Jeferson Cruz:  A Visionary Leader Leveraging Sharp Business Insight & Industry Expertise To Drive Business Profitability

Jeferson Cruz

The specific duties and responsibilities of a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) can vary from one organization to another, but their primary focus is on driving the company’s growth and profitability through various commercial strategies and initiatives.

It is the CCO’s robust business acumen and profound insights on market trends that profoundly contribute to the organization’s triumph and its ability to maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving industry landscape.

These leaders include a diverse blend of strategic expertise, adaptability, and a future-oriented perspective; enabling their respective enterprises to not only survive, but also flourish within the rapidly shifting business environment.

Among these extraordinary leaders, is Jeferson Cruz, Chief Commercial Officer at RUSH Technologies Inc., the leading loyalty and eCommerce SaaS company in the Philippines, who has more than 15 years of experience in B2B sales and service delivery, and  a proven track record of increasing customer retention, client growth, & loyalty across different industries and countries.

As the CCO of RUSH, Jeferson shows the ideal attributes of a visionary leader, propelling the organization towards unprecedented accomplishments with its three digit revenue growth YoY since the company’s incorporation in 2021. His unwavering dedication to lifelong learning, harmonized with his ingenuity in architecting ingenious solutions, establishes him as an instrumental driving force steering RUSH’s successful route in the dynamic and competitive market.

In an exclusive interview with InspireZones Magazine, Jeferson shares insights into his remarkable professional journey and the upward trajectory of RUSH.

What inspired you to start your journey in this industry?

My choice in becoming one of the founders of RUSH is a testament to my beliefs, ambitions, and values. It’s the thrill of the unknown and the drive to make a difference that got me here. As I entered into the exciting world of startups, I took with me an open mind, a thirst for learning, and an unshakeable faith in the transformative powers of innovation. My journey at RUSH isn’t just a career; it’s a way of living, and I’m prepared to embrace every curveball along the way.

What solutions or services does RUSH offer to its clients? Would you tell us the overall vision behind RUSH and your focus today?

RUSH is an eCommerce and Loyalty Software as a Service company that aims to democratize digitalization in the Philippines. Our white-label solutions enable businesses to bring their stores online within minutes without any coding skills. We consolidate a myriad of software subscriptions required to maintain a single storefront. But most importantly, we empower businesses to sustainably grow their business via a subscription model that does not gate keep its features, nor apply user or transactional limitations, unlike our other competitors.

When did you recognize the need for RUSH and what were some of the challenges in putting together your offering?

Back in 2019, there was still nascent adoption for SaaS platforms in the Philippinesand the Filipino market always opted to use software from global companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Launching a tech company was a daunting endeavor because we not only had to  find product market fit, but also break the common mental barrier that locally developed innovations could be just as good – if not better – than those developed in first world countries.

Every business leader has numerous responsibilities, being a fearless leader at RUSH,  what added responsibilities are you dealing with?

My role involves running the whole client-facing side of our business, which includes merchant acquisition, account activation, account management and nurturing our relationship with our partners. I lead the development and execution of a commercialization strategy, building appropriate sales kits, growing and developing the sales arm, and ensuring that our products and services stand out from the competition. I also identify and pursue business development opportunities, such as partnerships, or strategic alliances, that can contribute to our revenue growth and overall market share. My mission is to make RUSH the preferred loyalty and eCommerce partner for businesses in the Philippines and beyond.

How would you describe your leadership style, and what has been your success mantra?

My approach to leadership in RUSH is based on visionary thinking, flexibility, teamwork, and a dedication to lifelong learning. A leader who can create a culture of innovation, lead the team through change, and most importantly inspire a shared vision is essential for navigating the uncertainties of the startup landscape. As I set out on this entrepreneurial adventure, my leadership style is designed to not only navigate the ship but also enable each member of the crew to be a captain in their own right, contributing to the venture’s overall success.

How do you help a company understand what they want to achieve, how are you able to encourage people in that?

Transparent communication is the backbone of effective leadership in RUSH. I prioritize clear and honest communication to make sure that we are moving towards the same goal, keeping the team informed about the company’s progress, challenges, and strategic direction. Open communication builds trust and a shared understanding, aligning everyone towards common objectives.

Tell us something about your team and the culture of your company. How are you keeping them motivated in current times?

At the onset, we’ve always believed in the positive ripple effects of keeping our employees motivated and feeling empowered. When our employees do work that they are proud of, it translates to customer satisfaction. When our customers are satisfied, it translates to business growth. This growth then circles back to better employee incentives.

And at the center of this circle is transparency. On a quarterly basis, we hold office-wide townhall meetings. This is a half-day exercise where all our employees reunite face-to-face (from either hybrid or remote workplace setup) to review our overall business performance. Herewe celebrate our wins, reflect on our losses, and most importantly set our action plans for improvements to be implemented in the next quarter.

What are the key milestones you have set for your company for the year 2025? What does the next six months to a year look like for RUSH Technologies Inc?

A significant chunk of our business (in the form of revenue and merchant count) is serving restaurants, and we know we do this well. In order to maximize this strength, we made a strategic pivot to focus our brand and product towards serving the Food & Beverage industry. In the next six months to a year, we are looking to introduce and habituate new technology that will streamline restaurant operations and delight diners alike in the Philippines; in fact, we recently launched our scan to order & pay capabilities. This benefits restaurateurs by boosting table turnovers for their front liners and real-time accessibility to orders & payments for their diners.

Because we are pioneers of loyalty, we also want to ensure that our expertise and technology is embedded in the dining experience. Advanced customer engagement and gamification is in the near horizon, as well as other technologies that will optimize back-of-house operations. By 2025, our mission is to be the preferred one-stop-shop for digital restaurant solutions with a strong market share in the Philippines, and gain initial footprint regionally.

What has been your biggest learning experience in the industry? What did it teach you?

In the wake of our SaaS startup odyssey, the key learnings serve as both a compass and a foundation for our continued growth. The first is to develop and position our products with our target customers in mind. Second, ensure that the products we develop for our customers are scalable, agile,  and secure. Third, is to enable our users with ample support and sustainable  pricing models. These three learnings are the beacons guiding us through the dynamic SaaS seas. As we navigate the currents of innovation, our commitment to these North Stars propels us forward, steering our SaaS ship toward new horizons of success and enduring value.

What measures is your company taking to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic? If you want to share a message or give a suggestion to our readers, what would it be?

It is actually the post-pandemic zeitgeist that we are more challenged with. While the economy is recovering from the years of consumer paralysis, businesses are hesitant to invest budget on what they deem non-essentials. On the other hand, the direct market is on revenge-consumerism, spending what they deem as “pandemic-savings” towards in-person experience. So we ask ourselves, “How do we bridge the gap between the low supply in businesses and the high demand of consumers?”

We know our solutions work, we know it will benefit the business and its customers, but ultimately it all boiled down to the pricing model. Don’t offer something you yourself are not willing to pay for. We are believers of beneficial symbiosis; this translates to our you-grow-we-grow pricing matrix. We treat our clients like partners; knowing that it’s so much harder to acquire new clients than it is to grow an existing one. 

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