Get to know the people and the passion behind Tivian
In this exciting new ‘5 minutes with’ series, we’re taking a closer look at some of the incredible people who power Tivian.
Our guest today is Alex Osbaldeston, who is Solutions Director at Tivian and is based in our London office. Join us as we delve into his background, expertise, and what drives his passion for Tivian’s mission.
Hi Alex, thanks for chatting with us. Before we get into your career detail, please could you share a few things about yourself, including your inspirations and the values that mean the most to you.
What or who has inspired you most in your life, and why?
My first inspiration was my Grandad on my Mum’s side. He was in the Navy when he was younger and a Maths teacher later in life. He was from Glasgow and a massive Celtic fan. What I loved about him was how funny and loving he was and how amazingly sharp too. He was still doing private Maths lessons for kids doing their A-levels well into his 80s. He made me keen to do well at school and work. Work hard, use your brain, and be good to people were the lessons he instilled in me.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
It would have to be something about how to manage my finances better. I was useless with money in my 20s!
What are the values you hold most dear to you?
Honesty and openness. Especially in sales. There will always be a little exaggeration or sometimes hiding the complexity behind a solution, but it’s essential that we can deliver what the customers want. Equally, from the customer side, they must be straight with us too.
If you could be anyone else, who would you be and why?
This answer is going to make me sound about 10 years old, but honestly, any Formula 1 driver! Even one of the worst ones. I love racing.
You can invite four people to dinner (dead or alive). Who would they be, and why?
Ryan Reynolds – he’s hilarious, genuine, and a late starter in becoming a football fan, same as me.
Gordon Ramsay – I love cooking, and I like a challenge. It would be tough but good to be able to give him something he didn’t think was awful!
Jeremy Clarkson – I know he’s a Marmite character, but he makes me laugh. Clarkson’s Farm is a wonderful show, and I grew up watching Top Gear.
John Niven – my favourite author. He’s a brilliant, foul-mouthed Scot and has written several hilarious books. I can particularly recommend The Amateurs, even if you hate golf (it’s about a golfer). He’s also a bit of a foodie.
With these four, the conversation would be filthy and funny! That’s what I want from a dinner party – a bloody good laugh!
What is the go-to song you tune in to when you want to feel uplifted?
Picking one song is really hard. I have dozens of songs, possibly hundreds, that, on any given day, one might be my chosen pick-me-up. Most of them are Indie classics that take me back to the 90s. Let’s go for “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis. A guaranteed dance floor filler from a band that took their name from the bad guys in the Goonies – what’s not to like?
Moving on to your career …
Tell us about your background before joining Tivian?
I’d been working at a small marketing and market research agency part-time during university, and I joined them full-time when I graduated. There, I found I loved the more technical side of things than the research. I learned to program a bit and worked mainly on automating so many of their manual processes. My love of technology grew, so from there, I moved to a company reselling an Australian software package for market research in the UK. I worked my way up there for a time before deciding to start the UK subsidiary of Globalpark with a colleague.
Starting a business more or less from scratch (albeit with the product ready to sell) was one of the best and most terrifying things I’ve done, but it worked! We grew that UK team for a few years and gained many new customers before Globalpark became Questback. And then, obviously, Questback is now Tivian.
I’ve been working with EFS now for nearly 18 years (although it wasn’t called that at the start). I’ve been through three different company names and probably 7+ different managers in that time and faced a million successes and challenges along the way.
What does your role entail?
My primary role is Presales. That means helping our sales team with presentations and demos, responding to RFP questionnaires about technology infrastructure, going through prospects´due diligence processes with them and ultimately proving that Tivian is the right partner for them from a technology, people, processes, and governance perspective. A successful sales process typically involves a salesperson and a presales person complimenting each other’s skills perfectly. The salesperson will drive the opportunity and the relationship. The presales person will demonstrate skill experience and inspire confidence.
What prompted you to move into Presales?
The expression “everybody is in sales” has always been true for me since the very start. When a company is very small, it’s extremely relevant as I was selling just as much as I was working on delivery. I did run Professional Services in the UK for quite a long time, but even then, my role was as much about helping the sales team bring in new customers as it was about getting projects delivered on time and within budget. Ultimately though, I’m better on the sales side. I’m good at getting people to trust me. I do this by being able to reference all the previous successes I’ve been a part of, as well as being honest about what we can do for the next prospect in front of me.
What does an average day at Tivian look like?
My days are quite varied as they ebb and flow with sales cycles. Most days, I work from home, although I do go into the office or meet up with customers and/or colleagues a few times a month. We have some regular internal team meetings, but the best days are the ones when I meet customers or prospects. Sometimes, I might dedicate a whole day to building a very bespoke demo for someone; other days, I might have 200 questions to answer for a prospect’s IT due diligence questionnaire. As Burt Reynold’s character said in Smokey and The Bandit: “I just go from place to place and do what I do best. Show off!”
How has the role of HR and technology changed in the last five years?
The willingness of HR teams to do things themselves rather than rely on external consultants continues to grow, as does their expectations of what technology can deliver for them.
What trends can you see happening in the industry next year?
You can only go 5 minutes with someone mentioning AI in our industry, whether that be in relation to EX, CX or MR. Apart from text analytics though, no-one really seems to have a good grasp on how to harness it. This will change. Certainly at Tivian we have some exciting ideas we want to develop in 2024, way beyond the text analytics we already have.
How does Tivian help businesses?
Tivian helps businesses improve their relationship with their employees and their customers. This saves money, generates growth, and provides a route to success.
Thanks so much for your time Alex and for sharing your thoughts, insights, and story with us.
Before you go, please could you share one interesting fact about you (outside of work)?
I was never much of a football fan before I had children. I half-heartedly followed Tottenham Hotspur. However, since I have two boys who are both barmy about football, they’ve dragged me into it, and now I’m dedicated. Not just to Spurs, but I also help run a grassroots football club for kids called Worplesdon Rangers – I’m the commercial guy – sponsorship, kits, fundraising, etc., as well as organising matches, pitch hires, referees and all sorts! Oh, and I run the website too. Tivian has sponsored a team’s kit in the past as well. Twice, in fact (once as Questback, the other time as Tivian). In fact, some old Questback kit even made its way to a children’s orphanage in Uganda.
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