Jiabao was a fresh graduate when she joined Meltwater in 2018 as a sales consultant. She was quickly promoted to senior sales consultant within a year, meeting with key enterprise clients to empower their business. Though somewhat unconventional in this industry, Jiabao graduated from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Fashion and Textile Technology. Her past experiences reflect her passion in retail and innovation, having previously interned at VF Corporation.
Q: Upon graduation from PolyU, what plans did you have for your future career?
Unlike my peers, I actually studied Fashion and Textile Technology at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Most of my classmates went on to work at apparel and fashion conglomerates, such as LVMH and VF. For me, I decided on two career paths after graduation: I wanted to pursue a career in either banking and startups. Based on my previous internship, I decided banking wasn’t really for me. I also noticed that my colleagues’ sole motivation to work was the high salary, and I thought that kind of environment was not for me. While startups provide many learning opportunities, I realised it takes a lot of self-learn and initiation to succeed. Coincidentally, I already knew Joey, who was the Managing Director of Meltwater Hong Kong at the time. I heard about how fast his career has developed over the years with early responsibilities. I also resonated with the company’s international and lively workplace culture; this was why I chose Meltwater.
Q: Why did you choose Meltwater?
Before joining Meltwater, I didn’t know what to expect from a sales job. I always thought sales were the people who would work at retail stores. However, I soon learnt that B2B sales at Meltwater means a totally different job! I found the process of negotiating and closing a deal very exciting. Even when I was a newbie, I had the opportunity to engage directly with senior executives across marketing, public relations, communications and digital departments to understand their business challenges. Being handed with important responsibilities so early in my career did come with a lot of pressure and challenges, but in the end it was all incredibly rewarding and meaningful.
I chose to work at Meltwater in the division of B2B sales because it contributed significantly to my professional and personal development. In comparison to the people at my age, I noticed that my personal development and maturity has grown a lot faster.
Being handed with important responsibilities so early in my career did come with a lot of pressure and challenges, but in the end it was all incredibly rewarding and meaningful.
Q: What does (being a) sales at Meltwater mean to you?
Prior to joining Meltwater, I only had a shallow impression of what sales constituted, which was to sell a product. In reality, the role of a sales consultant at Meltwater is to guide and advise your client through media intelligence. No good sales person would try to flatter a client just to get them to sign with us. It is more than forcing your client to sign a contract, but we work with clients through a respectful, collaborative and professional attitude. We treat our clients like a business partner instead of being an agency just to provide external tools for their business.
Q: What was the most difficult challenge you were confronted with at Meltwater?
The biggest challenge that I had to overcome during my time at Meltwater was to overcome intimidation. When I joined the team in the beginning, I was always too shy to communicate with my seniors. I was intimidated by the fact that they were much older, competent and experienced than me. I was also afraid to encounter clients that previously had indecent experiences with Meltwater because changing their perceptions can be very difficult. Working in Meltwater pushes you to achieve continuous growth and learning.
Despite being confronted with different challenges everyday, it’s part of your journey here. In the beginning, I struggled with identifying the right client and communicating with my seniors. Towards the middle of my career here, I had to learn about time management and the different business protocols required to communicate with different departments. My challenge right now is to equip myself with the knowledge of Meltwater’s products inside and out in order to cater to my client’s needs.
Q: Do you recall any exciting moments during your time at Meltwater?
The most exciting moment I’ve had at Meltwater was when my team and I successfully signed a deal with a multinational company. At the time, the largest roadblock was to find the right decision maker to speak with. At my most helpless moment, my Managing Director gave me some words of encouragement. He reminded me that there was always a way to find the right contact person, you just have to know where to look.
At last, I’ve discovered the company’s Taiwan team that was in charge of its Mainland market. Despite our failed history of working together, I refused to give up. I sent them an analytics report on their industry and provided a very successful demo of Meltwater’s system with them. To my surprise, they responded within 3 days and decided to sign with us! From this experience, I was able to establish a firm sense of trust with my clients, and it's the persistence and courage, along with the help of my colleagues to make this deal so successful.
Q: Do recall any upsetting moments during your time at Meltwater?
One time, I was doing a product demo with a client that had an extensive knowledge in the television public relations realm. Right off the bat, they began challenging me. They told me that they already had many media sources and social capital that provided them with all the news and information about their company and industry. They’ve also reflected that Meltwater’s products were slow in comparison to what they use currently, so they weren’t interested. This was the first time I’ve encountered such a direct rejection.
Although they decided not to sign with us at the end, I did learn a lot from this experience. As a sales consultant, you need to stop taking things personally. The key is to always evaluate the situation as a third person, remain calm and collected. Shifting your mindset and embracing change can really help alleviate tough client situations. Also always ask yourself: “ What can I do differently next time that helps me grow and also benefits the relationship with clients?” It’s also good to remember that if you never take the first step, the answer will always be no.
Q: What kind of person do you think should join Meltwater? Do you have any advice for career development?
I think it is very important to be result-oriented, driven, and have the confidence in your own ability to succeed. These are traits of what Meltwater is actually looking for! Honestly, this job will be very challenging for a fresh graduate, Meltwater has a reliable support base that no newbie will feel like they’re on their own. Adding on that a little challenge can do no harm!
Q: What is your view on Meltwater and the big data and media intelligence industry?
Media intelligence and monitoring is still a relatively new industry, but it is becoming a mature market in Mainland China. Although there are quite a few competitors, I’m sure Meltwater can easily take on those rivals. We recognize the Chinese market as an incredibly valuable opportunity and we are committed to scouting the best vendors and partners in the industry to enhance our data coverage and services. My colleagues are also committed to fulfilling our clients' needs at all times, providing them with the most tailored and appropriate solutions. This is something many of our competitors do not offer.
New media in China is currently developing at a rapid pace. As China’s financial sector matures, Chinese businesses are also becoming increasingly attentive to their brand image. Our team’s professionalism and expertise are following closely to this l. Currently, the retail business is shifting its focus to e-commerce platforms and clients are in need of big data to inform their business decisions. This is where Meltwater comes to picture! All these predictions and trends present to us how China is such a valuable expansion opportunity for Meltwater.