In our latest instalment of the Q+A blog series, we spoke to Alex Hall, Market Development Representative at InterSystems UK for insight into his career so far and his thoughts on the current state of marketing and data in the Covid-19 era.
What’s your job role at InterSystems and what does it involve?
I’m a Market Development Representative at InterSystems. My typical working day provides me with the opportunity to work with prospects and clients to understand their business challenges and determine how technology can help solve them. I like to think of myself as a conduit between the marketing and sales teams by delivering qualified opportunities for the business.
Can you give a brief background of your career prior to InterSystems?
Prior to joining InterSystems, I worked for numerous system integrators, selling a variety of technologies into the public sector, most predominantly the NHS. Over the years I’ve witnessed first-hand how technology has helped the NHS. X-rays for example used to be filed away in drawers, wasting valuable space in hospitals, but now they use picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), essentially medical imaging technology, to store, retrieve, present and share images.
What attracted you to the role/business?
The role proved to be a perfect fit for my background and expertise in technical sales, but at the same time I had to make lifestyle changes due to my illness and being unable to drive. I immediately knew after my first interview that I wanted the role as I love and admire how InterSystems technology is helping to make a difference to lives and communities. I’ve been with InterSystems for four years, although I’ve just come back to work after having two years off, and InterSystems has been extremely supportive of me and family during this time, which confirms to me that I made the right choice.
What’s a recent project you’re proud to have been involved in?
Recently I was involved in a project that targeted medical device companies, and focused on whether they needed their clinical data to go beyond the device. It was a highly interesting project, and I enjoyed the collaborative nature of working with external parties to publish the campaign. Despite being a booming industry, medtech organisations face many challenges in getting their products to markets, with interoperability often at the top of that list. It was great to be able to present a concise solution to this tricky problem, and to engage in conversations with prospects around their use of data.
What is your main motivation in your work life?
I get a huge amount of satisfaction from building and maintaining quality relationships – whether that’s with customers and prospects or my colleagues.
How had this year changed the way you engage with customers?
It’s certainly been a year of change for communication, with video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams becoming the new normal and replacing what might have previously been a face to face meeting or a call. Whilst this has presented its own challenges, it’s provided good reason to try all manner of new approaches and pushed me to be more creative in how I consider my engagements. I have been using my social channels more than ever and enjoy finding new connections and sharing my insights on different hot topics in the industry.
What changes to the world of business do you think are here to stay, if any?
I think that the rise in video calling during the pandemic will be something that continues into next year and beyond, which I think will coincide with more people choosing to work remotely once the pandemic is over. I think the norm of a 9-5 office-based job is on its way out, and it’s interesting to see companies respond creatively to this change in attitudes.
How is data important to you in your role?
Data is everything in market development, as accurate and insightful data is the crux of what I need to provide to the sales managers. In order for the sales managers to convert qualified opportunities, I need to provide as much useful information as possible, so from this point of view I am always collecting and analysing data from the various relationships I have.
Do you see AI as playing a role in marketing, either now or in the future?
I certainly think AI will have a role to play in digital marketing, particularly in big data analytics and gaining a greater insight into our target audience. It could also be used to automate processes such as PPC ads and web design in the future, while streamlining campaigns to be more effective.
Which technology do you think has been the most transformational in marketing in the last 10 years?
The automation platforms that are available to marketers now really enable them to report in more comprehensive and interesting ways. Any additional insight that they can provide from these platforms in terms of market figures and potential opportunities can enable me to be more prepared to make an outbound call with the right information in hand.
Tell us something about yourself that your work colleagues wouldn’t know!
Back in the early 1990s I appeared on British children’s TV show Grange Hill, which happened to be filmed in the same studio as Top of the Pops. It was there I had the opportunity to meet the band Heaven 17!