SalesTech Interview With Bill Hu, VP of Sales, Certain

Tell us about your journey in B2B sales.

After 3 years with PwC Management Consulting, I started my sales career selling networking hardware in a 100% commission job. After a few years, I transitioned to the software world, selling SaaS ERP software (NetSuite), followed by growing into sales leadership positions at Xactly and Gainsight.

What is Certain and how does it ease sales pressures on the business?

Certain provides an enterprise, Event Automation platform that helps marketing and sales drive measurable results from events. Armed with intent data captured during an event, sales teams can take immediate action and follow up with prospects with relevant content and offers.

If not Sales, which other industry would we have most likely seen you succeed at?

If not sales, I’d likely have been on the operations side of sales. I enjoy building organizations that scale and the challenges that go with it.

What are your areas of expertise in sales that helps your team to achieve revenue goals?

I’m passionate about building great teams, managing complex sales processes and collaborating both internally and externally to drive results.

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How is Sales in Event Automation industry different today than when you first started here?

I only just recently started at Certain, but from what I’ve seen I think historically sales in this industry have been more focused on the tactical logistics that go into an event. At Certain, we realize what is most important are event outcomes so I’m building a sales team that can speak to how Certain enables large enterprises to see real business benefits like driving increased pipeline from their events.

Sales leaders often quote sports and gaming strategies to explain their sales strategies? Which games/sport would you like to analogize here? 

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan. Enterprise sales is a team sport. Success often depends more on collaboration and teamwork than any individual performance, especially since we are often selling into large organizations with those inherent complexities.


“Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone else.” – Vince Lombardi

What part of training do you think could improve Client Acquisition and Revenue Development in the sales industry?

Qualification and discovery. The information gathering process never ends and is the basis of any sales rep’s sales strategy and execution plan.

How has ABM and Technographic data changed traditional CRM paths for sales? How do you leverage these new features in your sales cycle?

We’ve really used these new approaches and tools at our disposal to get laser-focused on a handful of accounts. I look for my team to do in-depth account planning working cross-functionally with Marketing and other departments to ensure we are all aligned on the strategy and approach for target accounts.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a sales tech champion?

I’m just constantly on the lookout for any tools that could help my team be more effective and efficient. AI-centric sales tools seem to have made some good strides in the past couple of years.

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What do Email Automation tools mean to sales and sales ops teams in 2018?

We can reach out at scale, with better insight into efficacy, so we can make changes at a more rapid cadence.

What do Data Science, Process Automation, Enterprise Planning, and Advanced Analytics mean to modern B2B sales leaders?

We have better technology to understand prospect firmographics and behavior, capture buying signals and intent and take action in real-time. With the data we are able to capture, we can be significantly more personalized in our outreach so sales are delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time.

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What are the major pain points for businesses in putting a 360-degree focus on Sales Ops for better account conversions?

Ensuring you have real-time integrations that power entire process and enable sales to identify when to take action and with what offer or message.

Which events and webinars do you most occasionally attend and why?

I most often listen to software sales podcasts or attend events that give me an opportunity to network, collaborate, learn from other sales leaders.

Thank You, Bill, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.

Certain is the leading enterprise event automation platform that helps data-driven marketers and event professionals integrate rich buying signals and attendee insights into omnichannel marketing campaigns to improve sales and marketing results and deliver event ROI. Certain partners with hundreds of companies across tens of thousands of events with millions of attendees.

Bill Hu joined Certain from Layer––a provider of messaging software for apps––where he served as the vice president of sales, leading go-to-market sales strategies and tripling revenue growth in one year. Before Layer, Hu was the regional vice president of sales at Gainsight, and director of sales for cloud-based sales performance management software company Xactly, where he led the highest performing team, helping drive company growth from $5M to $75M in annual recurring revenue. As a first step in moving Certain’s sales strategy forward, Hu plans to expand the sales team and welcome additional enterprise representatives to build the organization to scale.