First felony in the cryptocurrency world

First felony in the cryptocurrency world

Previous blockchain blogpost

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.

Charlie Shrem comes from a predominantly Jewish and Russian neighborhood in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. His father used to work at a jewelry store, and his mother looked after his sisters and him. Awkward and shy, Shrem blossomed when he discovered that he had a passion for computers. Charlie Shrem learned computer programming and started engaging in hacker forums. While in Brooklyn College in 2009, he co-founded a deals site known as Daily Checkout and fell in love with sales.

Earliest Cryptocurrency Company

BitInstant

BitInstant Source: Coindesk

Charlie Shrem, a promoter’s promoter, was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. Shrem saw value when Bitcoins were worth practically nothing or maybe a few dollars each. Shrem claimed he was among the ten people globally to find out about Bitcoin. By 2011, he was well known in the network of Bitcoin and co-founded a startup company called BitInstant. He became the Chief Executive Officer of Bitinstant that was one of the earliest and most significant cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. It helped people obtain digital money and transfer it between exchanges.

Partnering for support

Shrem partnered with Gareth Nelson, a Welsh coder, and handled the business end, managing to raise funds from Roger Ver, an angel investor, and from his mom. But one person who refused to invest warned Shrem that BitInstant had no safeguards to protect against money laundering. That was fine with Shrem as a substantial portion of the clientele were users of Silk Road. These people needed to exchange dollars for Bitcoins to buy drugs on the black market. There was a middleman, a plumber in Florida by the name of Robert Faiella who had a business obtaining Bitcoins for these users.

Abetting with crime

Shrem soon found out what Faiella was up to and helped him source money for drug transactions, rather than shutting him down. Shrem’s partner, as well as the cash-processing company of BitInstant, wanted to stop it. But Shrem encouraged Faiella to disguise his identity using a new email address and username. The flow of money went on until Shrem eventually cut him off in 2012 when Faiella pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed money-transmitting business. By the time he went to prison for four years in jail, he had laundered a million dollar through BitInstant.

Vision with swagger

By 2012, Shrem was a young Chief Executive Officer, a motor-mouthed cocky capitalist, and a proud pothead. He had swaggering ambitions as he wanted to turn BitInstant into the Apple of Bitcoin and his company soon would be processing a massive chunk of all Bitcoin transactions. When a payment processor cut all connections with Bitcoin companies under pressure from MasterCard and partner banks, leaving customer funds stranded, it was BitInstant that hacked together a solution to let users withdraw their money.

Bitinstant gaining traction

Bitinstant raised $1.5 million, most of it from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twin brothers, who had a venture capital firm

The company raised $1.5 million from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss Source: CNBC

Bitinstant raised $1.5 million, most of it from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twin brothers, who had a venture capital firm. The company helped them buy their first Bitcoins. Since then they were hooked. After raising funds, the company’s future looked bright, and Bitinstant became an industry barometer because crypto-economy depended on rapid money transfers. In early 2013, during the Cypriot financial crisis, when bank accounts for regular citizens taxed them 6.75%, Bitcoin suddenly became a haven.

Chaotic early days

Charlie Shrem embodied the legally questionable, chaotic early days of cryptocurrency. Two of Shrem’s best friends quit Bitinstant due to a dispute with the investors. Something went out of Shrem with the departure of his two best friends who were his confidants. He seemed distracted, spent the night partying, sleeping in and showing up late to work. Meanwhile, the site was straining under the traffic surge, leading to waves of complaints. A platform upgrade became mired in legal concerns and technical problems. It became clear that Bitinstant had been operating without licenses, and the cost of acquiring them would be prohibitive. Bitinstant that made Shrem a Bitcoin millionaire eventually went bust and shut down in 2013 as it was all too much for everyone concerned to carry on.

Bitcoin foundation speaker

Shrem became an overnight sensation when he featured in a documentary about the new virtual phenomenon. He co-founded the Bitcoin foundation, which was the first nonprofit advocacy organization for the digital currency. He then flew to Argentina on a Bitcoin foundation mission because by then Shrem had become a proselytizer and a speaker at industry conferences. His business was now himself and not BitInstant as he began to charge speaking fees as all the while his life was a whirlwind of deal-making and partying. Everywhere he went he kept telling people that he is rebuilding BitInstant.

Crime caught up

At first, Shrem got away unscathed as he was enjoying his freedom. He took a vacation to Morocco with his girlfriend, Courtney Warner, where he tried opium. In 2014 it caught up with Shrem when he was arrested in Amsterdam as he was returning from a speech.

Arguments for defense

Robert Faiella

Robert Faiella Source: CBC

Shrem argued his case first by advancing the notion that individuals can spend their money the way they want it as long as it is not harmful to anyone else. And second, at the time he was helping Faiella, the government had not decided how to regulate or even classify Bitcoin. If they had not yet determined whether it acknowledged Bitcoin as money, how could that amount to laundering? Shrem did not know whether the law he had violated was just and had wanted to raise these issues but his lawyers advised against it.

Bitcoins buy drugs

In 2015, Charlie Shrem eventually went to federal prison for two years after pleading guilty. He was abetting and aiding an unlicensed money transmitter client, Robert Faiella acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is considered to be the first of its kind in the digital currency world. Although other Bitcoiners had broken the law, Shrem was the first to be imprisoned.

Coming up next:

Charlie Shrem the first Bitcoin felon went to federal prison in 2015 for 2 years. Upon his release he went about strengthening the ecosystem of blockchain. A real breakthrough came when he created a prepaid Dash debit card. He then joined Intellisys Capital and decided to raise funds in the form of initial coin offering but was mired with doubts, as he feared the intense scrutiny from the authorities and eventually backed off.

The Simple Tool That Can Maximize Your Multichannel Communications Campaign

The Simple Tool That Can Maximize Your Multichannel Communications Campaign

For any marketing professional, these are either the best of times or the worst of times for plying your trade. Communication opportunities are more plentiful than they’ve ever been, which is great news, but along with that glut of marketing channels comes the overwhelming feeling that if you’re not communicating across every possible platform, you’re doing a disservice to your company or your clients. Trigger Systems are a great tool for making sure that you’re making the most of your marketing opportunities.

Wait, what’s a Trigger System, you ask? In simplest terms, a Trigger System is a set of communications and marketing tasks created around a recurring business event, so that you’re always ready to hit the ground running, whether the event is planned or not. And Trigger Systems are supremely flexible, adapting to whatever your communication needs are, so you can set up a Trigger System for situations as different as launching a new product, running a retail campaign or attending a trade show.

It’s a pretty simple idea, but once you think through and document your communications roadmap, you can use it again and again. Just think about how helpful it would be to have a clear, replicable set of PR and marketing tasks that are “triggered” every time your company attends a trade show.

Below are examples of three very different situations where Trigger Systems can help you maximize your multichannel marketing potential. To help illustrate the usefulness and flexibility of this tool, these examples will all be based around a company that’s launching a new beverage in a new, but high-growth beverage category.

Launching a New Beverage

You’ve put in the work of researching the market for your new beverage, creating a great product and developing a brand that you’re confident will resonate with your target customer. Now, you need people to listen and act! A Trigger System for a product launch could include everything from creating press releases and pay-per-click social media and search ad campaigns to creating in-store promotional materials and researching and securing guest articles and backlinks from well-respected beverage publications and taste-making blogs and websites — and anything else that you think will get your product in front of the right eyes! And the best part? When you launch the three other beverages you have planned for next year, you can use the same set of tasks to develop those launch campaigns!

Getting More Out of Your Online Retail Campaign

Many of your potential customers are encountering your new beverage through online channels, and rather than providing a call to action that requires them to visit a physical store, you’re hoping to kickstart sales with an online retail campaign that will bring your beverage right to people’s front doors. When you create a Trigger System, you can think through all the possible avenues for communicating this message, encompassing pay-per-click and remarketing ads, drip email campaigns, a retail splash page on your website, creative product partnerships and more.

Making Noise at a Trade Show

Trade shows are a great way to make a splash with a new product, generating lots of good buzz, making important industry connections and driving big sales orders. Trigger Systems are perfectly suited to trade shows because they can help you create a template that you can use every single time you attend a show. This could include purchasing ads on the show’s website and program, sending invitations to prospects, curating a press list and inviting publications and bloggers to samples and interviews with company leaders, a trade show-specific landing page on your website, refreshed marketing collateral and — of course — a show-stopping new booth design.

Especially when you are launching a new product and building a new business, Trigger Systems can help you create the communications infrastructure that will allow you to execute creative and tactical communications campaigns effectively and seamlessly across as many different channels as possible.

Mike Schaffer is the CEO of Echo-Factory, Inc. Throughout the course of his career, Mike has provided strategic oversight and executive leadership for companies looking to position their businesses for growth, acquisition or both. Mike is an ongoing contributor to CSQ Magazine and a regular speaker at marketing conventions, and mentors start-ups with the USC incubator and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. He also organizes the largest Innovation Group in Los Angeles which meets weekly in Pasadena.

Accepting Bitcoin is good for business

Accepting Bitcoin is good for business

Previous blockchain blogpost

Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift. It is 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.

Some businesses 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 that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new technology is good for businesses. It shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve. Accepting Bitcoin is a marketing strategy that could positively impact the company’s bottom line. With such transactions on the rise, many companies are using Bitcoin to their advantage.

New market segment

There are customers out there that only work with those businesses that accept Bitcoin. The bigger such an audience, the higher chance of making sales, moving past the competition, and boosting profits. Accepting Bitcoin may be a gimmick, but it could give the company an edge over the competitors. Since many are not on board with this technology as yet, it is possible to beat them to it. Hence, companies that use Bitcoin are fortunate enough to generate business from a fresh audience and a new market segment.

Appeals younger generation

Just the same as the conventional form of payment, every one of all ages can use Bitcoin. But it is the younger generation who are most likely to adopt this fast-growing form of payment. Companies that work towards appealing to such a demographic needs to give them something to get excited. One of the many ways is accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for the products or services. It is a differentiating factor that the younger generation look at when purchasing items.

Peace of mind

Data breaches that rock the world may not have impacted many companies. But there is no guarantee of that not happening in the future. In regards to data security, Bitcoin gives peace of mind since it does not store payment information. Or not at least in the way traditional financial sector does. That way, it provides the prospects and customers a higher level of trust in the companies.

Traditional affiliate networks

Bitcoin is going to affect traditional affiliate networks, which may have to reexamine their minimum network fees for the commissionable transaction. Affiliate marketing uses Bitcoin because of the cost-effective manner of rewarding virtually any purchase. It also allows paying in real-time in which case purchase transactions are not reversible.

Impacts variable rates

Bitcoin impacts the prices of those products marketed through the affiliate program. Those who offer automatic services or intangible products may be able to consume the risk of the variable value of Bitcoin. Companies selling tangible products may likely keep their prices in their currency and then convert it on the fly. Merchants may give some extra incentives to affiliates who promote Bitcoin-priced products and also to those affiliates accepting Bitcoins as commissions. Again, it will be easier for merchants to edge potential changes when the value of Bitcoin becomes stable.

Lead generation companies

Lead-gen marketing companies may receive high payouts for hot leads but a fraction of that for cold leads. The first examples are in the Bitcoin space itself whereby the firms refer active users to Bitcoin Exchanges. CoinMate.io is a British based Exchange that serves continental Europe but does not operate in North America and offers a fee for recommended users. On the other side is Coinbase, a leading exchange who pays handsomely to both the referred user and the referring user. Considering Bitcoin can reward almost any transaction, in the future it will adopt a percentage approach and would add premium percentages for referring top-tier customers. As the value of Bitcoin becomes stable, commissions will be expressed more frequently in Bitcoin.

Cheap website traffic

Faucets are a cheap way to get traffic on to a website by rewarding the people who either visit the site or complete specific actions

Faucets are a cheap way to get traffic on to a website by rewarding the people who either visit the site or complete specific actions Source: Steemit

Faucets are a cheap way to get traffic on to a website by rewarding the people who either visit the site or complete specific actions. If an overlap exists between the company’s customers and the users of the Bitcoin faucet, there may be value for the company.

Binary options trade

Satoshi option trading

Satoshi option trading

Bitcoin is very beneficial for binary options because it allows traders to transact business when other markets remain closed. Accepting Bitcoin payments from traders will have many implications on the product itself. The binary options brokers, e gaming, and daily fantasy sports operators accept Bitcoin and convert it into a currency that goes to the customer’s account. However, bearing the risk of receiving Bitcoins, and then having to pay winners a different amount of Bitcoins, requires careful planning, until their value stabilizes.

Decentralised digital currency

Bitcoin is similar to Euro or Dollars or Yen with the difference that Bitcoin is not under the jurisdiction of a bank or a country. This digital currency is not supported by economic drivers and exists only on computers. Like standard money, Bitcoin can be used to buy services and goods from companies who accept it. The details can get complex, but a simple example can explain how it works on a fundamental level.

Illustration with example

Let us assume that an online store sells a bat for $100/- and accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment. If the purchaser pays $100/- today and if the rate drops by 30%, effectively, that bat was sold yesterday for $70/-. If, on the other hand, the rate goes up by 30%, that bat was sold yesterday for $130/-. And that makes good business sense, but the exchange rate is hard to predict on a day-to-day basis. Domino’s Pizza was the first company to take Bitcoin back in 2013. Some companies already take Bitcoin; most notably among them are Dell, Newegg, and Overstock.com.

Establishing Bitcoin functionality

For those websites that already allow Bitcoin payments in the online store, such as Shopify, they have to establish and enable the functionality of a Bitcoin wallet. Otherwise, the more straightforward solution might be a Bitcoin Payment Processor or Gateway such as CoinGate, Stripe, BitPay, or any of the others. If everything else fails, consider changing the website hosts but only as a last resort.

Strategy enhances brand

Merely having a payment method that is Bitcoin-friendly will become the mark of a forward-thinking company. In other words, using blockchain to formalize digital payments between companies can work in one’s favor. From a business point-of-view, not only is this secure but from a marketing perspective, it helps add to the branding. A mass-adoption future where the world would just use Bitcoin instead of paper currencies is a little far-fetched right now, but having a strategy in place will help in the long run to be ahead of the game.

Businesses follow suit

Bitcoins is a celebrity of its own, but their chief value in marketing and digital commerce may be that they introduced blockchains. The technology that makes Bitcoin possible is the aspect that makes it most disruptive giving rise to different kinds of applications. Very soon, companies or banks will be managing blockchain technology because they see the potential in its ability to record transactions permanently and globally with one entry.

Blockchain resembles Internet

The blockchain movement feels like the Internet primarily because both offer decentralized systems, except that Bitcoin is about a rapid transfer of value, and the Internet is about the transmission of information. Consumers can purchase blockchain-generated tokens representing values or products, employing the power of falling and rising token prices in a self-regulating, decentralized blockchain environment. In the most idealized version, a community of developers will be maintaining each blockchain faithfully and owning tokens that would increase in value.

Coming up next:

Charlie Shrem was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. He co-founded a startup company in 2011 called BitInstant that was one of the earliest cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. In 2015, Shremwent to prison for two years for aiding an unlicensed money transmitter acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is the first of its kind in the crypto world.

Blockchain technology creates untold opportunities everywhere

Blockchain technology creates untold opportunities everywhere

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

Blockchain

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

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

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.

Negotiating Compensation: Tips to Help Boost Your Package for A New Job or Current Position

Negotiating Compensation: Tips to Help Boost Your Package for A New Job or Current Position

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.

About SalesGlobe:

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.

The 4th missing key element to sales success

The 4th missing key element to sales success

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.

elements of sales success

What next?

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

                                                                                                Forrester research

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.

Conclusion

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.