Why HG Is Right For Me: Ziad Amira
My name is Ziad Amira and I’m a strategic account executive at HG Insights. It has been a long journey for me to get hired at HG Insights—both geographically and professionally. My story spans three continents, two languages, and one plane ticket that I couldn’t afford.
Growing up in Palestine, I started my first hustle picking figs and selling them at the market. Soon I graduated to dishwashing, sometimes working 14 hours straight to start saving money. Without knowing it, I started laying the foundation for a career in sales. The hustle continued and I worked hard to get decent grades so I could travel to California after school to find new opportunities.
“I left everything behind to come here”
My family wasn’t too happy that I wanted to leave Palestine, so I had to borrow money from a friend who was already in the states. After a lot of work, I got to California with $50 in my pocket. When I first got here, I stayed on my friend’s couch. I got hired at a shawarma place where I worked for $2 below minimum wage. I left everything behind to come here.
Eventually, I enrolled in community college and started taking some classes. I had a great business professor, John Greathouse, who made us read Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. It was such a great book and it is what persuaded me to go into sales.
My first role in sales was at the UCSB Alumni Fund cold calling graduates to get donations for the university. It was a steep learning curve and the lessons in Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive are what helped me perfect my sales pitch. One of my cold calls was with the VP of sales at Procore, so I asked to add him on LinkedIn. Later on, I saw the Procore booth at a UCSB Job Fair and leveraged this connection (just like I learned from the book!) to land my first interview.
In my interview, they asked me, “How would you define grit?” I didn’t actually know the word at the time, so I had to ask what it meant! Once I explained how hard I worked to get here, to get to this interview, the interviewer told me “Just tell them what you told me and you’ll get the job.” And I got hired!
“A big step up from my previous role”
As a business development representative, I worked tirelessly. I didn’t need to ramp up, I hit quota on my first month. And as we grew, we generated $1M in EMEA alone that year. But I had a secret weapon: I killed my quotas thanks to data and insights from HG!
I quickly became an evangelist for HG at Procore and a believer in technology intelligence and market insights. HG’s data made me a selling genie. Then, after years of using HG’s data, my mentor recommended I apply to HG. I found an opening for an account executive role, which was a big step up from my previous role. I was excited to submit my application. I got an interview with our VP, Global Sales, Scott Smyth, and my story about grit was successful once again!
Consequently, when I got to HG I started learning fast. I had a lot to learn about my new role. And it was immediately rewarding. I was placed on a small team that worked on creating a demo journey for our mid-market offering/mid-market teams. It was a great experience for me, I had never done anything like that. I also got to travel to San Francisco for Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, which was an amazing experience and a big step in my career.
“A huge game changer for me”
Then the pandemic came. HG continued full force, they actually grew by 30%, and I pivoted to selling our flagship product, the HG Platform. It was a huge game changer for me. Now, I’m consistently killing it by selling the Platform. It helps having a great team at HG. Our VP Global Sales and US Sales Director lead by example and are champions of career growth opportunities.
Today at HG, almost all AEs are on track to hit their annual quota, with a good portion already exceeding their quota. In my day-to-day, the main personas I work with are Chief Revenue Officers and VPs of Sales. The conversations I have every day are extremely valuable as I get to learn more about how they hire for their sales teams, how they run their business, and how they are adapting strategy in the age of Big Data. I get to learn from people further along in their careers than I am.
“What I love about HG Insights”
This is what I love about HG Insights. Since I was hired, my time here is rewarding for me from both a personal (learning) and professional (growth) perspective. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to speak with leaders in the positions I want to get hired as, to grow into.
Of course, I couldn’t be where I am today without my adaptability, grit, gratitude, and industriousness. And with a little bit of luck. HG took a chance on me by helping me grow into an AE role. Our sales leaders have mentored me to grow and succeed in the account executive role. I’m proud to say I have risen to the occasion, and that I’m a member of the HG team! And it doesn’t hurt that we have a great product that practically sells itself!