According to IDC, despite a “typical” $1 billion company spending a large amount of resources devoted to training for customer-facing people, poor sales enablement results in around $14 million of wasted sales and marketing expenses, and $100 million in lost sales opportunities. Where could they be going wrong?
Imagine for a moment that you’re a sales manager evaluating how to deliver a sales enablement program that will benefit both new hires who need to ‘hit the ground running’ and provide value to more experienced team members. What would you include?
When we think of sales training, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a series of workshops – usually instructor-led and evangelically-delivered – designed to hone performance in time management, listening and communication, objection handling, closing, and so on. So far, so good; this is crucial stuff for all salespeople regardless of experience levels. It’s what your competitors are all doing, it’s what staff expects, and so you should rightly be making ‘classic’ sales training available.
After first considering workshops, how about motivational training to foster the kind of positive attitude that helps staff better deal with the ups and downs of the sales cycle, to more effectively develop prospects, build value, and open up new business opportunities? Absolutely right, this is often central to the annual kick-off meeting, and can be an element of monthly meetings in addition to any specific training.
Thirdly, we’ll need product knowledge training in the mix, too. Most companies have a wealth of technical product information available in-house, and which can be delivered via multiple formats (documents, videos, webinars, workshops etc) and when the sales teams need it.
So, we’ve now invested a lot of money in our integrated sales enablement initiative, and in doing so we’ve created an army of charismatic, enthusiastic, mentally-resilient, product-aware salespeople who are all ready to get out there out flood the business with new orders.
But experience shows that, even now, the fourth key element, Industry Knowledge, is still missing.
- Only 1 in 5 execs say that meetings with sales people meet expectations
- 76% said sales reps didn’t understand the role and responsibility of the execs they were meeting with well enough
- 77% said sales teams weren’t able to demonstrate to them how their company’s products or services can help their prospect due to their lack of industry or business knowledge
Supporting this is IDC research indicating that less than half of the companies they interviewed considered their own sales reps to be ‘very prepared’ for an initial meeting!
So it seems as though there are plenty of salespeople constrained not by technical sales skills per se, but more by lack of knowledge of their prospects’ industries and the buying motivations of the decision-makers they meet with.
The customer’s crucial question is ‘How is what you’re selling going to help my business?’ – That’s something that just isn’t being answered most of the time. Knowledge of your product needs to exceed an understanding of mere technical specifications and encompass its various applications and how it can be used to serve your customers’ clients.
Imagine that one of your technology sales reps has an initial meeting with an Oil & Gas client. They might have watched a short video about big data. He might even have watched an overview of upstream operations. But when you’re sitting in front of the buyer, understanding disparate concepts without knowing the broader context won’t give you the confidence and credibility you need.
Can your rep contribute meaningfully if the conversation turns to how your products or services can help mitigate the financial impact of rising production costs, falling EROEI, the cost of complying with regulations, and so on.
Perhaps that suggests a quick test you can use – do all the reps you send to Oil & Gas clients know that EROEI stands for ‘Energy Returned On Energy Invested.’ If not, it’s a clue that your company may not be able to get involved in the early stage project definition and planning discussions, so you are destined to end up in the late stage price-based battle trying to supply into a configuration that someone else has designed.
Truly effective selling comes, in part, from:
- Becoming fluent in a whole new language of industry-specific terms
- Using these terms to position your offer in the context of real-world business problems that matter most to the executive you’re meeting with
- Being able to anticipate the direction the discussion is headed
- Being able to guide the discussion towards areas in which your offering has a proven record of delivering benefits
By Rory Christian, Senior Consultant, Cambashi
SMEI is the worldwide professional association for sales and marketing. To join as a member visit our website.
Previous blockchain blogpost
Cryptocurrency is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some cryptocurrencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. It can be hard to determine if a bubble exists. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is mass adoption.
The first digital currency was Bitcoin mined by millions of people in different locations around the world. It was Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, who built its decentralized system that anyone could participate in, but no one could own. Although it was open to all, ironically, Bitcoin transactions were supposed to be anonymous. When Bitcoin came into being in 2009, the promise was to be the universal electronic currency that passed around the world in minutes. However, Bitcoin has qualities that make it not only a coin but also a store of value and a network of payments.
Store of value
The exponential jump in the rate of Bitcoin has stoked interest from big banks and even Wall Street. For example, in 2010, using the forum bitcointalk.org, a developer bought two pizzas by paying Bitcoins for the purchase. Fast-forward a few years, and the value of that Bitcoins shot up to 425 million dollars. They are now trading for more than $2,600/- but hardly anything to spend it on.
Network of payments
The software stores a continuously updated ledger that records all Bitcoin transactions. The code sets the scarcity of Bitcoin, and mining introduces new Bitcoins at regular intervals. This form of earning Bitcoins consists of solving the math problems necessary to confirm transactions. Successful solving of those problems using mathematical calculations triggers the creation of more currency.
Limitations of Bitcoins
A civil war is over the future of Bitcoin ever since its launch, and it is already showing strain. Bitcoin’s share of the market cap of all cryptocurrencies fell from 85% to 41%. Its price has soared and not dropped, but many rivals have risen even faster. Moreover, the Bitcoin network can only process seven transactions a second due to code limitations. This quantity is trifling considering that the system aspires to serve the masses. As the load increases, it takes time to confirm transactions, and customers have been at odds. The bickering threatens to condemn Bitcoin to obsolescence or divide the currency into two versions. All in all, although Bitcoin allows the transfer of value, it is slower and more limited in its capacity than some of its latest rivals.
Biggest cryptocurrency competitor
One of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin, a portmanteau of digital cash. Part of the stellar success of Dash is due to Bitcoin’s flaws and limitations. This cryptocurrency emerged following Bitcoin’s rise in price in January 2014. Dash is one of the most popular digital currencies because it promised untraceable transactions. Although it saw plenty of dumping, its creator continued to add new features and refine the software. In 2015 it was rebranded as Dash so that it would not be mistaken for a single-feature coin. Gradually Dash gained legitimacy, and its currency’s total value has grown every year.
Advantages of Dash
A new payment method has to be easier to use, more secure and faster than others to attract customers. Bitcoin and the other digital currencies in the market fail on all these three metrics. Dash has functions and features to address such concerns and weaknesses that most others do not have. Also, Dash offers its users a quick send feature that is as easy as using a credit card. People who hold 1,000 coins and above are required to submit all future projects for a vote. The benefit of such a system is that it is a decentralized network that allows making decisions rapidly, avoiding conflicts such as that of Bitcoin, which has no way to compel anybody to adopt a new version.
The next version of Dash will include features that protect against fraud or theft such as moderated transactions. This function would allow funds to be released only upon the receipt of products, and vault accounts, which can stop an impending withdrawal of funds within 24 hours. The goal is to have a medium of exchange that can facilitate everyday commerce. The one of its kind governance system of Dash is its clearest innovation, one that is impossible to replicate.
Smartest cryptocurrency competitor
Ethereum’s creators have built a network that allows developers to create agreements written into the software. These intelligence contracts can dispense funds and perform functions automatically in response to triggers.
Emergence of altcoins
Many of the players in the digital currency world, known as altcoins, were exclusively used as vehicles for use-and-discard schemes. An altcoin’s creator would often pour funds into a coin and build hype. Novices would jump in, the price would spike, investors would throw them away, and the amount would plunge downward.
Bitcoin versus altcoins
People use many of the currencies younger than Bitcoin for much more versatile purposes. That means Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors such as Litecoin, Zcash, and Monero. On the other hand, just as Bitcoin struggle against the American dollar, new cryptocurrencies face an uphill battle against Bitcoin, which has the most significant user base and the broadest name recognition.
Today, there are many digital currencies in the world worth billions of dollars
Total market value
Today, there are many digital currencies in the world worth billions of dollars. In 2017, digital currencies in aggregate had a total market value of approximately $100 billion. Based on market cap, the price of digital currencies can be possibly ten times that of the most significant companies.
Cryptocurrency becoming mainstream
People are using cryptocurrency wallets because retailers are now starting to accept them. Japan’s new legislation in April 2017 and Australia’s in July allows retailers to take Bitcoin as a legal tender. Ten financial institutions have put enough trust in Bitcoin that they use Ripple to send payments in real-time. There is a consensus among 56 companies worldwide on scaling Bitcoin, reaching an agreement on a settlement process.
Driver of innovation
Blockchain will disrupt every business, and digital currencies will drive new company model innovation, accelerating and scaling business outcomes at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment. Therefore, investors are cautiously bullish on the success of blockchain, which is crypto currency’s groundbreaking technology.
Coming up next:
Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later.This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority. But cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point.
Previous blockchain blogpost
The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.
According to the white paper that launched cryptocurrency in 2009 under a pseudonym, it is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers on the Internet that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Cryptocurrency has seen a spike in all of its metrics such as search traffic, the number of press pieces, amount of sales and, most importantly, prices. The search traffic levels have tripled since 2017, and the keyword is near all-time highs for traffic. A glance at Google Trends for Ether, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency indicates that there is a high correlation between price and traffic and all areas have had steady growth in traffic. Therefore, it is highly recommended always to keep an eye on the number of transactions and search traffic, because these metrics tell an underlying story about them.
Money market displacement
Cryptocurrency networks will reach a large enough size at a certain point to run efficiently and be too big to fail. The fervent believers of cryptocurrency say it could displace traditional money and even banks, but it is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it, making it prey to significant changes in sentiments. Perhaps a look into the ownership of all cryptocurrencies and their dynamics might give a clue of that.
Ownership of cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin has the least ownership concentration among the cryptocurrencies. The top 100 Bitcoin holders control only 17.3% of the total supply, whereas, with Ether, the top 100 investors control 40% of all the issued currency. With coins such as Gnosis, Storj, and Qtum, large owners control 90%, and they are all part of the teams managing these projects. Industry watchers estimate that perhaps about 1,000 users hold 40% of Bitcoin. Since the viability of cryptocurrencies rests on their network size, Bitcoin is worth four times that of American Airlines and twice as much as Uber. People who hold large amounts of Bitcoin are known as whales in the industry. The whales stuck by Bitcoin through the pioneering days when it was derided and have known one another for years.
Trade of cryptocurrency
One of the paradoxes of cryptocurrency is that each new development appears to bring both promise and peril. The whales will not sell their holdings because they believe in its long-term potential. But as times change and prices go up, such linear thinking and calculation might change. Therefore investors worry about whales because if they sell just a portion of the holding, that can send the prices plummeting.
For example, Bloomberg noted that when someone moved Bitcoins worth about $159 million to an online exchange, Bitcoin traders started mulling over whether it meant the owner was selling the digital currency. At current prices, if each sells about half of their holdings, they can potentially prop up or tank the market. Moreover, many of the trading rules in this emerging industry are murky because regulators have been too slow to catch up. For now, Bitcoin and many currencies enjoy free trade while a few others have severe restrictions in place.
Unrestricted currency trade
There is no restriction against a deal in which a team agrees to purchase Bitcoin. If this transaction increases the price, they may cash out within hours. Such a sale is permitted because Bitcoin is not a security but a digital currency. At least some kind of fact sharing is legal, according to securities lawyers who monitor the cryptocurrency scenario. What’s more, many of the large owners can coordinate or preview their moves to a select few. Discussions of trading with one another among big traders of some cryptocurrencies are not illegal either.
Tracking biggest investors
Some hedge fund managers in the cryptocurrency industry do monitor trading activity of the most prominent investors. When they see movement, they call the likely sellers and get information on motivations behind their trading plans and sales. Some funds end up buying the holdings directly instead of going into the open market. And when they do that, the currency’s price does not get affected in any drastic way. This kind of gathering intelligence is legal, and the trading based on that is allowed.
Ordinary small investors
The downside is that it puts small buyers of digital currencies at a disadvantage. Ordinary investors do not have the standing required to get the whales to take their calls. They are also disadvantaged if they hold smaller digital tokens and currencies. They can only monitor addresses with vast holdings and begin heated discussions of market moves on online forums. But at the end of the day, ultimately they are in the dark on the plans and motives of large investors.
Restricted currency trade
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission of America, depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some digital currencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. A digital currency exchange named Bittrex once had to warn its users that it would terminate their accounts if they banded together into groups with the intention of manipulating prices.
The value of cryptocurrency has shot up twelvefold since it’s beginning
Entrance of investors
The value of cryptocurrency has shot up nearly twelvefold since it’s beginning and its sale is in full swing now. Hence the stock market and investors are bullish about cryptocurrency, even though it has had a shaky start. The recent increase in its price is difficult to explain because it has no intrinsic value. Some argue that this is no different than what is happening in more established markets.
Bubble or reality
Currently, Bitcoin has a market capitalization of approximately $100 billion. With all of this attention to cryptocurrencies, many are wondering whether this is a bubble. It can be hard if not impossible to determine if a bubble exists in the crypto industry and when it might burst. However, the widespread and general belief is that it is not going to crash very soon. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is to transition into mass adoption. The current business environment does indicate mass adoption as the likely result.
Coming up next:
A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Two of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin and Ethereum. Many of the currencies younger then Bitcoin can be used for much more versatile purposes. Hence Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors. Digital currencies will drive new company model innovation at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment.