As global companies embrace analytics and new technologies to scale their CRM capabilities, some are relying on automation and data-driven personalisation while neglecting creativity and the power of localisation.
Evgeniya Kurmacheva (Evgeniya), CRM Team Lead at TIER Mobility SE (TIER) enables the team to develop a regional CRM strategy to provide solutions to the 22 different countries in which TIER operates. In this article, Evgeniya shares how to combine market knowledge with CRM best practices to build relationships at the global level.
- Evgeniya’s CRM Experience
- Building Relationships Globally
- Collaboration with Local Stakeholders
- Final Thoughts
- Lessons Learned
Evgeniya’s CRM Experience
Evgeniya started her career in journalism before moving to a role as a marketing manager, with a broad mandate that gave her exposure to different areas of digital marketing. “My first role in marketing required me to write content, develop landing pages, and generally work across different channels to communicate with customers,” Evgeniya explained. “The benefit of the journalism role is that it cultivated the ability to craft a story, which became really useful when it came to communicating with customers at scale.”
Once landed in CRM, Evgeniya had to learn skills that were especially relevant to the discipline. “The tools that we have now are much more robust than back when I started my career; in my initial roles I had to learn HTML and CSS to send out a basic newsletter,” Evgeniya said. “But as I was forced to learn about segmentation, customer behaviour, and experimentation, I found myself being drawn to this topic more and more.”
Evgeniya went on to work at SumUp, AirHelp and Emarsys before landing her current position at TIER. “I started as a Senior CRM Manager supporting the overall lifecycle, but as the company grew and decided to invest more heavily in CRM, I was tasked with taking over the international division of CRM. There are so many differences amongst markets, one global message cannot be equally relevant for users in Finland and Saudi Arabia; it needs to be a local-level communication. For me, localisation starts with the language and goes towards understanding country values, traditions, cultural moments, users’ preferences regarding communication channels and frequency of messaging.”
Building Relationships Globally
TIER wanted to double down on its international efforts with a specific focus on retention. “At this point, the company had a strong acquisition engine but saw the potential to increase revenue through more investment in retention efforts. As a result, we put together the team and started hiring to cover off regions or countries of focus,” Evgeniya shared.
Evgeniya outlined how they approach using CRM to build localised communications:
1. Test and Learn
We make assumptions about how certain countries might react to specific communications, and so we build experiments locally to see if our hypotheses are correct. Each CRM Manager in my team experiments frequently with incentive types, amounts, timing, communication frequency, etc. Over almost a year since the team was formed, we collected a list of insights per market that allows us to plan new initiatives and optimise the lifecycle with a high probability to give us significant results.
2. Know Your Market
Market knowledge is the key to delivering relevant communication to users. We look at local calendars, and what might be important to people in those markets. Also, we help our riders to navigate safety rules and driving regulations that differ on a country level. Knowing seasonality is also important to boost engagement on good weather days as it differs massively between the Middle East and Europe.
3. Look at the Data
To identify real user problems in various markets, CRM teams should look for insights that come from data monitoring or insights from the Research team. It helps eliminate problems that a business sees as problems for users, but are non-existent problems for users themselves. As soon as we know the user problem, we can work further on it – smoothen frictions with relevant information from our side or send a request to another product team.
4. Keep it Simple
Focus on straightforward setups and scalable solutions across markets. It will allow your CRM team to be more efficient with implementation, maintenance and reporting.
Collaboration with Local Stakeholders
1. Balancing What the Stakeholder Wants Versus the Principles of CRM
Market stakeholders (or commercial leads) may insist on sending high-frequency communication or company-centric information that users don’t have much interest in; our responsibility is to bring the best practices of CRM so the users get a good experience with the product. It’s a process of building relationships with stakeholders, and winning trust so they come with a problem to us and we provide a solution.
2. Align First on the Goal Across Both Parties
There are so many different areas CRM could focus on and each market has its own priorities. Do we want to push repeat rides or new user acquisition? Do we focus on promoting product features or new offers? Deciding together with a stakeholder a goal that is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound is a way to effectively move forward.
3. See the Bigger Picture
Focus on a long-term plan – don’t get caught up in ad-hoc efforts, but build a larger strategy for the market. It’s very easy to spend time on various little tasks or get lost in requests that don’t bring us close to the actual goal. CRM teams need to have clear priorities in mind to get the result that is expected. Seeing CRM’s impact on the bigger company-wide metrics per region helps to put things into perspective.
Before ending our conversation, I asked Evgeniya for one piece of advice she would like to share about succeeding in CRM. Here’s what she said:
CRM is becoming increasingly focused on hard skills. While you once could focus solely on creativity as a way to succeed in CRM, now you have to know how things work. How your CRM platform works, where you get data from, and much more. Don’t neglect these skills, because lacking technological know-how will hurt your CRM setup and the depth of the relationship you can develop with customers.
|1||New companies need to focus on hiring employees that can get things done, are passionate about the work they’re doing and value the customer experience they’re creating|
|2||Don’t overthink solving the problems that customers might come to you to solve – invest in low-tech solutions and slowly evolve them to improve the experience|
|3||Observe how your customers are using your product or service to identify opportunities to refine how you’re servicing them and deepening the relationship|
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