As new technologies emerge, companies that need to service these new products are emerging and identifying how they fit into the new product lifecycle. One such technology is electric vehicles, which has led to the emergence of new car manufacturers and vehicle charging stations.
Marianna Nikoghosyan (Marianna), CRM & Analytics Manager at Electromaps (a Barcelona-based start-up committed to providing a seamless charging experience to electric vehicle drivers), faces the unique challenge of building relationships with customers who search for an easy way to locate and charge at electric vehicle charging stations. In this article, Marianna shares how being an independent business not connected to car manufacturers and charging station producers creates challenges and opportunities for CRM at Electromaps.
- Marianna’s CRM Experience
- 3 Essential Skills for CRM Managers
- CRM with Prospective Customers
- Final Thoughts
- Lessons Learned
Marianna’s CRM Experience
Marianna’s journey in CRM began when she decided to jump into the digital marketing team at one of her previous companies and was tasked with reviewing the company’s CRM strategy. While the move lasted only a few months, Marianna enjoyed the experience. “I liked the balance between technology, data and the creativity you can bring to unify all these elements into customer communications,” she explained.
Next, Marianna turned her interest into a role as a CRM Manager at an e-commerce company, where she spent the next three years learning more about CRM and growing her skillset. Marianna identified these skills as essential for CRM Managers.
3 Essential Skills for CRM Managers
1. Understanding the Overall Picture
You should know how other channels work, how your role impacts and interacts with those channels, understand channel attribution and the best ways to achieve cross-channel efficiencies. Too many people focus on going deep within their respective areas while neglecting the growing integration between disciplines providing companies with the opportunity to approach the customer in a unified way.
2. Comprehending How to Use Data
CRM continues to rely more and more on data and technology, and every CRM Manager should have the ability to understand data, how to use it, when to use it, why certain data is important, and be empowered to get the data they need to run campaigns.
3. Taking Every Opportunity to Learn
While everyone talks about the importance of the test-and-learn approach, I think, observation is also a powerful way to build your knowledge base. That can be listening to your peers, researching what your competition is doing, or even looking up courses that can improve your skillset. You need to keep ahead of the trends so you don’t get left behind.
With 10+ years of work experience in online marketing, tourism marketing, CRM and business IT, Marianna is currently the CRM & Analytics Manager at Electromaps.
Electromaps is a Barcelona-based startup established in 2015. It recognised the clear problem of electric vehicle drivers needing an accessible way to find the growing network of charging stations in a new industry. Its customer base is a mix of electric vehicle drivers, and people interested in buying an electric vehicle and looking to understand what the network coverage might be in their driving area.
Electromaps mitigates this problem by providing maps of all charging station locations, enabling its customers to update details about availability, costs and current operating status, and finally, charge.
We’re operating in a new industry that’s trying to disrupt an established industry, so products, trends and market conditions are always shifting which requires us to be very reactive to these changes, Marianna explained. Every year we see more players, higher investments, and more competition when it comes to how carmakers and charging station producers are marketing to customers. Besides these two, an important side in the competition is the E-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP) i.e., pure applications-service providers like us.
CRM with Prospective Customers
One of the biggest challenges Electromaps faces is that they’re often trying to engage customers that do not own an electric vehicle and therefore can’t yet utilise the service Electromaps provides. Because we operate in a new industry, we can see that customers are investigating our service to get the answer to their questions before committing to a purchase.
Given the unique challenges, Marianna employs the following strategies to engage with the customers:
1. Developing Customer Journeys
We don’t always have concrete data on whether or not we’re communicating with someone who is already an electric vehicle owner or someone contemplating a purchase that will likely purchase in the next six months, but we’ve tried to develop communication journeys that give both groups answers to their questions and that positions Electromaps as a valuable service. Customers want less friction in an experience that should be straightforward – drive here, charge, keep driving – and we hope that the webinars, videos, and guides we have and continue to produce will create relevant journeys.
As a next step, Electromaps has recently started using In-App Message (IAM) surveys to collect information regarding the car type thereby progressing to knowing exactly who they are talking to.
2. Leaning Into Localisation
To be locally more relevant, the Electromaps app is available in 8 European languages. Electromaps started in Catalonia, so we provided our service in this language to our customers. We think we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors by ensuring we offer our service in the relevant language and provide as up-to-date information as possible on the current status of the charging network in a specific area.
3. Fostering a Community
We pride ourselves in enabling the users to contribute to the app. It’s one of the first things we highlight in our onboarding because we want to involve every customer in our community. They can update the current status of the station, what the station looks like, whether it has moved, where it might have moved, the amenities at that location and much more. Very importantly, users can also add new stations to the app. We hope that by encouraging people to participate and build the service with us actively, these users will become more invested in what our service is trying to accomplish.
Before ending our conversation I asked Marianna for one piece of wisdom she would like to share with the next generation of CRM Managers. This is what she said:
Build your technical skills. Understand API calls, deliverability and tracking. Learn SQL. I believe data does the heavy lifting, and then creativity adds a little bit extra. The next generation of CRM Managers will be expected to know how to leverage data, technology and creativity together, so invest in these skills now to get ahead.
|1||Successful CRM Managers are constantly investing in themselves by learning how to use data, understanding the bigger picture of digital marketing and observing how other companies use CRM|
|2||Creativity is required to build relationships with prospective customers – your company needs to answer the questions or fulfil the needs the prospect has if you want to make them a customer|
|3||Deep customer relationships can be built by involving customers directly in the product or service through communities|
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