"I constantly find myself trying to think of more creative and tailored solutions that can enable clients to overcome obstacles and achieve their media intelligence goals."
Key Account Manager,
Client Success Enterprise, Greater China
Joanna joined Meltwater as a Key Account Executive in 2019, was promoted to Key Account Representative within 9 months of joining and awarded as 2020 Global Top 10 sales in Client Success, and she was promoted to Key Account Manager of the Key Account Management team n April 2021. Outside of work, she is an outdoor enthusiast who loves camping, wake surfing, rock climbing, and chilling with her dogs at Sai Kung. She also enjoys serving Hong Kong’s community by volunteering as a Role Model at Inspiring Girls Hong Kong and a Communications and Media Awards Volunteer at Mind HK.
Q: Your previous roles involved research and analysis, but what made you decide to swap to SaaS sales at Meltwater? What was it like transitioning from your previous company to Meltwater?
Prior to joining Meltwater, I was a business analyst at an E-commerce company. Although I enjoyed my previous role, I found that my impact on the business was minimal and only limited to internal changes. For example, we would try to determine what products to sell based on our data; however, there was no guarantee that our sales team would run it. On the other hand, a role in sales afforded me the ability to make an extensive and direct impact by understanding what challenges our clients are facing using data. In particular, I was drawn to SaaS sales because I believe that data analytics can completely transform a business and help them achieve a competitive edge. In sales, we are able to directly communicate with clients to understand the external data that is related to them and act as the middleman that guides them to uncover insights and make better decisions.
Transitioning from an E-commerce company to Meltwater was a challenging yet insightful and rewarding experience. Besides applying my existing knowledge of data analytics to this role, I learned to connect the dots between the business needs of clients, the value of media intelligence and the technical side of our product. In addition, I was provided dynamic training that regularly pushed me out of my comfort zone. Within my first two months at Meltwater, I had already given 5 presentations opportunities to various internal departmental heads. The training alongside the detailed feedback from the upper management definitely paved my path on the Key Account Management team. I was able to directly witness the value that we offer clients, as well as improve and grow each time I gave a presentation.
Q: You’ve excelled in your sales performance in 2020, ranking in the Global Top 10 CS and APAC Top 10 CS. What would you credit your success to?
Ranking in both the APAC and Global Top 10 is not necessarily my main goal but it is the result of endless support from others and my desire to help clients.
A lot of my success stems from the support offered by upper management. Rather than only seeing them as my bosses, I choose to see them as mentors and friends. This way, we are able to establish a respectful and trusting relationship that facilitates open communication and constant growth on both ends. For instance, they have played a pivotal role in helping me pinpoint and understand my true value and motivations at work. Through many 1 on 1 meetings, we have been able to identify that my desire to inspire the next generation is what motivates me to perform to the best of my ability and succeed. Moreover, upper management encourages me to step out of my comfort zone. They push me to pursue challenges that may not be directly related to my portfolio.
Just recently, I participated in mChallenge, Meltwater’s internal GLOBAL pitching competition. With unconditional support from upper management and many of my other colleagues, my team and I managed to beat out around 30 competitors and got into the top 3 globally. This experience really helped fuel my confidence and passion for sales.
In addition, our team culture really pushes me to perform better. My teammates are all heavy hitters, which encourages me to always strive to be #1. Besides aiming to strategize and plan ahead for our sales pipeline to overachieve our sales targets, our team culture is to go above and beyond and deliver the excellent business value of our solutions to our clients. I find that this mindset and attitude naturally enables me to perform at a higher level.
Besides aiming to strategize and plan ahead for our sales pipeline to overachieve our sales targets, our team culture is to go above and beyond and deliver the excellent business value of our solutions to our clients.
Q: Can you walk us through your daily and weekly routine in your role?
My daily routine:
Identifying and prioritizing any urgent tasks that need to be completed as soon as possible.
Tackling Important Tasks
Completing the tasks that I have prioritized for the day before lunch so I have time for other tasks.
Completing Other Engagements
After completing prioritized tasks for the day and having lunch, I work on other engagements such as training and case studies.
I leave time to plan ahead and stay organized. For example, I'll identify red flag cases and plan both a solution and a client call for the next day.
My weekly routine:
Monday Morning Meeting
Macro-planning with team: outline the cases for the next 6 months and identify priorities. Extra time is used to improve current cases or look for cases that can be closed easily.
Product Sharing Session
Encourages our team to be curious and a pioneer when it comes to different products while learning more about case studies
Twice A Week
Hitting Financial Targets
Make sure all financial and procurement requirements are done.
Multiple Times A Week
Some challenging clients require more time and energy. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, I meet with them on a weekly basis.
Q: What do you think makes sales so important to Meltwater’s core business?
Sales provides more value than just bringing revenue. In fact, sales has the power to completely transform our business. We make the impossible possible by offering creative solutions and building relationships with clients through our “outside insight” mentality. Being able to empower our clients in an innovative and progressive manner, in turn, allows us to separate ourselves from competitors, disrupt the market, and position Meltwater as a leader in the media intelligence field.
“Warriors. Pioneers. Trailblazers.” This is the Key Account Management team’s slogan for 2021 and I believe that it perfectly encapsulates the significance of sales. Firstly, we are Meltwater’s warriors. We work hard in the front lines of the battlefield to fight competitors and connect with clients. Next, we are Meltwater’s pioneers. Sales plays an important role when it comes to making the magic happen. We are the ones who communicate with clients and understand their needs. Lastly, we are Meltwater’s trailblazers. By servicing our clients and providing new solutions, we enable them to make the best use of our products and ultimately pave the way for the success of our business.
Q: How has your perception of sales changed throughout your journey at Meltwater?
I previously believed that sales was purely money-driven. Instead, my journey at Meltwater has taught me otherwise. I have learned that sales is value-driven and customer-centric. The significance of sales stems from the ability to provide value to clients. I constantly find myself trying to think of more creative and tailored solutions that can enable clients to overcome obstacles and achieve their media intelligence goals. At the same time, sales is about helping others. I’m able to help clients understand data from various outlets, tackle any problems they have about PR and Marketing, and streamline their business strategy. Over time, I have really grown to care about our clients and really want to see them succeed.
We make the impossible possible by offering creative solutions and building relationships with clients through our “outside insight” mentality.
Q: What do you think makes you a good fit for a sales position at Meltwater? Do you have any tips for young talent considering a career in sales?
First and foremost, I believe that my passion to help people makes me a good fit for a sales position at Meltwater. I genuinely care for my clients and want to make their lives easier. As a result, I find that this allows me to provide the best value to clients and to perform well on a regular basis. Next, my desire to be a well-rounded individual makes me a good fit. I know that there is always room for improvement in many aspects. By aiming to improve in the area I’m lacking in, my overall performance only improves.
Lastly, I am strategic and constantly reflecting on my performance. By engaging in self-reflection, I feel that I am able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses and enhance how I perform in this role.
I think it’s important to keep in mind that there’s no specific academic background required to pursue a career in sales. Instead, the soft skills you possess is what’s important. For example, grit is fundamental to being successful in sales. There are a lot of challenges and rejections so it’s important to maintain a persistent mentality and come back stronger each time. Additionally, it’s crucial to mentally prepare yourself. Sales is challenging. It requires time and patience to learn the essence of sales and truly get a hang of it. Without this mental preparation, the challenges and obstacles you face will only get 10x larger.
Q: What challenges have you faced so far? Do you think they have contributed to your professional and personal development?
In sales, it’s completely normal to face challenges. Instead of focusing on the problem itself, quickly developing an effective solution is essential. For example, I was in the process of closing a mega deal; however, their key decision-maker did not trust Meltwater and was hesitant to sign with us. To tackle this problem, I needed to step into their shoes and understand their perspective. I realized that, at this point, the key decision-maker didn’t fully understand the value that we could bring to them. To demonstrate that we could be a valuable asset to Oppo, I decided to outline their problems, backed with data, and be honest and upfront about how these problems could be solved with our help. I felt that, in this case or in similar situations, it was necessary to be authentic and assertive, and to not be afraid to offer a challenging point of view about their problems, pushing them to think differently. Ultimately, my approach enabled me to build strong trust with the key decision-maker and I ended up closing the mega deal!
Q: How has this sales position changed your awareness and interest in big data and media monitoring? What are your thoughts on the future of the media intelligence industry?
Before joining Meltwater, I thought that big data was about finding a pattern in the data. However, I now understand that it’s more about the impact of the data. For example, because of COVID, the digitization of industries has accelerated at an even greater rate. When companies are facing PR crises and geo-political scandals, it’s imperative that we act as gatekeepers and help clients stay updated on public sentiment and government policies. Moreover, the media intelligence industry is super exciting and interesting. Everything is interconnected and there are a lot of hidden trends and information. The key to unlocking media intelligence is finding insights throughout the digital cycle and connecting the dots to make sense of the data.
I genuinely care for my clients and want to make their lives easier. As a result, I find that this allows me to provide the best value to clients and to perform well on a regular basis.