Get to know the people and the passion behind Tivian
In this exciting new ‘5 minutes with’ series, we’re taking a closer look at some of the incredible people who power Tivian.
Our guest today is Gabriela Schwentke, who is Account Executive at Tivian and is based in our Cologne office. Join us as we delve into her background, expertise, and what drives her passion for Tivian’s mission
Hi Gabriela, thanks for chatting with us. Before we get into your career detail, please could you share a few things about yourself, including your inspirations and the values that mean the most to you.
What or who has inspired you most in your life, and why?
My friends & sisters: listening to their stories, values and opportunities inspires me. They support and encourage me to take risks and make changes by challenging and holding up the mirror to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Keep calm and get a cat.
“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” Charlie Chaplin.
What are the values you hold most dear to you?
In this context, I recently discovered the philosophy of Kintsugi, a technique of repairing with gold, which means accepting imperfections and valuing them.
If you could be anyone else, who would you be and why?
I would like to swap with Anthony Kiedis from the RHCP or Taylor Swift during a concert, being a singer for one day. Fighting the stage fright and getting in front of a huge crowd cheering and singing your songs back to you in a sea of lights must be amazing. Being famous is scary, though; I’d rather be an unknown songwriter hiding backstage.
You can invite four people to dinner (dead or alive). Who would they be, and why?
To have a really good and fun time, I would invite:
- Charlie Chaplin.
- One of my closest friends who is working in Santiago de Chile – we really need to catch up face to face and cook Parmigiana di Melanzane
- My favorite podcaster from Gemischtes Hack.
- Stand – up comedienne Amy Schumer.
What is the go-to song you tune in to when you want to feel uplifted?
I would sing and dance along with my nieces to Disney’s Frozen “Let It Go.”
Moving on to your career …
Tell us about your background before joining Tivian?
I studied social sciences and politics in Cologne and had a student job in an international customer service team for a software company. After graduating, I started working full-time in the same team, supporting international clients from Germany, France, the UK, the US and Brazil. During that time, I also interned for a market research company. Before joining Tivian’s technical support team at a later point, I worked as a first-& second-level Supervisor. I was a subject matter expert and shift planner or, as you would say, the “person between” the management team and the operational workforce.
What does your role entail?
I mainly talk to existing customers and make sure I understand their business needs and future projects, while addressing their challenges and getting their feedback. Keeping up to date on technical issues with the help of our support team. Creating different touch points to inform them about changes, releases and updates. Provide feedback to product management and gather information from technical advisors. Liaising with the legal department, data protection officers and finance department to ensure contracts won are set up correctly and the client has all the necessary information.
Networking and ensuring that potential customers understand our business and how we can help with our solution.
What prompted you to move into Sales?
I like connecting with people, and coming from a technical customer support background; it was a natural step for me to learn and challenge myself. Also, from talking to customers on a technical support level, I knew some of the existing customer needs, especially regarding developments and projects. My idea was to use my insight to help connect them with product management and help address customer pain points. I gained a lot of experience with the main features of our platform and had user insights to create win-win situations when selling the solution or new features to existing customers.
What does an average day at Tivian look like?
I start my day by taking a few minutes to review my calendar for the day/week, prioritizing tasks and personal scheduling. If you plan an early bird meeting with me, I will need a calendar & coffee time first to be useful to anyone. I usually have a client meeting, mostly video-calls, on a daily basis to follow up on contract negotiations, deepen the relationship and qualifying how our solution can support and expand their business. This is followed by a forecast call with our sales team or an alignment call with marketing. After that, I take some time to administer our systems, create proposals, and meet or forward inquiries to other departments in case I need additional information from our technical consultants, legal, finance, or security officers. I also block time to network, check what is happening in the socials and research company & market news.
What are the challenges you see (in your field)?
Due to Corona lockdowns in recent years, video calls are replacing face-to-face meetings, which can be an opportunity and a challenge. I do think that it is easier to obtain quick feedback. However, I sometimes find it harder to connect with customers on a more personal level. Since many employees keep working remotely and decentralized, creating a personal experience without onsite personal meetings is getting more challenging. Finding the best touchpoints with clients this year to follow up on new projects and pain points was challenging.
How has the role of Sales and the technology changed in the last five years?
I would say that especially the lead generation through digital media has developed. Aligning Sales and Marketing activities is increasingly important, as well as creating a brand that highlights the strengths of your solution and addresses specific pain points and use-cases. Ultimately, it sets your company apart from other fish in the sea.
What trends can you see happening in the industry next year?
The role of AI is definitely a game changer technology-wise, as well as social media as an omnichannel for selling. Investment in smart CRM platforms is crucial for sales teams to effectively collect and organize customer, prospect and internal data information. Customers have a lot of knowledge and can easily compare products online, which is why building strong relationships with them is essential. It is important to create personal experiences and products that align with the values of the new digital generation.
I would not generalize this, though, as a trend highly depends on the company & product type geographical and cultural differences.
How does Tivian help businesses?
Tivian’s Software allows you to collect, research and analyze market, customer and employee opinion data and derive essential insights from it.
It supports creating loyalty and trust and helps you understand your customers and employees, improving retention. Using experience-based feedback helps measure improvement, take the right actions and communicate personalized content and changes, which will increase your company’s success and guarantee long-term growth.
It not only helps companies’ businesses but also supports universities with teaching assignments and institutes and research commissions with their projects.
Thanks so much for your time Gabriela and for sharing your thoughts, insights, and story with us.
Before you go, please could you share one interesting fact about you (outside of work)?
I will share two truths and a lie:
- I was a cheerleader for my hometown club.
- I have two dogs.
- I’m afraid of horses, but I learned how to ride.
If you would like to know the correct answers, get in touch to find out the “solution to the puzzle” 😊
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