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Reflecting on 12 months of growth at SparkLayer - behind the scenes with Alex Weston

Alex Weston, SparkLayer

June 19, 2024
Customer Success
Reflecting on 12 months of growth at SparkLayer - behind the scenes with Alex Weston

This week, I reached 12 months of working for SparkLayer. To say I’ve learned a lot would be an understatement!

And in all of that, there’s a few things I’ve learned:

Our customers:

The first thing to highlight is how much I’ve learned about our customers. Our customers are keenly focused on keeping their online customer experience top-notch whilst freeing up their own time to focus on the things that drive the most revenue. It’s been amazing to see how even the most complex of B2B setups have been transformed into simple-to-use, content-rich, but sophisticated experiences that display the right price and payment methods to customers when they log in. I really believe that our customers get significant value from our platform - that’s a good feeling!

Our partners:

My background in partnerships means I have a keen eye for understanding how partners can reap significant benefits from partnering with our technology. And, thankfully, SparkLayer is an attractive proposition for partners without me really having to change anything. It’s quick to implement but the SDK provides partners with a real value-added opportunity to customise it for their own customers. SparkLayer is flexible in meeting demanding customers but not cost-prohibitive, so it’s not uncomfortable to recommend. With Lucy Vinestock coming on to tackle our marketing, I think this is something we’ve really started to talk about more too, and share the experiences that our customers and partners have with the wider eCom world.

Our team:

One of the true pleasures of the last year has been building the team, giving them the tools and the coaching, and watching their personal growth and development. A start-up environment isn’t for the faint of heart. We’re changing quickly, adapting and trying new things, and that can mean asking challenging questions, constantly questioning what’s ‘normal’, and continuing to push further when we can. Our team has been resilient to change, and, in the process, have often come up with the answer to some of our biggest challenges. It feels SO good to feel that everyone is pulling together on the same mission. Jess Malkin, Drew Coleman, and Lucy Vinestock, especially a shoutout to you guys here!

Growing a business:

As I touched on previously, my background is in partnerships. I hadn’t worked in a business the size of SparkLayer before, so I hadn’t witnessed or worked through the growing pains of a business our size. I think there are two main things I’ve learned about growing a business. The first is that you sometimes just have to give something a go and take a leap of faith. The fail-fast mentality gets you places a lot quicker than philosophising over every detail in the hope of getting it ‘perfectly right’ every time. The second is that before you take a leap of faith, check with your mentors whether they’ve done it before. Having sounding boards in the business like Neil Kuschel has been invaluable for all of us. Neil’s never grown SparkLayer before (because nobody has), but the experience of growing a business can mean you can get the early heads up on the paths not to go down.

Myself:

I’d be lying if I said I’ve always found the past 12 months easy. There have been times when it has completely drained every last ounce of brain power, and times when it feels like the most energising thing in the world. Seeing the responses we get from customers and partners makes it all worthwhile. Pulling together with the team gets you through the tougher moments. Getting out of the weeds for a while every now and then to go away and actually think provides some real respite. But I’ve absolutely loved it. The journey ahead will throw up even more challenges, but, if it’s anything like year one, we’ll come out on top!

Without Chris Mattingly and Rhys Laval being willing to take a chance on me, I’d never have learned any of this, so I’m grateful to them for bringing me on for the ride. In a year’s time, I’ll check back in for another one of these, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to report back on even more revenue growth. Either way, I know we’ll have grown as a team, and individuals, to bring more awesome B2B features to the market.

Alex Weston

Alex Weston

Sales Director, SparkLayer

Alex has spent the last 7 years in the eCommerce space, working for technologies from email marketing, to back-office operations, and now B2B eCommerce. Alex has worked with some of the top eCommerce brands globally across his time in the industry, and has forged many successful partnerships for the tech companies he’s worked for. At SparkLayer, Alex is responsible for the commercial strategy of the business. Outside of work, he spends his time out walking with his wife, and dog. He also enjoys watching Leicester City, and playing golf, running and spending time with family.
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