Olivier Adam: Orchestrating global commercial growth
You’ve spent the better part of two decades leading sales and marketing operations. Share with us your journey and what brought you to the logistics business.
My track record has always been in sales leadership and tech. I started in telecom at Nortel Networks, which is now part of Avaya, and went on to work in online payments, e-commerce, social media, and fintech at companies such as PaySafe and Hootsuite. I love bringing different mindsets to new industries because people often get used to doing things a certain way, only to completely miss the boat when their industry starts evolving.
Most of your professional life has been in the software landscape. Are there any lessons you’ve brought to Quincus from your past successes?
One big lesson is to find what works best for the clients, by putting yourself in their shoes. Many software players in our industry are charging on a per-driver or per-user basis, which is wrong because you want pricing to be aligned with the revenue model of your client. They don’t make money per driver; they make money per shipment processed. If they have a busy month, their revenue goes up and the expenses are following, and if they have a bad month, they should pay less. Quincus has been at the forefront of providing first-in-class technology with a business model that is best suited for the industry.
Is the role of Quincus CRO giving you anything that your previous roles did not?
I would say that my role is giving me two things that my past roles did not. The first is exposure to the logistics sector. I enjoy switching industries because it is more exciting and challenging than staying in the same one and, it allows me to cross-pollinate best practices from different industries. The second thing is the global responsibility of the role. I have dealt with North America, part of EMEA and APAC scene in previous roles, but Quincus has significantly extended the breadth of the region I’m learning to cover.
What does the usual workday look like for you?
The day usually starts with six to eight hours of video meetings, of which 80% is internal. These could be meetings with the commercial team where we strategize on deals and projects or with the other teams like product, engineering, or marketing working on strategy and improving processes. The remaining is client or partner-facing. I join these meetings with the sales team to provide support and engage with the C-levels and senior people on the client’s side.
Tell us about some challenges you face as Quincus’s CRO.
The biggest challenge I face is prioritization and keeping the bigger picture in mind. Despite all those meetings and chats, I need to stay focused on being strategic. As our commercial team grows, I need to spend more time on strategy and defining what we do next. Where do we have gaps? Where do we put our focus next? What do we stop doing? All these need answers, and I must juggle the day-to-day responsibilities with putting time aside to finding those answers.
Give us your views on the supply chain business and where you think it is heading.
Many businesses are still in the operational Stone Age, completely un-digitized, and the fully digital newcomers call themselves software companies instead of logistics or supply chain companies. There are massive complexities in understanding supply chain visibility, control, and optimization. Compared to other sectors which I’ve been involved with, technology in the supply chain industry is 5 to 10 times more complex, meaning that any company will need multiple components to be successful. This makes our role, as a commercial organization, significantly more complex as we want to guide organizations in getting the best outcome possible.
This is not just in Asia. We are seeing it in markets across the globe such as the Americas and EMEA. Supply chains everywhere have the challenge of figuring out how, where, and when to start optimizing. This will have to be a gradual step-by-step process, and it must be consultative.
Would you encourage people exploring a career in sales and business development to get into supply chain, and why?
Yes, because the perception of supply chain is changing. Although technology is always exciting, supply chain has been perceived so far as “old and traditional”. That’s not the case anymore. Most of the people I have interviewed over the past year have told me they find supply chain to be an exciting industry to be in, and for very valid reasons. I believe this is because the world is realizing that, despite the digitalization of many products, we are ever more reliant on supply chains. One only needs to look at the number of parcels being delivered to a block of flats before year-end holidays to see how critical we rely on supply chains. And this is not limited to a new mobile phone or toys for the kids; it also applies to prepared meals, subscriptions for pet care products, or even subscriptions for toilet paper!
What do you find great about working with Quincus?
The greatest thing about working at Quincus is the people that we get to work with every day. You always see these motivation posts on LinkedIn about choosing your boss/coworkers, etc. but you only realize how accurate it is when you are surrounded by amazing people. We do not work with technology or systems, but with people. And I know we have the right people all around the company to make things happen and succeed together.
Interested in working with Olivier on a global change-making team?
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