Previous blockchain blogpost
A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Among the competitors of Bitcoin, two of them are Darkcoin and Ethereum. People use these younger cryptocurrencies 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.
Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later. Also, the novel technology is changing the world for the better rapidly in a radical manner. Furthermore, even mainstream players like Goldman Sachs, Visa, Capital One, New York Stock Exchange, and Nasdaq have invested in this groundbreaking technology.
No central authority
Blockchain processes transactions without recourse to a central body like a payments company, bank or government. Finally, services and businesses can be decentralised, cutting out intermediaries and removing points of failure. The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger that tracks transactions of any kind that is of value. This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority.
Key success factors
Many factors are driving the cryptocurrency boom today whose price is double the price of gold
Many factors are driving the cryptocurrency boom today whose price is double the price of gold. First of all, miners get motivated because of the incentivized system where they can earn digital money. Second, it allows for privacy that separates people’s identity from their transactions. Third, it is a public ledger validated by peer network and mathematical calculation. Another advantage of cryptocurrencies is that they are run on this blockchain technology that uses a public record created using a crowd-sourced system. And last but not the least, the approach of blockchain is decentralised that eliminates dependency on financial institutions. Alternative currencies are in direct contrast to the image of traditional finance. In contrast to fiat currencies, the early leaders of digital currencies would never pass muster at legacy institutions.
Various industry applications
Cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface
Cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Much like no one predicted Uber, Spotify or Seamless, it is difficult to tell how blockchain will evolve or impact us. Decentralisation and cryptocurrencies are not getting here next week or even next year per se. However, the data and preliminary research are amassing that this technology is for real. Homeland Security is considering blockchain to track people and goods across borders. Similarly, Food and Drug Administration is looking at it, among scores of others, to help with population health management. And Financial Services Industry are making numerous efforts in this arena too. So, Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. Certainly, 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point.
Foray into blockchain
Dr. Balaji Srinivasan is an entrepreneur, an academic, investor, and a thought-leader in the blockchain. Also, he is the founder of a blockchain-based genome startup called Counsyl that started in the Stanford dorm and examines 5% of all births in America. But most noteworthy, it won the Innovation Award, raised $65M in funding, was one of the Top 10 Ideas and is arguably the world’s largest genome centers. Dr. Srinivasan teaches at Stanford University, manages the Stanford Bitcoin Group as well as advises and invests in startups. He was a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz before being the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of 21.co. Through this innovative website, one can earn digital currency and have exposure to an already vetted Silicon Valley group.
Earn digital currency
According to the webpage of 21.co, a user sets up an account for paid messages. Account holders can answer the messages on web or mobile and make money anywhere anytime – while lining up, when at work, or during the morning commute – and it works in all the countries in the world. Users get paid for their services in Bitcoin and have the option to either donate the money to charities such as Black Girls Code or keep it. One has to be techno-savvy to earn digital money or take a risk and purchase digital currency.
Silicon Valley exposure
Apart from allowing access to earn or mine Bitcoin, another beneficial service of 21.co is exposure to the critical people in technology to pitch a startup. It has lists of 200 blockchain experts, 400 founders, 100 Chief Executive Officers, 50 investors, 50 capitalists, and 37 Horowitz partners.
Already vetted group
The business practice of yesteryears was to invest in database lists that companies use for cold calling. This process is inefficient – no consent or introductions or incentives, resulting in a huge number of deleted and unread messages. Research-driven companies and marketing utilize this blockchain-based website to get input from a vetted group who are eager to participate in the joint benefits. Using the platform of 21.co users can conduct research, assign tasks, and respond to email. The business outcomes and performance results at 21.co have stunned everyone concerned. The success of 21.co has made it clear that data-driven sales and marketing companies can receive feedback and completed tasks with a highly robust and efficient framework built on consent, trusts and mutual benefit.
Social interaction network
Digital currencies derive value the same way offline traditional currencies get theirs. According to Srinivasan, if there is a region of people or nation-state, it becomes reasonable and legitimate for that group to have local money. In the new phenomenon of Bitcoin, that currency is called a social network, and it is a crucial prerequisite. They are agglomerations of people that are online and not necessarily in a physical location. This logic and process do not have dependencies in the physical world, and users can widely distribute them.
Branching of blockchain
Srinivasan described that blockchain has branched into private and public blockchains. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Etherium, Dash, Ripple, etc. work within the public blockchain space and private blockchains include Interledger, Hyperledger, and Cords. It is the popularity of Bitcoin that led to the expansion of blockchain into these models. A good analogy regarding public vs. private blockchains is Internet vs. Intranet.
Advise to entrepreneurs
According to Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, the founder of 21.co, two kinds of startup entrepreneurs exist in this world. There are the ones who are already running a company, and there are those who want to build a business. Srinivasan says that the key to success is a higher-level motivation that will get people up and about in the early morning hours and through the initial startup chore. He advises startup founders to build it entirely on blockchain as opposed to starting a business. Technology that can create value in other people’s lives can bring impact, influence, and monetization. More decentralized companies of commercial value will arrive in the future, powered by blockchain.
Coming up next:
Some businesses and companies prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin payment that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new blockchain technology shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve.
Interviewing with a new company or advancing within your current organization offer opportunities to negotiate the salary and compensation you deserve. Serving in a sales role can also provide a unique compensation package. Check out these tips when negotiating:
New Company = New Opportunity
Interviewing at a new company provides an opportunity to negotiate the best compensation package for the role. While companies must follow corporate guidelines, this is your opportunity to maximize your total compensation package and define a career path. Get that far in the interview process by following these steps:
Do your homework. Know what the organization does, where you will be working, and who you will interview with. Weave your findings into the conversation. Don’t forget to check them out on LinkedIn.
Demonstrate your work. Think about the interviewer’s pain points and give examples from your experience to showcase why you are the best fit for the job.
Search sites like Glassdoor to understand the company’s general pay practices and ranges of certain roles.
When asked about pay, provide a range of total salary you expect. Don’t box yourself in to one number and stretch beyond what you actually expect – this is your time.
You Are Here, So Now What?
As you prepare for a promotion or raise, showcase your value and readiness for more responsibility:
- Create a plan with your manager. Discuss and set clear and measurable objectives and agree on what you need to do to get there. Avoid qualitative or subjective measures that are subject to interpretation.
- Demonstrate your accomplishments. Show how you have contributed greater value than the role requires.
- This can’t be “gut feel”. Demonstrate this with fact.
- Is there an opportunity to increase responsibilities?
- Is there a role you could fill that is higher than the one you have today?
- Don’t wait until your annual review to talk with your manager. At that point, pay changes have been agreed to with HR.
Do You Work in a Sales Role?
Compensation for people in selling roles is different than for non-selling roles. Before negotiating, understand how the incentive portion of your pay works and check to ensure it has the attributes of a great compensation plan. If you are a high performer, that should be reflected in the incentive plan.
If plans and targets are set up appropriately, you should be able to reach your targets. If you are a high-performer, you should be differentiated with a higher proportion of pay for those results. That’s The Reverse Robin Hood Principle: incentive pay for low performers is paid out at a lower rate, and those incentive dollars are allocated to pay high performers more than standard rate.
Other factors to consider:
- Is it easy to understand? Do you know how you can earn incentive? A big challenge companies face is the complexity of their incentive plans.
- How many measures are in your plan? Can you influence them? The best plans have three or fewer measures. Too many measures create lack of focus and hinder your ability to achieve any of them well. If you can’t influence the measures, your incentive is left to chance.
- Is there a pay cap? The best incentive plans aren’t capped but have something to cap extremely large deals that are out of proportion to the level of effort of the sale.
- How has the organization traditionally performed against the targets? A best-in-class organization should have approximately 70% of the organization at or above their quota.
- Does the organization reward high performance? High performers should be able to earn proportionately more incentive than a low or average salesperson.
SalesGlobe is a sales innovation consulting firm that solves challenging sales problems. We work with our clients to implement new solutions that give them a significant return on their growth investment. We provide a range of sales effectiveness services that include sales transformation, sales strategy, sales organization and talent, sales compensation, and quotas. Michelle Seger is global sales strategy and change management leader.
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.