Since joining Ontra in 2020 as a business development associate, Alex Bulmer quickly climbed the ranks to become Ontra’s customer operations manager. When he’s not optimizing processes for the account management team, Alex might be found playing the guitar, boarding a plane to a far-flung destination, or chasing down the perfect burger.
What attracted you to Ontra and convinced you to join the company?
Before Ontra, I worked in sales at Resy. When Resy was acquired by American Express, I looked for an opportunity to get back into a strategic operations position. I came upon InCloudCounsel (now Ontra) and interviewed to join what was then a lean sales team.
Upon my initial call with Elizabeth Black, VP of Talent, I was sold on the promise of Ontra’s offerings and people. Subsequent interviews with a range of Ontra employees confirmed the company offered the collaborative, open environment I wanted. People were genuine and candid, and it was clear Ontra doesn’t subscribe to the unapproachable hierarchy you find at many companies. Even during the interview process, I was invited to share my ideas for improving the business – and it wasn’t in a “What can you do for us?” manner. It was presented as “How can we work together?”
That initial experience illustrates my favorite Ontra company value: openness. My career experience has taught me that the most comfortable and productive work environment is one characterized by a mutual sense of trust. The openness at Ontra means employees are not afraid to ask questions, suggest improvements, and share new ideas.
You’re in your third role at Ontra. How has the company supported you in pursuing your career ambitions?
Ontra encourages you to grow and apply yourself where you think you’re best suited. From day one, I told my manager I wanted a strategic operations role and that’s where I find myself 1 ½ years later. All my managers have been incredibly supportive and open.
I build upon my experience with managers at Ontra and at previous companies to shape my own approach to being a manager. I consider what I liked and didn’t like and how I felt as a result. I then combine the best of those into my version of being an effective manager.
Describe the customer operations team and the work it does.
We are a team of two – me and an analyst, Jillian – and growing. I report into revenue operations but our team’s focus is supporting the AM organization. At Ontra, AM is an intersection of sales, marketing, and finance.
Our team strategizes and devises processes to make account managers’ lives easier; helps ensure their decisions are backed by data; reports on AM activities; and pays attention to how we track with other go-to-market teams and finance. At the heart of all that is ensuring that accurate, clean, up-to-date data from sales, marketing, and finance is fed correctly to our account managers.
Jillian and I collaborate closely to make all this happen.
What’s a typical day for you?
My days vary, which is one of the things I like about my job. Some days I’m strategizing and hammering out new processes. Others, I’m identifying new problems and finding solutions. In others, I’m participating in cross-functional meetings. These are intimate meetings with colleagues in AM, revenue operations, business operations, sales, marketing, and finance who are closest to a process. I love these smaller meetings where I get to know my colleagues and work with them closely to dig deep and figure out how to improve processes. Every day, I’m focused on making sure our team is excited about the work we’re doing.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date at Ontra?
I’m proud that our team is providing account managers with actionable data in Salesforce. To enable that, we systemized a lot of processes and created dashboards and reports tailored to account managers. It was truly a collaborative, cross-functional effort. We worked with Ontra’s data team to ensure we could continuously ingest data from the Ontra app, and finance to make sure we could tap into invoice data. And we met with sales to ensure new customer handoffs are well systemized.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
My guilty pleasure is trying new restaurants, and NYC is a great place to do that. I love sushi, and am on a quest to find my favorite burger – I don’t know exactly what it will be, but I’ll know it when I taste it.
I also love to play in a band with my twin brother. I play guitar, my brother plays drums, and a friend plays bass. I also write music and am getting into music production. My dream is to one day travel the country playing shows.
And that ties into another love of mine: travel. In fact, I’m going to Norway and Iceland soon.
I’m curious about the world – there’s an endless amount to learn about other cultures and climates. I also geek out on geography, and love learning airline routes. I traveled a lot as a kid but didn’t pay much attention, and was also afraid of flying. Maybe I’m making up for lost time.