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An Interview with Alexander Low

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Interviews,

Alexander Low

Alexander Low

Managing Consultant at PA Consulting

Key Topics:Social Selling, Digital Selling, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Dynamics 365 CRM, Guided Selling.

Over 15 years in sales, spanning 4 industries, recruitment, accountancy, law, and commercial real estate. I have set up key client programs, underpinned by CRM use and processes. Implemented LinkedIn Sales Navigator at the law firm I was at and the commercial real estate firms. This netted 500k in net new business and built a pipeline of £4.9m, all through social selling. 2017 - 2021 I was an independent consultant, guiding sales, marketing, lawyers, and accountants on how to build social and digital into their go-to-market strategy, to create a better pipeline, client account management, and account-based marketing results. I am now with PA Consulting supporting clients on their end-to-end sales transformation journeys.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

My move into recruitment, recruiting sales professionals into sales roles for the IT & Telco sector was my introduction to LinkedIn. I have been on LinkedIn since March 2005, that is where my journey into social selling, and more broadly digital selling started. Back then, LinkedIn was very much for recruitment vs. what we see today. I made the move to PwC, where I was looking more at how one could use LinkedIn to map relationships and who knows who, at an account level. It was a challenge as it relied on people connecting with each other internally and also with their clients on LinkedIn. I moved to a Law firm in 2011, where I helped set up their CRM & Key Client programme.

The summer of 2013 where was when it really changed. LinkedIn launched Sales Navigator and this was what I had been waiting for. It started to unlock the untapped potential I knew LinkedIn had, but couldn’t access – namely relationships we didn’t know existed across our clients and target clients. From here, I moved on to Jones Lang LaSalle where I implemented (according to LinkedIn) the first-ever social selling programme in the commercial real estate sector, using LinkedIn & LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This programme embraced a change in behaviour and approach in how to use both for business development and key client management purposes. It generated 500k net new business and a pipeline of £4.9m, that was what we were able to record, I am certain there was more we could attribute to social. This was 2015/2016, which started me to consider the wider role, CRM and Sales & Marketing data, can and should play.

In 2017 I set up my own business as an independent consultant, creating training and coaching programmes around the behaviour changes needed to adopt social/digital selling. I worked primarily across the Professional Services sector, as well as Tech. Programmes were anything from a 6-week sprint to my longest-serving law firm client which was 2 years, 700 plus lawyers later. I built working relationships with both LinkedIn and some Microsoft partners, supporting their clients on adoption and proving ROI on LinkedIn Sales Navigator and social /digital selling. These conversations broadened into how to use sales data, intent data, marketing data to make better and more informed decisions in the end to end sales process. This leads me to where I am now, joining PA Consulting, and end to end digital transformation business where we support sales & marketing functions on just that.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

The varying pieces of the end to end sales process. This includes, do you have a robust account plan, territory plan, go to market in place. What does your sales tech tack look like, are you getting the best out of it you possibly can, before layering another piece of tech on it to fix a perceived problem. How are you using your own sales & marketing data and 3rd party data to inform this and execute accordingly? People, Reward and Wellbeing – do you have the right people in the right role, doing the right actions to support your GTM? Is your reward fit for purpose to support this. How are you supporting the well being of your sales teams – are you using data to help guide you to make the appropriate interventions. How are you considering automation and AI to support the processes where appropriate.

Who influences you within these topics?

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

For some, it is where to start. As we come out of the other side of the pandemic, trying to understand what this means and how to adapt. It’s clear that buyers are happy with, for the most part, buying in a virtual way. The role of the salesperson is changing, some might argue, is less relevant. Therefore, how do you understand what the role of the salesperson is, and where do they need to be during the sales process, either virtual, hybrid or in person. The need for talent is real, which lends itself to the reward, wellbeing and purpose that a brand has to present. Along with, can your current talent adapt to the new ways of working and selling. For example, field sales roles, are these even fit for purpose today? There integration of sales & marketing, for them to be aligned is key, however, for the most, they have different measures, which creates tension between the two as the end goals are not necessarily aligned on this. Think MQL vs SQL conversation. Are these even fit for purpose, some argue not.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

Forrester and Seth Marrs are referring to “Dynamic Guided Selling” – this taking a quasi b2c approach in b2b sales. Be in the right place at the right time with the right information, supported by technology, data, automation & ai, led by people. Voice for me is a big one. Customer Intelligence of CI as it’s known is the next data play in all of this. Gong & Refract are examples of platforms that help in this, it’s more for coaching sales reps. If one considers what Microsoft is doing in this space with real-time recommendations for customer service teams, based on the conversation that is happening in real-time.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

This is the next step in the evolution of sales & marketing, I don’t believe there is a single brand that has this in place; however, the sales engagement market is certainly leading the way in automation, such as Salesloft, Outreach & Gong. Microsoft & Salesforce are of course big players in this space. It’s all to play for. Whether you are a large or small business, the opportunity presents itself to everyone.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

Podcasts, webinars, whitepaper, speaking opportunities, product innovation, video interviews

What are your passions outside of work?

Cycling, Skiing and BBq.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

By Email.

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