In December 2017, Marc Freed-Finnegan and Jonathan Wall, the co-founders of retail technology company Index, had to discuss the company's direction as they entered 2018. Five years earlier, Freed-Finnegan and Wall had founded Index after observing the technological advantages that Amazon and other online retailers had over brick-and-mortar retailers. Index's first product was a customer database tool that allowed brick-and-mortar retailers to collect customer contact information (e.g., email addresses) at the time of checkout. Index soon added automated marketing tools and payment/security tools (e.g., encryption) to its product portfolio. However, selling to large retail chains had proved challenging-many stakeholders were involved in the buying decision, creating a long sales process, and some retailers did not understand why they should trust a small, young company with their payment security. By late 2017, Index had made some changes to reduce the average sales cycle, but there was still room for improvement. Now, Index was preparing to launch a new product, Index Connect, that would essentially allow retailers to pool customer contact data and be more competitive with Amazon. Participants must evaluate whether Index was taking the right approach to sales and marketing and consider how the company could position Index Connect to be a success.
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- 2018 President and Fellows of Harvard College
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