SparkMeter is a venture-backed company that was founded in late 2013, a spin-off of the non-profit EarthSpark International. We developed our low-cost, pre-pay enabled, smart metering system as a solution for electric utilities in developing countries to serve low-income customers. Our metering system is being widely adopted by utilities serving customers in rural parts of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Come join SparkMeter’s Customer Success team and help increase electricity access in developing countries. As Commercial Operations Associate, you will help facilitate sales by moving our microgrid customers through our sales pipeline, helping improve our processes and systems, and increasing sales by managing existing accounts to improve customer satisfaction.
We pride ourselves on a problem-led, solution-based sales philosophy. We understand the challenges facing utilities who are working to increase energy access, and we look to learn from our customers’ challenges. Rather than trying to hard-sell a one-size-fits-all product, we’re talking with interested commercial and technical experts to discuss how our product can help with their specific problems, and what they will need to make the most of it in the context of their business and their objectives.
Duties and responsibilities:
You'll focus on:
- Sales: This is an external-facing role, and you’re excited to speak with utilities about their objectives and challenges and determine if we are the right product fit to help them address their needs.
- Technical assessments of customers: You are eager to learn what makes a customer a strong fit for our product and will work to better understand our business as a whole to ensure we focus on partnering with customers we can service well and profitably.
- Account management: A large proportion of our sales come from existing customers. You’ll work with existing accounts to understand their needs and how SparkMeter is performing for them. You will work with our Logistics Teams, Customer Operations team and Systems Engineering team to ensure we are delivering on our customers’ needs, whether for new hardware, new features, or additional training. You will help measure customer satisfaction and be a voice for our customers, ensuring their feedback informs our product development.
- Compliance: Regulations vary from country to country, and our customers turn to us to make sure that our solution will help them grow and be compliant with local regulations and codes. You will build on knowledge from our customers and markets to help guide our compliance team’s priorities and make sure that our customers’ needs are heard and understood.
- Improving our commercial operations processes: You’ll help manage our CRM (Salesforce) to ensure we are fully leveraging the tool for automation of processes and for reporting.
In your first few months you'll:
- Learn our product and industry: We have a robust onboarding program so that you understand our product, its functionality, our market, and how to help prospects and customers understand it. And you’ll bring your own knowledge and experience in the process.
- Participate in and then lead sales calls with prospects: You’ll jump right into our work by joining calls with leads to get firsthand contact with the criteria we use to qualify customers. After you become more familiar with how our products work, you’ll help us conduct online and in-person demonstrations for our potential customers.
- Take part in Account Management of existing customers: You will work with our Customer Support team to understand the needs of our existing customers and to join in (and improve!) our account management touchpoints with new and existing customers, from software demos, to onboarding, to post installation check-in calls, to customer satisfaction surveys and more. As you get more comfortable, you will start owning relationships with some customers.
- Represent SparkMeter at industry events & conferences: We travel internationally to events regularly to give talks, meet with our current customers, and expand our networks in the industry. You’ll join other members of our team at a few events each year. (Some recent events have been a few blocks away from SparkMeter’s Washington, D.C. and Nairobi offices, while others were in Abuja and Lisbon!).
Where You'll Work: This person will be a member of our Nairobi, Kenya office. You can expect occasional travel: about 5-10%, or ~2-5 weeks a year.
Type of Role & Compensation Structure: This is a full-time role with benefits. Compensation is salary, not commission.
SparkMeter was founded to promote opportunity in underrepresented communities:
SparkMeter’s core value is opportunity: the opportunity for underserved communities to achieve great things. That's why our mission is to increase access to electricity in underserved communities - it is electricity and the services derived from it that unlock and create those opportunities. This value is reflected in our hiring ethos: we believe that the strongest teams have diverse backgrounds. Our approach to hiring has been validated by academic and industry studies that show that workforce diversity improves team and business performance. (It has also been validated by the quality of the team we’ve assembled so far!) We encourage applications from members of groups currently underrepresented in energy, web development, & software engineering.
- Significant experience working with customers in account management, technical sales, or customer support: You are comfortable engaging with customers via email and over the phone and owning outcomes to solve their problems. You are passionate about building, testing, and validating systems to improve customer satisfaction.
- Comfort with technology: While you don’t have to be an engineer to do well in this role, you should be comfortable with computers, science and engineering concepts. You are excited to learn more about the technical concepts behind SparkMeter’s product. A background in energy or software are examples of experience that will help you grasp our product’s changing capabilities and limitations and ensure our clients can meet their objectives.
- A connection to energy and energy access: Our mission is to increase access to electricity in underserved communities, and your connection to our mission will inform your work and connect you to your mission-driven colleagues.
- Uncommonly organised problem-solver: You’re not intimidated by a challenge! You’ll use your knack for gathering information and collaborating with colleagues to create solutions to our customers’ unique challenges.
- Disciplined self-starter: You love devising new systems and getting all things in their right place. We’re a startup, which means we are building systems as we grow and require leadership from everyone in our company for this.
- Empathy: Our customers and partners are based in 25 countries all over the world and come from many different backgrounds. You should be comfortable and enjoy talking with people who come from cultures different from your own.
- Strong communication skills: In order to connect to customers, understand their needs, and create great documentation, you should have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
We’d also like to see (but don’t require) experience with:
- Experience using a CRM: We use Salesforce as our CRM to track opportunities and generate quotations for customers. Ideally, you should have some experience with Salesforce or another CRM system for tracking opportunities, generating quotations, and creating reports. SparkMeter uses many customised features within Salesforce, so comfort with adding custom fields and features is a plus.
- Industry experience: Have you worked in energy for a private company? Have you worked for a microgrid developer or in rural electrification? Do you have experience on the public sector side of energy access but are looking to make the switch to the private sector? We think that either of these would give great perspective to work at SparkMeter.
- French language skills: Speaking French would be highly advantageous, as we have many French-speaking customers (and see a lot of growth in Francophone countries!)
As soon as possible