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A tool that’s easy to use and affordable, but also very versatile in terms of what it can do and the add-ons that go with it.

We continue our mini-series of e-sourcing solutions today with Market Dojo.

They’ve grown a feature rich e-sourcing tool that is offered as a simple, pay monthly software but also comes with many different additional modules to complement the core RFx / e-auction software on offer.

I spoke to one of their Co-Founders, Nic Martin, to discuss what brought them this far, and what their plans are for the future.

Combining ease-of-use with flexible contracts and plenty of additional modules – Nic Martin from Market Dojo

Market Dojo has a wide range of customers – from consultants through to SMEs and larger businesses. They see their flexible pricing model as one of their strengths, essentially enabling anyone to use their software on a pay-as-you-go basis. This opens up the tool to independent consultants, small businesses and growing startups, as well as their more established customer base.

Part of the Market Dojo philosophy has been studying a lot of the B2C marketplaces, the most obvious being Amazon, and trying to emulate as much as possible their interface, simplicity and general user experience.

How important is UX?

The challenge of receiving customer feedback over the years has meant that it requires a balance of deciding what is really needed vs. what are nice-to-haves.

Keeping users happy while maintaining a solution that is easy and intuitive to use has been key in balancing how to incorporate new features into the product.

What different types of auctions and RFx are available?

  • Core product is e-auctions
  • RFQ
  • Live questionnaires / surveys to factor in considerations other than price, which can provide real time feedback during the event
  • Advanced lots: obtaining cost breakdowns at a much deeper level, without relying on Excel after-the-fact.

How do they avoid the trap of trying to be everything to everyone?

Figuring out in the early days to understand WHAT features to pitch to WHICH type of customers has helped Market Dojo to learn and grow, and also to decide which features to prioritise.

Some aspects of the tool may be more valuable to some users than others. For example,  an independent consultant may place a lot of value on a choice of different types of e-auctions, whereas an SME or growing startup would need a lot more hand holding when it comes to running events, and perhaps appreciate simplicity and an intuitive UX a lot more.

Niching down is a great marketing theory in principle, but they found that they were winning customers in quite different industries and niches during their early days.

Market Dojo has since seen e-auctions run on such diverse categories of spend as global freight, purchased parts and fruit & vegetables, so versatility and offering a solution that can be used in a variety of different industries has been a difficult but possible balance to achieve.

Maturing from a pure play e-Sourcing tool to a more rounded solution

Taking on board customer feedback was a key factor in instigating Market Dojo to develop additional modules as they have grown from being a pure play e-Sourcing solution into evolving into more of a mini-suite.

An example is with the supplier onboarding tool, which was developed based on a request that was made from one of their early customers. One of their biggest challenges was with supplier intake, and they recognised that Market Dojo would be a good solution for this if they could expand beyond just the sourcing module.

Whereas on the other hand, some customer requests were seen not to be aligned with their overall vision and direction, and instead led them to seek out partners who could offer such a solution as a best-of-breed solution that could be integrated with Market Dojo’s software.

Nic cites Per Angusta’s procurement savings and value performance reporting solution as being a great example of where they felt it was better to partner with an existing solution rather than develop something as an add-on. Listen to Series 1, Episode 13 for my interview with their CEO, Pierre Lapree to get more information on what Per Angusta offers.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) versus a more simple contract repository tool is another example of how Market Dojo offers a basic solution but where they have partnered with other providers in the space for customers who require a more comprehensive solution.

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