My Internship with GridPoint During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape for almost every business in the United States and most of the world. It seems like overnight everything transitioned to the “new normal” of remote work, social distancing, and face masks – and my internship at GridPoint was no exception. Up until now every job or internship that I’ve had has been in person, luckily GridPoint already had many remote employees helping to make the transition easier. Just like many other working professionals, the new normal for me would include Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meets.  This virtual experience would be a big part of this summer and I knew it would be an adjustment from previous professional experiences.

My time with GridPoint was spent working with their sales team and it was broken up into four sections, spending two weeks with each team within the department. The goal was to learn about each sales function and get a broad experience in generating leads, nurturing customer relationships, managing channel and partner opportunities, and marketing strategies for brand awareness and thought leadership.

The first stop was with GridPoint’s Customer Success team, the group responsible for maintaining customer relationships once they are brought into the GridPoint portfolio. The team walked me through their processes and metrics which made it easy to understand how they communicated with and provided value for each account. I began to better understand the type of customers GridPoint interacts with and all the hard work that goes into crafting the best solution to fit their needs. Working with the Customer Success team granted me an appreciation for the ongoing internal effort to drive long-term customer success. I was able to attend a few customer meetings and observed the team’s use of data and controls to proactively help customers respond to the new norms of business during COVID-19. Beginning my internship with Customer Success helped me to really understand the customer base and I used this as the foundation of knowledge for the rest of my time with GridPoint.

After Customer Success, I transitioned over to the Lead Generation team. This is the team tasked with identifying and prospecting potential customers for GridPoint.  Finding new opportunities meant that I would have to do some vetting of prospects to make sure I was providing quality leads with the most value-potential.  Part of that quality comes from ensuring that those prospects will find value in GridPoint solutions in the first place. I was able to take what I learned with Customer Success and build upon it by gaining a greater understanding of the flexibility of GridPoint’s solution, and how it can benefit many different sectors in different ways. My greatest takeaway from those two weeks was seeing the power of raw data. Engaging with the team and observing how the data is used to build a business case was definitely a valuable insight for me.

Weeks five and six were spent with the Channel Sales team. Prior to this experience, I didn’t have a comprehensive picture of what channel sales really meant – it’s a broad term. But thanks to the team’s expertise I caught on quickly and found out the importance of GridPoint’s channel strategy. Channel partners can open doors to new markets that a direct sales team doesn’t have clear access to, which is key to scaling – especially in the dynamic energy technology market. I got to see everything from ongoing work being done with long-time partners, to new channel relationships just starting to form. A common theme among these partners was the synergy their technologies shared with GridPoint’s technology. I found a lot of value in seeing groups from different companies work together like they’ve been coworkers for years – through digital platforms, nonetheless. On top of observing those conversations, I was tasked with doing some competitive intelligence work. I really enjoyed this project because it showed me just how complex the energy management industry is and how many companies are involved. It also taught me the importance of understanding how competition can come from many different places and that if a company wants to survive it can never get too complacent.

My final two weeks were spent with the Marketing team. This was a great place to end because it enabled me to bring everything I’d learned full-circle to help relay the GridPoint message.  I was able to further my competitive intelligence analysis and I learned the importance of clear messaging as energy evolves and new competitors enter the space. The goal was to look more at how other companies sell and portray themselves in their branding, marketing collateral, websites, and other digital platforms. Attending various webinars hosted by thought leaders in the energy space helped me see firsthand how GridPoint was positioned in the market and its ability to pivot with trends in the energy technology sector. So much of the perception of a company is rooted in how they deliver their message and differentiate the brand. Another reason I liked ending with the Marketing team was because, through this very blog post, they gave me an opportunity to reflect on my time with the company and pull together everything I’ve learned.

I had a great time interning with GridPoint. The fact that it was entirely remote ended up being a much smaller issue than I anticipated. The company is already pretty spread out, so they were well equipped to help me adjust to the new format. I learned a lot during my time with GridPoint and I definitely stayed busy. All of the team members took my time seriously and allowed me to work on projects that not only provided the company value but also gave me experience that I know I can use in my future career. I’ve always told myself that I would never work in sales unless I really believed in what I was selling. I’m happy to say that I believe in GridPoint’s mission and I believe even more in the people that are carrying out that mission to achieve a more sustainable future.

 

 

Nick Wilms
Originally from Ashtabula, Ohio, Nick is a Junior at American University in Washington, DC, majoring in economics.