Business Builders To Know: Andreas Geiger’s Journey To Success
Andreas Geiger, CEO & Founder of Xotigo, the automotive sales management solution, has a deep understanding of the power technology platforms have to revolutionise how teams work and drive success for businesses.
With a background studying business information systems and building sales platforms for global organisations, striking out on his own to launch a startup that helps sales teams unleash their true potential was an inevitable next step.
We spoke to Andreas about his journey from vision to successful enterprise, why he chose the Salesforce platform to build his business on, and how he cultivates digital innovation within Xotigo, in order to provide the best solution possible for customers.
Can you describe the moment Xotigo was born?
I was working in the automotive supply industry as Director of Global Sales Excellence at HELLA, and I was tasked with creating a global sales platform. After launching this successfully and speaking to other global suppliers, I saw the need to come up with a standardised solution specific to the automotive supply industry. This meant starting from scratch. I had to find the right people, partners, and funding in order to achieve my vision.
Initially, when we launched the company it had a consulting focus, but we used this to fund product development. It was a real journey to get to a position where we could build and finally offer the solution I had envisaged for the automotive industry.
What made you choose the Salesforce Platform to grow and develop your business?
The sales management solution I’d created at HELLA was built on Salesforce, and I’d been very impressed with what we had been able to achieve. The platform is easy to use and provides a powerful foundation to build a robust software service on to drive user adoption and customer success.
I had also seen what can be achieved with the right team. Salesforce offers a huge ecosystem and the success of the company is built on shared trust, which is reassuring as you enter into the partnership. I saw firsthand how effective it is to bring together a vision, great people, the right knowledge, and a powerful platform, simultaneously, and this is what made the project a success. Bringing John MacGoey on board as my partner — an industry expert, who shares my passion for excellence — is a further example of this. Together as a team, we were very confident in using the Salesforce platform to develop Xotigo.
How has the partnership with Salesforce helped you to innovate and overcome challenges?
Immediately, the AppExchange marketplace helped us to increase visibility of Xotigo to potential customers and drive awareness and engagement. Salesforce also provides a seasonal release of 300 new features, three times a year, and this regular cadence of innovation provides the basis for our highly skilled team to maximise the platform capability and to deliver the best service to our customers.
The exposure you get to internal sales teams is equally powerful. Beyond the ongoing support they provide to help drive acquisitions, there are workshops and collaboration between our teams to help Xotigo stay at the forefront of customer needs. There is always someone to turn to for support, or answer your questions and, as a partner, you are able to tailor your package in a way that is effective for your solution and unique journey, as you grow and evolve.
How do you stay one step ahead of the curve?
The most important thing for us is to engage closely with our customers and to speak their language. We have a global network of partners from across the automotive industry who have a deep understanding of trends, priorities and challenges in this field. This helps us to ensure we understand our customers well. We also talk to them regularly and by listening to their daily challenges, we can use these insights to help shape our vision and roadmap for the Xotigo sales management suite. This keeps us at the forefront of customer needs and helps drive our mission to be the benchmark solution in the market.
Can you share a customer success story?
We have been working with Elmos — a semiconductor manufacturer for the automotive industry — since the very beginning of the company’s digital journey. After just 7 months, our opportunity management solution had been rolled out and Elmos is now the first company to use our sales contract management solution successfully, with more than 100 users globally.
Since sales teams at Elmos started to integrate Xotigo solutions, they have seen a higher level of user adoption and data quality. This has increased efficiency and improved time management, providing daily benefits, such as enabling the team to spend more time with customers. We are delighted to have delivered on our promise and to hear the team at Elmos share their satisfaction at how robust these solutions are, and the accelerated success they are seeing as a result.
What keeps you motivated?
I want to help make the lives of sales teams easier. I have been in those roles myself, as have the wider Xotigo team, so we know firsthand what the road-blockers and frustrations are. Our aim is to increase their efficiency so they can spend more time with customers, rather than entering redundant data and reporting the same information again and again. Helping sales teams to improve the way they work through digital transformation is what drives us.
What has been your biggest learning curve from founding your own business?
You have to deliver on your promises. Without this you lose trust and cannot build success. You have to stay close to your customers and listen to them in order to ensure you truly understand their needs.
It is also important to remember that things take time — especially in the B2B business — and it can take longer than expected to make your first sale. This doesn’t reflect the quality of your offering or your personal skills, the sales cycle can just be very slow — for us, it can take up to 2 years. The important thing is not to get nervous; you have to believe in yourself and stay ambitious.
Xotigo is a sales management solution helping automotive industry professionals drive process excellence and digital transformation. Find out more here.