Chris Brenner is a Senior Account Manager at AlphaKOR Group and has been with the company for over 23 years! Throughout his career, Chris has worn many hats that allowed him to be an integral part of the Sales Department. Over the years, Chris has watched the company grow today to be a leading full-service business technology provider in Southwestern Ontario.
In this employee interview, Chris discusses professional growth, caring for your clients, the importance of organizational culture, and more! Meet Chris:
What drew you to this position?
When I was hurt in a punch press accident, I went back to school for Software Development and Technical. I then went to an interview at AlphaKOR and obtained a position in sales. I had originally wanted to be a technician but there were no openings at the time. I accepted the job because I really wanted to be part of building a new business.
Working in sales felt like a natural position for me. I have always had the gift of facilitating conversation, and I feel as though if I was not here I probably would have ended up in a sales position elsewhere.
What does the average day look like for you in your role?
The average day in this role varies, and that is what makes this job exciting! I could be doing a lot of follow-ups and quotes, and other times I am going through my clients and touching base with them, and figuring out what needs to be done. Every day is different, and some days are more exciting than others, but I love working with my clients.
When I first started working at AlphaKOR, I was selling to home users and setting up meetings. Now it is surreal to see how much the Sales Department alone has grown. I’m ecstatic to see what the four partners have accomplished over the past 25 years and how I have contributed to that growth. It is cool, and I feel so proud to be part of AlphaKOR’s growth and transformation over the years!
What is the most exciting part of your job?
For me, it is working with my clients. My clients are the reason why I chose to stay in this position. I get to know my clients, and for many of them, I have had them for over 20 years! Helping clients grow with the business and with technology is the best part of my job; it is so fulfilling to see how much my clients’ businesses have grown and changed over the years.
What is the least exciting part of your job?
For me, it’s the cold calling. When people are not expecting or are not open to a sales pitch, they make it well known.
Did you work in management or sales before this role?
I had a technical background before working at AlphaKOR Group. My love for computers started back in the old days of DOS when I would digitize everything for an embroidery company. Before that, I was on the road with bands doing their lighting and pyro, so computers have been part of my life for a long time.
What is it like managing your time while working on multiple projects?
I am very lucky to manage over 100 clients, which is a lot, but I manage my time by breaking down tasks and scheduling my time. Sometimes I may have many projects to work on simultaneously, but the juggling is what makes it exciting! I use various software and tools to help schedule my time. This way, I know my time is allocated properly and accordingly to each task or project. These tools also help me remember everything I must do which is nice. Back in the day, I used to remember everything!
What skillset is critical to your job?
The number one skill set critical to my job as a Senior Account Manager is communication! Having those communication skills to discuss projects with clients is very important in my role. A lot of the job duties require you to have strong interpersonal skills to get to know your clients and understand what they need, as well as communicating how you can help them. Relationship building is essential to being a successful Senior Account Manager.
What key qualities do you think Senior Account Managers should possess?
One of the key qualities I think Senior Account Managers should possess is the ability to care for the client. If you take care of your clients, your clients will take care of you. When you care for your clients, you get to experience the joy of watching their business be successful which is an amazing part of the job!
Are there any extra initiatives outside of your primary role that you take part in?
Over the years, I have worn many hats. I would do anything that was needed. I have done a lot of different jobs such as building and installing computers, purchasing, testing software, and more. When working for a small business, it is important to make yourself as useful as possible! This is why I took on so many different roles, I wanted to be essential to AlphaKOR’s business. It was also very exciting for me to have so much variety in my day-to-day role.
I am also part of the Health and Safety committee at AlphaKOR. We have grown to employ over 55 people, so even if I do not see everyone daily at work, part of my role on the Health and Safety committee is to meet with everyone and provide Health and Safety education.
How do you hope to grow in your field of work?
As I am pretty set in my career, I hope to grow by helping other sales professionals and account managers by being a good leader and role model. I try to foster a positive working environment by ensuring everyone feels welcomed, respected, and acknowledged. One of the best parts of my day is walking around the building and greeting everyone.
I think it is important to show how happy I am in my career because I have been here for over 23 years and I enjoy what I do! I like to make it known that I am available for anyone who needs help, no matter what department they are in.
What have you learned at AlphaKOR that has helped you grow personally?
Learning to be patient and take things one step at a time. Before working at AlphaKOR, I did not have patience, but working in this business I learned the importance of it.
For someone who would like to obtain a position in account management, what advice would you give to them?
Learn as much as you can! Make sure you take as many courses as you can and never stop learning. Right now, I would recommend taking courses in security.
For anyone looking to have a long career in Sales and Account Management, it is important to find a company that values its employees. The reason why I have had such longevity in my career is because of AlphaKOR’s ownership. They have always fostered a family-like culture and have truly cared for the team. Finding a company with an organizational culture where your values are aligned is very important.