Solving Expensive Problems
To kick off this Alphasights review, Imagine the following….
You work for one of the most largest private equity firms in the US. At 7:30 PM on a random Thursday, you get a phone call from the head of corporate development at a large conglomerate which happens to own, among many other holdings, a leading distributor of an industrial product. You’ve spoken before but there is an odd intensity in their voice.
They need to sell the business. Right Now. For obscure reasons that are beyond the point of this article. They’re coming to you in hopes of a large check, which your bosses and investors will need to fund.
In any event, you need to quickly master the nuances of an industry you’ve never heard of. By next Monday. For a billion dollar acquisition.
Who you gonna call to find industry experts? (Ghostbusters theme plays…)
Enter The Expert (Networks)
Have you recently changed jobs after holding an executive position at an industry-leading company? Did you change industries in the process? Then there’s a good change you’ve received a polite note in your LinkedIn inbox soliciting your perspective on your former industry.
You, my friend, are considered an industry expert. Hedge fund managers, institutional investors, strategy consultancies, and thousands of other potential clients are crowding your doorstep, hoping for just a little bit of your expertise and insight into the industry- and they’re willing to pay. Handsomely.
Welcome to the wonderful world of expert network consulting.
What is Alphasights? What does Alphasights do?
The Alphasights expert network service helps top tier management consulting firms and private equity investors connect with senior level experts in specific industries. They are looking for subject matter experts with deep knowledge of a particular industry to help them quickly learn the competitive landscape and create strategies.
Alphasights consulting serves as a match-maker, helping connect senior executives with companies who need access to their expertise. The typical format is a one hour phone call, at a fairly high rate, where you answer questions from a management consultant or investment management firm. You generally don’t need to do much in the way of pre-call and follow-up work. Payment is handled via a standard process after the call is completed; you don’t need to invoice or chase people down to collect money.
They have boiled this down to a larger model they refer to as the BREAD process.
The goal of this Alphasights review is to give you perspective on the opportunity. I was a bit nervous the first time they called me. However, this has turned into a highly profitable side business for me over the past year.
Alphasights Review: What Kind of Questions Are You Asked?
While the questions you are asked in an Alphasights expert interview will vary by client, I’ve found that three topics tend to predominate:
- Identify & Discuss key competitors
- Explain How The Business Works
- Share perspective on a trend or event
The typical consulting call resembles a briefing you might provide a new employee at your company who came from outside the industry. Who are the key players in an industry? How do they compete? What are the weird things specific to the business that you need to know?
Alternatively, your client may have already researched the industry and wants to get an insider’s perspective on an idea or development to supplement that primary research. If tarriffs on imports rose 25%, how would the industry react? Do you consider a specific brand as being “qualified” to compete for certain types of business? Would a 15% discount be enough to get a typical company to consider switching to a new supplier? Or are there other factors which their strategic planning team should be aware of?
One major warning: be careful about sharing confidential information with your consulting clients. You want to stay in compliance with insider trading regulations, especially when dealing with publicly traded companies. Your expert consultation is a conversation, but try to map out key points ahead of time to avoid discussing confidential information accidentally.
Setting Your Alphasights Advisor Compensation
Here’s some guidance on setting your Alphasights consulting rate. New consultants should be able to get between $150 and $300 per hour. After you get some experience on the platform, consider raising your rates – especially if you regularly start getting invited to consult on a specialized area.
As we mentioned in our article about expert network consulting, you’ve got some lattitude in how you set your rate per hour. The good thing about this type of consulting, as opposed to independent consultants, is you’re dealing with people who are trying to make high dollar decisions in a very short amount of time. Per this article in bloomberg, supposedly investors are willing to go up into 4 figures ($1300 – $2000) for highly qualified expert consultations. They are getting paid a lot of money and your services are an expense item which can be easily billed to their clients.
Job Searchers: Alphasights as Professional Development
For those of you who are looking for your next job opportunity, I’ll share that I found the Alphasights calls to be an extremely productive professional development opportunity. You’re going to be regularly sharing your industry expertise with senior level clients (investment funds, strategy consultancies), who will ask you a question and frequently debate you on key points. This was some of the best “interview prep” for executive roles that I’ve received… and I was paid to do it.
There is an art to being a good advisor and these are transferable skills: knowing how to concisely answer a clients’ questions and help them make better decisions via sharing specific expertise is essential to strategy roles at major corporations. There’s very little different between being able to package relevant knowledge to fill a clients’ knowledge gaps and briefing a CEO on an issue. This also gives industry experts an easy way to stay current on developments, since you will be regularly discussing topics that are top of mind to industry executives, consultants, and investors.
The scope of these interviews can be very broad. Revenue generation? Almost certainly will be a topic. Any cutting edge technology or disruptive capital investments will generate keen interest. Clients will want to know the fastest growing companies in that industry. Even topics like how does you manage remote work, lead a client service team, or recruit a diverse global team are on the agenda right now. All of which are great practice for an executive interview in 2021…
Seriously… I was an AMAZINGLY well prepared candidate for my last executive job interview, primarily since I’d explained how a similar industry operated at least a dozen times…
Alphasight Review: Is Alphasights Legit?
Absolutely. I (the author) have been doing business with them for over a year and have made several thousand dollars from these consultations (in a fairly boring industry). They pay on time and without drama. You are at the mercy of the selection process and client conflicts. You will be solicited to apply to a number of engagements, not all of which you may be selected for. Along the same lines, there is a risk of the client cancelling on short notice. While not guaranteed, they have generally tried to make it up to me when the client had to reschedule at the last minute.
Who are Alphasights Competitors?
Alphasights is actually one of a group of expert network companies and information brokers. Leading competitors include GLG consulting, Guidepoint, and Magellan Research. GLG is actually one of the largest expert networks and offers several levels of participation. This Alphasights review is the first in our collection of expert network reviews so bookmark this page and check back for more details.
Raise Your Profile – Other Expert Networks (Signup Links)
If you’re interested in raising your profile as an expert, run through the list below and sign up for the networks which are relevant to your skills and geography.
- AlphaSights (Check out our Review here and notes about their process)
- Emissary.io (Expert Network Helping Sales Executives)
- Third Bridge
- Atheneum Partners – European Network that went global
- Axon Advisors – Medium Sized US based Network
- BCC Global – Chinese / Emerging Markets Focused
- Business Talent Group – Management Consulting Engagements
- Candour – Expert Network focused on the Energy Sector
- Capvision – Expert Network Serving China
- Clarity – Pay per Minute Phone Calls for Entrepreneurs
- ENG – US Based Expert Network Serving Investors
- Experfy – US Based, Data Science Focused (Project Board)
- ExpertConnect – US Based Expert Network
- Experts Council – International Expert Network
- LYNK – Global Expert Network (Founded in Asia, Expanded)
- Magellan Research – US Based Expert Network Serving Investors
- Maven Research – US Based Expert Network
- Mosaic Research – US Based Expert Network
- Noble Insights – US Based Expert Network
- OnFrontiers – US Based Expert Network
- Primary Insight – US Based Expert Network
- RidgeTop Research – US Based Expert Network
- Slingshot – US Based Expert Network (group calls)
- Tegus – US Based Expert Network
- Zintro – US Based Expert Network (project board)
- Deep Bench – US Based Expert Network
- Expert Engine – US Based Expert Network
- The Network of Experts / Greenwood Research (US)