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Ahead of the Curve: Business Lessons from Uber

Posted by Rebecca Spary on 6/27/17 11:00 AM

Whether you love them or hate them, there is no doubt that Uber is one of the most successful and fast-growing businesses in recent history.

Starting back in 2009, Uber has risen through the ranks to become a cornerstone of the modern world, offering their consumer-driven, ride-sharing services in 300 cities around the world. With a valuation of $70 billion they’re an inspiration to many (Geektime, 2017).

Certainly, much of the firm’s success can be attributed to the genius of the operation. It offers not only a more affordable way for customers to get around but also plenty of jobs to boost the economy.” (Geektime, 2017).

Uber’s innovative spirit and business acumen allows them to stay top-dog in the rapidly advancing ride-sharing market. Check out these valuable marketing, sales, and business lessons that we can learn from Uber’s ups (and downs).

Staying Ahead of the Curve - Marketing, Business, and Sales Lessons that we can Learn from Uber .png



Driving with Purpose

Becoming a successful Uber driver isn’t as simple as it may appear on the surface. Drivers have to be strategic about their time and their fares. They have to be inventive in their approach to find as many rides as possible. Of course, drivers can just cruise around searching for fares, but the best course of action is to go where they know people will need their services. 

This is any important lesson for marketers, who have a tendency to create without purpose. Marketers should be focusing on building content that will help sales to identify their prospect’s needs. For example, ROI calculators, business cases, and consumer research reports can help sellers to determine where the greatest need is. The right marketing content is essential to the process of uncovering the customer’s needs.

Proceed with Understanding

Successful Uber drivers think about who their target audience is and what they need. They assess who they want their passengers to be. Deciding, for example, if they would rather have the morning commuter crowd or the late night bar pickup. By driving different target markets, an Uber driver can determine which one is most profitable.

The best marketers approach their job in the same way. They have a variety of buyer personas that they need to convert; each with their own needs and common behaviours. Marketing must audit their content to determine if its addressing the needs of their existing buyer personas, what sales is sharing, and what content gets the best engagement from their prospects, making sure that there are no content gaps or missed opportunities.

For more information about how to effectively target specific accounts and prospects check out our previous blog: 5 Reasons to use Account Based Marketing for Your Digital Sales Content

An example of Uber's marketing and advertising and how they are attracting their desired target market.jpg(Image via Miami Ad Company)



You’re in the Driver’s Seat

Uber drivers are essentially their own bosses, and they’re in charge of their own success. They receive performance reviews in the form of a rating after every passenger leaves their car, and the amount of money they make, from both ride payouts and tips, is dependent on where and when they drive. 

While not all businesses allow for this kind of self-management and agency, it’s important to take away the key lesson that you’re in charge of your own success. In business no one is going to hand you a winning idea, a terrific deal, a great website, it’s your responsibility to take the tools your given (a car, a driver’s license, and your Uber user profile), and turn it into something profitable.

Take Control of the Vehicle

Recently Uber has been hit by a variety of controversies: attempting to profit of the taxi protest in New York in January, and the sexual harassment allegations in February, leading to a public outcry and many users ditching the service. Could proper leadership have prevented this? In short, yes. Former CEO Travis Kalanick was the face of Uber’s brand during this troubling time, and rather than addressing these issues, he appeared indifferent and evasive. This poor leadership eroded the public’s trust and negatively impacted the culture and brand that they had worked so hard to build (Business Insider, 2017).

Many are hailing Kalanick’s departure from Uber, as the first step towards their reinvention (NYTimes, 2017). His toxic image and poor leadership will no longer be associated with the brand. Uber’s new leadership should focus on the downfalls of the previous emperor. Rather than being concerned solely with profit, they should be willing to admit their mistakes, and begin to work on solutions. By focusing on healing past and current employees negative experiences Uber can work towards improving their image, rebuilding their brand, and doing what they do best.

"I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight" a statement from Travis Kalanick about his resignation as CEO of Uber .png
(Quote from the NYTimes)



Ahead of the Curve

Uber is an innovative company, not only were they the first to drive into the ride-sharing market, but they aren’t afraid to take bold risks and diversify. They have created many extensions to their original service, such as UberEATS, UberASSIST, and UberFRESH (Business Insider, 2015). Uber is catering to their customers’ evolving needs. They recognize the different applications that their service can provide, and they fill the gap in the market. This allows Uber to serve the needs of a greater number of prospects, and build stronger brand relationships with their existing customers.

Sales and marketing professionals must think in the same way. They have to be prepared to try new things, embrace the latest sales technologies, and make data-driven decisions. They have to constantly strive to improve and look ahead of the curve. They can do this by reaching out to their prospects, completing market and competitor research, and making sure that all business operations are properly aligned.

Check out our inforgraphic featuring 9 Sales Lessons That Every Sales Professional Should Know.

Turn the Radio On and Listen

All Uber drivers receive a 13-minute crash-course video detailing the common practices that will help them to receive the coveted 5 star rating. Tips include: opening doors for passengers, having phone chargers available, and dressing professionally (Growth Lab). But those who really want to succeed in the business know that this is just the bare minimum.

Customer research is an easy way to deliver the best service for your audience. The best Uber drivers do this by asking their passenger questions:

  • Do you want the radio on?
  • Is the temperature okay?
  • Would you care for a bottle of water?

And they make sure to listen to the answer and adjust their service accordingly, making the experience as enjoyable as possible, and adding a level of personalization. Sales professionals can do the same. They can act out the role of the customer, and determine what improvements can be made to sales experience. We guarantee you’ll always find something that you can work on, even if it’s a small touch point, it can lead to big business results

Sales professionals can take advice of the best Uber drivers of personalizing the sales experience to the needs of thier customers to create an enjoyable and successful experience.png


The End of the Road

With this level of innovation, creativity, and consumer understanding, it’s no wonder that Uber is so successful. Any company or individual that demonstrates this level of dedication to solving the needs of their target customers, while delivering a quality service, deserves their success.

If you're interested in learning about how WHUT can help you to adapt to the modern sales environment and the increasing demands of customers and prospects, then reach out to one of our sales professionals today. 

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Topics: Sales, Marketing, Account Based Marketing