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CEO Chat – Talking to Alex Sayyah

by aleran
18 February, 2021

We checked in with Aleran CEO, Alex Sayyah, to hear a bit about his approach to management, what he sees as Aleran’s competitive edge, and how he’s been balancing work and home life over the last year.

What do you think differentiates Aleran in the B2B and B2C SaaS space?
“Since the beginning we’ve been obsessed with figuring out how to make complex, enterprise-grade technologies easy to use and affordable enough for the SMB or manufacturer. We know that clients will see a bump in their revenues when they switch to us.

We have standout retention rates (<5% customer attrition rate and an average customer lifespan 6-10 years), thanks to a superior product and our always available, Minneapolis-based customer care approach.

Our low-risk point of entry is also a big win with clients; we are subscription-based, with month-to-month pricing — no giant contracts that lock you in.”

What’s been different about operating over this past year?
“This has been a really interesting year for us, as so many of our customers and partners realized pretty much overnight that having an end-to-end sales platform would be essential for staying agile, staying competitive, and thriving in a remote, digital B2B and B2C landscape. Being able to provide the technology solution that has helped so many of our customers operate, sell, and even grow their businesses during this tumultuous year has been awesome and super rewarding.”

What are a few things you’ve learned that are central to your approach as a CEO?

“I make decisions early, fast, and with a lot of conviction. This business requires good instincts and a certain amount of adaptability and flexibility — even in the face of ambiguous  circumstances or unfamiliar domains.

I’ve always felt that making a decision, even if it turns out to be the wrong one, is better than indecision. Course correcting and pivoting is something I think you need to be able to do to succeed in business right now — standing still isn’t an option.

I also always try to operate from a place of understanding what different stakeholders need, really thinking through their motivations, and then I work to achieve buy-in from that perspective: how can we all align around this goal of value creation?”

How do you deal with time management and general work-life balance?
“I try to leave the office and shut down my computer by 7 PM every work day, but in reality I am always on, and the truth is I’ll often spend a few hours catching up on my work emails and other non-urgent work on my weekends.

I do try to practice agenda-based time allocation to avoid succumbing to the loudest voice in the room, but depending on the week 1/4 or even 1/3 of my time is spent in reactive mode, handling issues as they unfold.”

For fun, I am a pretty competitive guy so I play singles tennis a couple of hours every Sunday, and I play backgammon and poker with the same characters once or twice a month for money. I also watch Formula 1 races and English Premier League.”

Follow Alex on LinkedIn

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