Did you receive a LinkedIn invitation from an AlphaSights recruiter? Understand the key benefits of working with AlphaSights, one of the world’s most renowned expert networks. And learn how to become an attractive network member while maximising your hourly consulting rate.
Sophie Fischer – Our Expert Network Specialist: Sophie is from Hamburg, Germany and is our specialist on Expert Networks. After several years of working as a top executive, Sophie is now an independent consultant and is signed up as a council member of several networks. When she is not helping HuginX write Expert Network reviews, she can often be found enjoying thrilling Nordic noir crime series.
What is AlphaSights?
You may have been doubtful if you’ve ever received an expert request from a network such as AlphaSights. They offer hundreds of dollars for an hour to impart your expertise over a one-hour call with their clients. It might sound like a fraud; However, professional networks are in high demand and pay handsomely for those with valuable information about their industry. The invitation to join the AlphaSights network could be the key to getting a well-paid extra income and spending a minimum of time.
“Humanity’s collective knowledge is massively underutilized — it’s dispersed across millions of minds, hard to find, and cumbersome to access. We believe that human knowledge is the key to progress, prosperity, and the creation of a better future. We take great pride in our mission to unlock humanity’s knowledge and power progress for professionals, businesses, and society.” AlphaSights
AlphaSights and other expert networks make money using your subject matter skills. They’re well-paid middlemen and connect businesses with consultants in their own “community,” aka “expert network.” Why do businesses engage consultants? Because a single crucial decision can cost companies millions of dollars, and the cost of a few thousand dollars in consulting fees is nothing compared to the cost of hiring consultants.
How do Expert Networks operate?
New to expert networks? Here is a quick guide to 10 key steps networks take when matching experts with clients for ad-hoc phone consultations.
Expert networks such as AlphaSights can add tremendous value to consultancies and investment companies. For this reason, AlphaSights and more than 200 networks are raking in around $1.5 billion in revenue annually. These networks function as intermediaries between the experts and the companies that need them. Managers and investors require direct advice from those in the trenches and can offer advice before making an investment or deciding the direction they want to follow. AlphaSights clients want the “real tale” from insiders like you!
In exchange, AlphaSights makes a significant markup: An average consultant’s rate could be around $200/hour. However, AlphaSights typically charges clients up to $1,000 to facilitate conversations with experts from the industry who can give a complete update on the topic required. So, we can see the logic behind LinkedIn invitations that promise the possibility of earning thousands of dollars in a year. Although these offers might appear too good to be true, they are available for those qualified to participate in such projects. In fact, expert networks such as AlphaSights manage more than 1 million high-paying consultation calls annually.
Steps to sign up as an expert with AlphaSights
If you haven’t been contacted on LinkedIn yet, you can go to their website and apply to become a network expert member.
- Register: with your basic details on their website.
- Submit resume: Upload your CV and provide your professional history.
- Set your rate: Set your ideal hourly consulting rate.
If you already have a resume and an hourly consulting rate in mind, signing up with AlphaSights is a swift process. Once you have finished the 3 steps above, you must wait for your first project invitation.
If AlphaSights selects you to take part in a project, you’ll receive an invitation for pre-screening. Time is of the essence, and they will often try to hunt down experts as quickly as possible to line up a set of options for their clients.
Steps to start earning money once you’re signed up
- Project invitation: Be quick to answer the invitation which you will receive by either email, text message, or phone.
- Pre-screening: Provide good answers to the pre-screening questions
- Compliance: Take part in the compliance training and answer the related questions.
- Rate: Confirm the hourly consulting rate you will charge.
- Timeslot: Submit a few different options in terms of availability.
- Confirmation: When you’re good to go you’ll receive a final confirmation of the time of the meeting.
What can you expect to be asked during an AlphaSights consultation call?
Many clients pay more than 1,000 dollars per hour to gain information from experts like you. So, what can an expert contribute to an hour-long client call? In essence, three things:
- Company deep dive: Into a specific topic or company
- Industry overview: A high-level overview of an industry segment
- Recent event analysis: Focus on recent events, such as the effect of a big merger.
1. Company Deep Dive
There are many use cases for clients wanting a company deep dive. A common example is an investor who wants to know more about a company before making decisions. During the company deep-dive, the consultant might be asked to give information such as:
- Management information
- Views on customers’ opinions about a service or product
- Other information that isn’t available in reports
2. Industry Overview
The industry overview can be very comprehensive. In most cases, a business speaks with various consultants to create an overall picture of the industry, its clients, and its future. This type of call is often from investors at an early evaluation stage. Subjects discussed during the industry overview call might include:
- Expected industry growth-rates
- The impact of the latest trends
- Segmentation of verticals
- Movers & shakers within the industry
3. Recent Event Analysis
The third type of call is from firms that consult to understand the impact of recent events such as the pandemic, a recent war, or a big merger. This information can be important for investors looking to understand how the competitive landscape changes over time. Typical subjects you’ll be asked about include:
- The impact on specific products and services
- Changes in consumer demand
- Increased competition and price compression
- Short- and long-term changes in industry growth rates
A key advantage of working for an expert network is that you’re done once a consultancy call has ended, and you hang up the phone. The firm has received what they’re looking for, and you have no more obligations in terms of follow-ups. You’ll get your consultancy fee paid, and everyone will be happy. It can’t get much simpler than this.
Am I qualified to work for AlphaSights?
After discovering that expert networks are legitimate well-paying opportunities, many are hesitant to accept the value of their expertise. This is the crucial question: “Why would someone spend so much money talking to me?” Many experts experience a fleeting feeling of self-doubt, or perhaps a feeling of “imposter syndrome”, but it fades fast. When new consultants receive positive feedback from clients who’ve benefited from the consultation, they realise the value they offer to their clients.
How do you determine whether you’re eligible? Review the primary type of calls: 1) Company deep-dive, 2) Industry overview, and 3) Recent events analysis. Has a large firm employed you? or in a specific sector for an extended period? Have you trained or mentored someone in the past? If yes, you will likely be qualified to share your knowledge as a AlphaSights consultant!
Remember that most firms are soaring into an entirely new field and are eager to understand how things operate. Often, the routine decisions you’ve been making for years are the ones they’re most eager to know more about. How you allocate your budget, the factors contributing to pricing decisions, and which items you plan to spend less or more on will benefit clients. An excellent rule of thumb is that if you can offer an opportunity to give a 30-minute presentation on an issue, then you’re likely a good candidate for consulting on this subject matter for AlphaSights.
What should be my AlphaSights hourly consulting rate?
Networks can pay quite a bit, and you’re not likely to undervalue or overvalue your service! The initial stages of your expert career can be charged between $75 and $150 per hour, whereas senior professionals typically make between $200 and $300 per hour. Some experts have been reported to demand $5,000 per hour, but it’s unclear what percentage of them are booked at that price.
It’s worth noting that AlphaSights pays per minute, which means that the hourly rate you pay is just an average; you’ll receive half the hourly rate for a 30-minute call. However, the meter will continue to tick if you go over one hour. Unlike many survey sites, expert networks like AlphaSights typically pay very quickly after the consultation has ended. Always through a cash transfer to your bank account or a prepaid visa- or master card.
Beware, AlphaSights associates might try to negotiate your rates lower. Research the rates other network members charge for similar services. Then, look at other networks’ rates. For instance, an AlphaSights consulting fee of $300 per hour could be charged at $500 by another company meeting with the same client. You’ll typically recognise the same jobs if you’re a member of several expert networks.
Any negatives consulting with AlphaSights?
Working as an advisor for AlphaSights isn’t always perfect. More highly qualified candidates get their eyes up for expert networks, meaning more experts compete for the same job. Each company has their own set of guidelines, but if you’re positioned well, AlphaSights may send you a few project invitations every week.
You’re likely only to be invited for about a quarter or a third of invites. Responding to invitations takes between 5 and 10 minutes. And expect periods where you get a lot more “no thank you” responses than “yes, Please!” This could be slightly demotivating for those starting their work as an advisor.
Actual time spent consulting.
While the hourly rate consulting with AlphaSights can seem high, keep in mind the extra time spent on “administrative” tasks that you don’t get paid for. This includes:
- Pre-screening questions: Answering these questions can often be quite detailed and take around 10 minutes. And there’s no guarantee you’ll qualify.
- Compliance: Conducting compliance training and -questions can be tedious.
- Providing professional experience: Keeping your resume up to date can take time.
- Payment: Setting up your payment options and submitting your invoice is streamlined but not fully automated.
- Preparing for the call: Finding a quiet spot, logging on a couple of minutes beforehand and creating a buffer in your calendar take time and effort.
Your billable hourly rate will be considerably lower, considering the time spent on all the admin tasks. You should use a time-tracking app to check how much time you spend calculating your actual earnings per hour working with an expert network.
While this intricate process might seem daunting, it’s essential to remember that AlphaSights is one of the companies that have streamlined their processes the most.
Also, remember that participating in an expert network call can be exhausting. While the tone of the conversation is friendly, you’ll have to tackle open-ended questions on complex subjects. The call will feel much more intense than an average company conference call. After all, the client is paying north of $1000 per hour for your time and wants maximum value from the interaction.
From an expert perspective, it would be best to have a regular stream of project invitations, but invitations will fluctuate greatly. Especially during significant industry changes, such as when a large company is up for sale or in the aftermath of a significant merger, you’ll see a surge of invitations from expert networks.
AlphaSights Consulting Reviews and feedback
As one of the leading companies in the expert network industry, AlphaSights receives plenty of reviews from the public, including Indeed, Glassdoor, Reddit and even Quora. One of the biggest criticisms of AlphaSights is that a lot of admin work is involved:
“Alphasights is like the Spotify of Consulting where consultants are the musicians. They take as much inside information as they can from consultants before an engagement, pay low rates and prorate to the minute, and consultants spend more time on their silly admin tasks and schedule than they do on actual consulting.”
But some people are also praising the experience of participating in calls:
“Some people have told me they didn’t feel they got a lot of feedback although that has not been my experience. Really, the key to being a successful AlphaSights network member is not just knowing your stuff but being able to discuss it in an engaging way so the client can fully appreciate as easily as possible what you are explaining. This I always find interesting as via AlphaSights you will speak with a mixture of people, some of whom are new to a company/area as well as those who are highly knowledgeable already.”
And the streamlined invoicing system also receives positive feedback:
One thing I will heap praise upon AlphaSights for is their invoicing system which is fabulous: rapid and prompt payments with the minimum of time being spent invoicing. That alone always helps make AlphaSights a most agreeable organisation to work with!
Some argue that the hourly consulting slots should be longer:
“The sessions are usually in one-hour segments. Many times we are just getting into the meat of the conversation when our time is up.”
How can I get more AlphaSights consultation projects?
Making your profile more attractive is a great starting point to getting more traction with expert networks. Despite the current frenzied competition in the market, there are some strategic actions you can adopt to improve your chances of winning more jobs. First, you must be visible, so be sure to study the keywords you would like to rank for to create a keyword-dense profile. One of the best ways to get more work is to be the first to arrive. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to act swiftly and answer quickly. Being the first to respond may not get you the job, but it makes your name stand out.
Build confidence quickly by staying truthful and objective. First impressions count! The most dangerous thing you could do is exaggerate your experience or skills. Apply only to jobs you’re qualified to take on, and be honest when you are asked questions. Don’t ever make promises you’re unable to keep, or you’ll lose your credibility quickly.
Present yourself confidently as an expert, and be specific in your answers. Give enough detail on the things you’ve completed about the project. Include the facts, figures, and impacts. Demonstrate how you contributed value to earlier projects and show how valuable you could be to a potential new client. Make them believe they’re worthy of the investment!
An overview of AlphaSights
AlphaSights’ story starts at Stanford Business School in California, where the two co-founders, Max Cartellieri and Andrew Heath, met while playing beer pong and getting their MBAs in the late 90s. Both developed entrepreneurial spirits in the Valley and started companies in their native Germany. Max founded Ciao, a consumer review and price comparison website, which he grew to about 300 people and eventually sold to Microsoft. Andrew established GoIndustry, an online marketplace that trades surplus industrial goods, which went public in London in 2006.
Andrew and Max had both built businesses driven by digital connectivity – increasing access to information (Ciao) and aiding the flow of physical goods (GoIndustry). Given their experiences, they set their sights on an exciting yet untapped space: the flow of critical business knowledge. The two came together in early 2007 to start planning their next venture, AlphaSights.
From its humble beginnings, AlphaSights is now one of the top expert networks with 1200 employees across 9 global offices across the globe, providing clients with 24/7 support. AlphaSights works with top-performing professionals in private equity, investment funds, management consultancies, corporations, and nonprofits. The goal is to help their clients access the knowledge they need to outperform the competition and achieve extraordinary results.
Key client categories and figures:
- Private Equity: 250+ global private equity funds, including 18/20 of the top firms by AuM across 20,000+ projects annually.
- Investment management: 450+ hedge funds and 100+ asset managers with AuM of $7T collectively.
- Management Consulting: 22K+ projects per year across the top global consulting firms.
- Corporations: one in five Fortune 500 companies across all sectors.
The 1:1 Expert Call
AlphaSights recruiters often reach new consultants through LinkedIn. Firms will book hourly slots to discuss operational and strategic challenges, get market feedback, and test concepts. This is a massive benefit for you as a consultant! They want to know your thoughts and solutions that could be suggested, so they’re seeking you out. This means that you can make appointments at times that are suitable for you. You do not need to prepare anything, and there’s no follow-up.
Most calls are enjoyable conversations, and both parties learn something from the conversation, which is an added benefit. Another benefit is being recognised and regarded as an expert in your field. It’s a position you’ve put in a lot of effort and time to attain. Now is the perfect time to reap the benefits.
Compliance training and sensitive information
Be aware of how to manage sensitive information. Consultants cannot share trade secrets or confidential information obtained through current or former employers. The information discussed on the call must be authorised to be released to the public. All participants in a AlphaSights phone call must agree to be aware of and follow all ethical and legal rules and limitations. As part of becoming an approved network member, you’ll go through compliance training, and you can always reach out to AlphaSights’ member service if you are in doubt about what can be shared.
Beyond that, there are no guidelines on how a conversation should proceed. You’re the expert; however, the client is the one who sets the tone by sharing their situation or asking them questions. Your task is to listen and respond to the duration of the conversation. Most calls are an hour long; technically speaking, AlphaSights pays you per minute. You’ll be compensated for that extra time when a call is extended beyond an hour (which is often the case when you continue the conversation by adding more information).
Other earning opportunities and AlphaSights surveys
AlphaSights employs network members to take part in paid B2B surveys (which could take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes for between $40 and $75) and attend events or meetings in small groups or teams with other people to tackle complex, small projects. Consultants can choose which projects they will work on. Some are only interested in calls, while others prefer to conduct surveys, leave the house for events, or collaborate with other consultants. If you’re looking for a little extra work, AlphaSights provides their customers with temporary and long-term assignments.
Is AlphaSights legit?
AlphaSights is a legitimate global business with over 1 million paid advisors acting as network members. They rigorously vet all consultants within their network to ensure that their customers receive top-quality service for the premium fees they pay. AlphaSights is among the longest-running and most certainly biggest firms in the networks sector. AlphaSights has physical locations in major cities worldwide, thousands of employees, and nearly 1 million consultants in the pipeline.
How is my data shared?
As a provider of insights, AlphaSights is in the business of reselling your knowledge and information. It is important to remember that much of the information you provide as a network expert will be shared with AlphaSights’ clients. This includes information such as your professional history, your answers to pre-screening questions and the answers you provide in surveys and during consulting calls.
What about my personal data?
Also, note that your personal should never be shared or sold for marketing purposes by 3rd parties. However, you may be contacted by AlphaSights if there’s a specific consulting opportunity which requires contact details to be shared. In this case, you’ll be asked to opt-in to share your personal data for each opportunity in line with regional privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.
What is a “single-blinded basis” consultancy call?
This means that the advisor will not know whom they are consulting. On the other hand, the client will have access to information about the advisor provided by the facilitator – in this case, the expert network AlphaSights. This setup’s main benefit is protecting the client when it comes to sensitive situations, such as M&A activities. Also, it makes it difficult for the advisor and client to “cut the middleman” and follow up without the expert network continuing to facilitate the contact. Most expert networks, including AlphaSights, will, as a rule, conduct their 1:1 consultation calls on a single-blinded basis.
The advantages of being an AlphaSights consultant
AlphaSights is not the only company that pays for one-to-one phone calls or surveys as well as projects; however, network members benefit professionally by being exposed to many business executives and consultants. This is extremely valuable; taking advantage of it is a learning experience. Another benefit is having access to AlphaSights’ collection of top-quality research papers, which will aid in your interactions with clients and possibly your full-time work.
Network members can occasionally author these articles, which adds credibility to your personal brand (which is why it’s always helpful to justify a rate increase!). Some companies offer a variety of free research to publish as a reward for their staff. Generally, it’s of good quality (and sometimes, you may be able to publish your research to gain exposure.)
One of AlphaSights’ most important USPs is their position as one of the leaders in their industry. For network experts, this means an increased likelihood of qualifying for one of the hundreds of projects they field weekly. They’re in the Premier League of the expert network industry, scouting projects for large and small businesses. They’ve worked out most of the hiccups and streamlined their processes for network experts and clients. Working with AlphaSights is an excellent choice to earn extra income from the convenience of your home.
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Disclosure: While HuginX is editorially independent, we may earn commissions on sign-up links.