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How Confluent Champion Zhibo Takes on Difficult Sales Conversations

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Zhibo Hu, Channel Account Executive

With one year at Confluent under his belt, account executive Zhibo Hu has already become an integral part of his team in Japan. And as he continues to grow in his current role, he’s constantly looking for more opportunities to expand his knowledge and connect with his coworkers.

That’s because Zhibo takes pride in contributing to his team’s wins and helping customers extract more value from their data and reimagine their data platform. Find out how he handles tricky conversations with customers who aren’t quite sure what data problems they have and how Confluent can help.

How have you grown or changed since joining Confluent? What motivates you to excel in your role and how does Confluent support your ambitions?

In the year since I joined, I’ve already had huge opportunities to engage with customers and help them transform and evolve their data architecture. Being able to significantly contribute to customers’ business success by helping them identify the right products and solutions for their needs has been such a rewarding experience.

A lot of the customers I’ve worked with are new businesses that are rapidly growing. Being able to engage with and greatly impact companies at such an early stage in Japan has been such a valuable experience for my career, and I’m excited to see what’s next.

Making business and lives better using technology motivates me to do my best in my job every day. As a part of the sales team at Confluent, I’ve had opportunities to meet with people from the best companies in their respective industry, talk to incredibly intelligent people who are driving their businesses forward, and achieve significant success with customers. Being surrounded by other people striving for excellence encourages me to do the same.

What’s the best part about interacting with customers in your experience?

It might surprise you, but I actually really like talking to customers who are still saying “no” to what we have to offer. For example, many prospective customers are not yet ready to consider real-time data or they don’t see the need to make the transition at once. 

Those interactions have taught me how to ask questions and dig deeper with customers. Through thorough communication with a customer, I often help them uncover an issue they need to solve—one that they might not realize the importance of at first—and from there I can help them understand where real-time data and Confluent come into play. It is exciting assisting a customer uncover what they really need.

What's unique about Confluent's company culture? What’s one question you would tell people to ask about the culture during their interview?

What I love most about working at Confluent is the collaboration on my team. There’s no individual superhero saving the day, but rather a team of experts in sales, engineering, and business all working together toward a common goal. Since I’ve been working here, I’ve learned how valuable it is to say that you can fully trust your team.

At Confluent, I really feel enabled to exchange ideas with others, help each other find the best solution, and win together. For people interviewing with us, I recommend that they ask individual team members what kind of support they experience here when they reach out for help or face a problem at work.

How does your team encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion?

As an account executive for Japan, I am living and working in a country that I wasn’t born in or raised in. That comes with a lot of challenges. For example, I am not a native speaker of the local language. But Confluent and my team recognized my strengths and gave me opportunities to show my value and achieve great things with my team. 

So many members of my team have different backgrounds and experiences that brought them here. I strongly feel that our differences make us stronger as a team, rather than inhibit our trust and teamwork. That’s a rare and valuable dynamic to have on a team and something that I really appreciate. 

How do you see yourself growing at Confluent over the next few years?

In the coming years, I plan to become a sales expert in industries like retail and telecommunications. I want to understand what Confluent is able to do as well as understand the common issues and best practices in the industry. I would like to provide value not only by educating customers on our products and services but also offer them insight and knowledge that can help them make smarter decisions at every stage of the sales process.

  • Zion Samuel is a writer on the Brand Marketing team at Confluent. Prior to Confluent, Zion has spent several years writing for organizations in various technology and healthcare sectors.

  • Mekhala Roy is a senior writer on the Brand Marketing team at Confluent. Prior to Confluent, Mekhala has worked in the cybersecurity industry—and also spent several years working as a tech journalist.

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