Alexandra Ahlström – Senior Account Manager
"I have a family at home and a family at work"
After seven years as Account Manager at a multinational company in the employment sector, Alexandra Ahlström had grown tired feeling like a cog in the big machine.
"At Borg & Owilli, we work closely together. We are hungry for business, fight towards the same objectives and have a lot of fun together along the way," says Alexandra.
Alexandra grew up in Stockholm and attended a senior secondary school program focusing on leadership, communication, and rhetoric. After graduating, she began working in administration and invoice management at Nordea. In the autumn of 2012, she found out that the employment agency Adecco was on the lookout for ten new salespeople who would also be trained by the company.
"I sat cyberloafing one day and clicked on Isabella Löwengrip's blog, in which she mentioned Adecco's trainee program. I was already interested in sales and felt I should give it a try. After an extensive recruitment process, I finally grabbed one of the coveted places.
In the 18-month trainee program, she worked in all departments at Adecco and identified her own sales profile.
"We got to try everything from prospecting and needs orientation to actually going out to meetings, closing quotations, and concluding agreements. It was a fantastic school and the knowledge I picked up at Adecco I will benefit from all my life.
"I worked a lot with the SME segment, who were tricky customers at times. This type of service is expensive, so my job was to help the customer understand the value of hiring staff.
Smaller companies like Borg & Owilli have a different soul. We have so much fun together and fight towards the same objectives.
Important qualities as an Account Manager
When the programme ended, Alexandra continued in the role of Account Manager. However, after a spontaneous breakfast with Borg & Owilli's owners, David Borg and Mike Owilli, she became curious and was inspired to try working in the media sector. In addition, she was looking for a smaller company, unlike the multinational Adecco.
"There is a huge difference. Smaller companies like Borg & Owilli have a different soul. I have a family at home that I would love just to be with – but then it feels very nice to have a family in my workplace too. We have so much fun together and fight towards the same objectives.
Alexandra says that she is motivated by being able to do many good deals – quickly.
"At Adecco, the sales cycle was sometimes six months. That takes the edge off the fun of the sale itself. Here I share my business interests with my colleagues in a completely different way – everyone is hungry for business and I think that also gives you the best conditions for success!
After six months as Senior Account Manager at Borg & Owilli, Alexandra went on maternity leave, but since October she has been back at the company – now in the role of Team Manager.
"I really got a reawakening when I came back from maternity leave and I appreciate having been given the time and opportunity to structure my working day. I feel that I get the opportunity to find my way in the role of Team Manager, where I am responsible for a team that works with both print and digital.
"Overall, it’s important to find a good structure as a parent of two young children, to be effective at work and not to bring it home in the evenings. Today I work 75 per cent and that works well. It's all about trying to leave in good time – to structure and plan the day so that you get a good flow.
Where will you and your sales team be in six months?
"My hope is that we are the best sales team in the group, but also that we are the team that puts real energy into our contribution, that we talk a lot and give a lot. I want to do a good balancing act where I can motivate others, contribute energy myself and help my team achieve its target.
What qualities are valuable in the role of Account Manager at Borg & Owilli?
"I think being business-minded goes a long way, together with commitment and drive. This is a job where there are a lot of ups and downs. We have all the conditions in place, in the form of managers who coach and help you get back on your feet, but in the end, it's about motivating yourself to keep going during the tough periods.
- "Something that is less important is your background. Basically, we have every different background you can think of here. It is really just something that provides enrichment and means that you can come up with new ideas and approaches in conversations with customers.
Basically, we have every different background you can think of here. It is really just something that provides enrichment to our work.
Photo: Erik Reimers