Most people would have a hard time selecting the best small software company in America. But if we asked Global Shop Solutions customers to vote, they would have no trouble identifying their top pick.
I recently had the great fortune of working with Global Shop Solutions in Houston. Their business works well on a lot of levels, but the most remarkable thing about the company is the tremendous value it creates for its customers.
Global Shop provides comprehensive EPR systems to small- and medium-sized manufacturers. It helps those manufacturers automate their entire business from the initial quoting of a project to cash collections and everything in between. The primary benefits to customers are increased productivity and profitability, along with improved customer deliveries. But most customers would say that Global Shop has taken their business from chaos to order and given them tight controls.
Global Shop has emerged as the market leader in its category by focusing with laser-like precision on delivering the basic value proposition of “best total solution.” In fact, it is executing the business strategy of customer intimacy as well as any company I have worked with. As a result, Global Shop now has more than 1,000 installed customers and has grown at a sustained annual rate in excess of 25% for the past several years.
Differentiation Through Training
When prospective customers build a short list of possible vendors in the ERP software space, they quickly see that Global Shop offers the best total solution. This makes a huge difference because the ERP space is littered with failed attempts and implementation failures. Automating every aspect of a manufacturing business is a daunting task, yet Global Shop enables companies to achieve success where most have failed in the past.
How does Global Shop offer a better solution?
For starters, the company’s training resources go far beyond the industry standard, and their customers know it. Not only does Global Shop excel at every point of touch, they also offer a variety of training options that allow customers to quickly build and maintain their software skills in a manner that fits each company’s unique needs.
Each week, the company holds training classes in Houston, where implementation teams immerse themselves in the requirements for successful implementation. Customers can send as many people as they want, as many times as they want — for free. Everything is included in the upfront cost of the software and the minimal annual licensing fee. The company also offers the best Web-based training in its category.
But what really differentiates Global Shop’s training is that many of their onsite training consultants are former customers who not only have a deep understanding of the software, they also intimately understand the inner workings of small manufacturers. They know the best practices of Global Shop’s diverse customer base, and can often make dozens of high impact, high leverage recommendations that lead to immediate improvements in the customer’s business.
Global Shop also has a unique way of keeping its software up-to-date. Every time the firm does a customization for a customer, that same customization is available to the entire customer base at the next upgrade — again at no extra cost. As a result, Global Shop customers know that every upgrade will contain the improvements they need to keep their ERP system at the cutting edge for the next 10 to 15 years.
Compelling Brand Personality
From a branding perspective, what impresses me most about Global Shop is its execution and presentation of its brand personality. A brand personality is the human characteristics we associate with a brand. It’s where we make the all-important emotional connection. It’s often the personality we identify with or the personality we aspire to. Global Shop’s execution of its brand personality would make most consumer brands envious, and it is proves critical in closing the sale.
Most of Global Shop’s customers think and act like small, owner-operated businesses, even those that have several hundred employees and an international customer base. Many are family owned businesses. These businesses typically operate under intense competition, with most feeling the pressure from offshore competitors. And despite their small size, these companies are complex operations that require heavy capital investment and expensive engineering talent and skilled labor on the shop floor.
I would characterize Global Shop’s brand personality as “sincere” because it presents itself as a financially strong, family owned business. Global Shop emphasizes the fact that it has been in business for three decades, and makes it very clear that it has no interest in selling out to a larger software company, as so many of its competitors have. Global Shop also makes customers aware that second-generation family members are being groomed to take over the company, and that all of the software code is developed inside the U.S. rather than offshore.
Global Shop has created a compelling brand personality that exerts a magnetic pull on potential and existing customers. Prospects and customers immediately conclude that Global Shop is “like me,” which leads to instant chemistry and a feeling of trust. One definition of trust is “the feeling of you being on my side.” Global Shop conveys this feeling from the moment you first meet them.
All of which adds up to a powerful software company with a powerful brand. I think their customers would certainly agree — Global Shop is the best small software company in the U.S.