hire a Cin7 expert

When Covid-19 struck, companies all over the world felt the blow. Some went under, and some survived. But among these, there was another subset – companies that thrived.

What was their secret?

In late 2021, Cin7 conducted a comprehensive study of over 4,000 etailers and retailers to discover what successful companies did different: a deep dive into the tactics that high-performing product sellers used to increase sales performance during the 2020-21 economic collapse.

One of the standout findings: companies that had hired technology consultants and certified experts to help with implementation and tech stack support tended to experience much more profitability, often up to 50 percent or more.

This finding confirmed something we knew well internally: Cin7 experts help product sellers thrive, even in difficult times. Inspired by this, we’ve just launched an expert directory to make finding the right consultant quick and easy. Any product seller that wants to achieve more can now easily browse through the directory and connect with the expert that best suits their needs. Custom filters within the directory narrow searches by service, budget, inventory solution, location, and scale.

Cin7 experts are specialized partners who are committed to providing resources to help brands, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers with a wide range of business needs. Experts can handle anything from data migration, technical training, ecommerce, process development and automation, financial planning – and much more besides.

Whenever a product seller needs financial planning, help implementing a new inventory and order management solution, or assistance integrating it with their accounting software, a 3PL, or online marketplace, they can find the perfect people to help instantly, in the Cin7 expert directory.

Since the inventory and order automation needs of product sellers are often quite different, our Cin7 expert directory gives product sellers hundreds of options to find just the right kind of expert, coach, accountant, or software integrator. There are three different types of Cin7 experts you can find – and many have super powers in more than one area.

1. Agency experts

These experts are magnificent at giving best-in-class advice on the latest and most successful ecommerce and multichannel selling and customer loyalty strategies. Customers whose businesses have reached the point where they can no longer rely on inefficient, manual record keeping and inventory management benefit from a consultant who has studied the various inventory and order management software solutions on the market and can make recommendations based on what sort of business you’re running. Cin7 agency experts are able to administer multiple SaaS products and specialize in system audits, inventory system implementations or migrations, custom integration development, system administration, and technical training for staff and managers. Agency experts can reduce a customer’s dependence on redundant processes and help them to get the most out of their technology investments.

2. System / Cloud integration experts

These certified experts specialize in helping product sellers worldwide manage their inventory, sales, order fulfillment and warehousing. These experts provide their clients superior automation and have incredibly deep expertise at solving the most common and complex software setup, configuration, integration, and optimization problems. Their clients gain superior efficiency and unrivaled capabilities to delight customers and outmaneuver their competitors. These integration experts are a treasure chest of wisdom and experience the product seller can easily tap into to select the best inventory management solution from the top three solutions in the market: Cin7, DEAR, and Cin7 Orderhive. What’s more, cloud integration experts have the experience and knowledge to quickly bring together into one system all of the disparate software programs and sales channels that product sellers need to thrive.

3. Virtual CFO / Accounting experts

Want to make more money? Be more profitable? To sell more effectively? These experts are exactly what you need. They have advised hundreds of product sellers and coached them from low performing businesses into many of the most profitable and successful product sellers. Cin7 business owners who need professional advice to help them decide which investments to make, how to efficiently manage inventory, and run successful businesses need to look no further than the Cin7 expert directory for the top virtual CFOs and accounting experts anywhere.

Since most product sellers are in need of help to organize their technology stack, we’ve included advice to business owners who are looking for a consultant in this area. However, these steps to evaluating technology specialists can be applied to any of the experts described above.

You can learn a lot from how product sellers have engaged with experts by reading about their collaborations in our customer stories. Here are some general tips based on their experience with experts on making the right choice when it comes to hiring an expert coach:

1. Find a Cin7 agency expert,  coach or consultant

If you aren’t tech-savvy, you need to enlist help from an experienced professional who can help you navigate the many costly traps and exciting opportunities of selling in today’s multichannel marketplace. While there is a cost associated with bringing someone on, consider that you’re already running your own experiments every day with your digital advertising, product designs, and shipping. If your coach prevents even one mistake, this will easily cover more than a full year of engagement fees.

2. Ask a Cin7 cloud /systems integrator to review your tech stack and IT team

Request they perform a “tech audit,” and provide a detailed assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) of your current approach. Ask them to explain how the current technology will support or hinder your vision for your ecommerce, B2B, and D2C sales channels. This clarity will help you execute a sound overall strategy instead of ad hoc tactics.

3. Hire an in-house technical/IT person to work with your experts to implement the changes that will deliver super-sized outcomes for your business

Your tech coach can help you craft a perfect job description. You could even ask them to help you interview, shape the compensation, and pick the right candidate. Your tech coach can give you the blueprint for an ideal tech stack, but you still need a team to build and run it. You’ll need to combine talents of your own team and your tech coach’s expertise to achieve the greatest, sustainable success.

Pick an expert with experience building great tech stacks for the sales channels you are targeting. Just because a coach has a list of successful D2C sales channel references, it does not mean they will be of any help to you if you need to open up B2B sales channels with self-service options.

Here’s an extensive list of projects that a Cin7 Expert can help with:

  • New system implementations
  • Inventory system migrations
  • Training for staff & managers
  • System audits & changes
  • Workflow design & automations
  • Custom integration development
  • Technology roadmap creation
  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Outsourced system administration
  • International expansion
  • Strategic financial advice
  • CFO and controller outsourcing
  • Ecommerce audit & growth
  • Marketing strategy & execution

Are you an expert yourself? To join the Cin7 expert network of professional service providers who enjoy exposure to over 8,000 potential global customers, follow this link and one of our Partner Managers will reach out to you. If you’re a retailer and you’re looking for a certified expert, choose the applicable project criteria in the Cin7 expert directory.