Pfizer is suing one of its employees after she allegedly stole thousands of the company’s files with the intent to take a job with one of its competitors, with some of the files including information about the Covid-19 vaccine.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in San Diego federal court, Pfizer alleged one of its associate directors of statistics, Chun Xiao Li, uploaded over 12,000 files to her personal devices from a company issued laptop without permission.
Pfizer said it believes Li was offered a job at one of its competitors—Xencor Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. Pfizer claims Li is still in possession of a laptop containing documents “potentially related to numerous Pfizer vaccines, drugs, and other innovations,” with the complaint specifically focusing on information she allegedly has pertaining to the Covid-19 vaccine and monoclonal antibodies.
The drug company claimed Li tried to mislead it by providing a “decoy” laptop when they confronted her about the issue.
A U.S. district judge ordered a temporary block on Tuesday, halting Li from using any of Pfizer’s trade secrets, according to Reuters. Li did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
“Had Ms. Li left Pfizer honorably, she would not be named in this Complaint. But she made a different choice,” Pfizer wrote.
Pfizer noted in the complaint that competitors have been trying “relentlessly” to recruvaccineit its employees, particularly in 2021.
On Monday, the company announced its Covid-19 vaccine demonstrated 100% efficacy in adolescents ages 12-15. It plans to submit the vaccine for full regulatory approval in the age group in the U.S. and internationally.
Most tech entrepreneurs these days stay away from services because investors are looking for high-margin, repeatable revenue. Service revenues don’t command the same multiples that product revenues do.
When I decided to bootstrap my startup, I never expected to be selling professional services. I quickly learned, however, that offering services tied to your product can be incredibly useful when bootstrapping. When my company started offering design and development services utilizing our low-code development platform, these services led to high-margin recurring revenue and greatly improved unit economics. These services also drove a tremendous amount of customer success.
But, service offerings are not for everyone. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself in order to determine whether services should be part of your bootstrapping efforts.
For bootstrapping to work, you need a healthy margin. At one of the companies I founded, our professional services were a necessary element of customer onboarding since product implementation was incredibly complex and not self-service.
Our professional services margin was -20%, which eroded our cash significantly. In this instance, service was not a revenue center but a loss leader — something we had to offer to secure the more valuable recurring revenue. If you find yourself in the same boat, services will never be a viable bootstrapping strategy. They could, however, be a tool you utilize to drive the rapid growth of recurring revenues.
Does the market/customer want the services?
Many technology products simply can’t be used by most people without a services component. At my company, we found that even though our low-code development platform could be utilized by people with minimal coding expertise, certain segments of our user base simply didn’t have the inclination to build their solution on our platform. We also discovered that even with powerful tools, many people wanted to leverage the expertise of an experienced software design team.
This prompted us to spin up a services team that could charge for design and development as an initial project and even provide ongoing development services on a monthly basis. Going this route is driving a three-to-six month payback on sales and marketing investment for us. Do these types of opportunities exist for you?
Can your service offering eventually be outsourced to an ecosystem of providers?
Services can serve as a bridge to help fund platform losses up to a point where outsiders can take over. Building an ecosystem can create an awesome flywheel effect, whereby participants not only become service providers but a channel for bringing in new product sales — without the expense of having to add to your own sales team.
Salesforce and Workday both did a brilliant job of executing this strategy. Ideally your product will gain enough acceptance that you can sell off your services division for additional profit.
Do services provide you with more customer intimacy and enhance your retention metrics?
A customer’s switching costs go way up when there is both a human and technological connection to your product and services. This sort of intimacy can provide a significant boost to your retention metrics and ensure predictable revenue.
Having great people to support clients can make up for early product deficiencies and create a level of trust that a pure low-touch product cannot. This is especially important in the early days of any startup’s product lifecycle.
Can bootstrapping with services strengthen your product development?
Launching a services division also provides another benefit: the chance for you to “eat your own dogfood.” It’s a fact that when employees use their own product, it gets markedly better. At my company, we rotate core team members in and out of the professional services team to ensure every engineer feels what our customers feel. I believe this leads to product brilliance.
Now I’m not advocating you become a services company, but having a product company with a service business could stave off having to secure venture backing before your product is more mature. This can help you avoid things like dilution, a loss of control and the pressure to grow fast for a speedy exit.
As someone who’s previously founded two venture-backed startups, I like how bootstrapping with services is allowing my company to grow more thoughtfully. We have time to think about product/market fit before scaling up, we’re not pursuing growth rates that our platform can’t support, we’re making smart hires and we’re scrutinizing the ROI of all of our expenses because every dollar counts.
Additionally, we are vetting the utility of our own product with real-life customers and creating a virtuous circle of feedback to drive new features. I feel like it’s the smarter way to evolve a business like ours — building a company for the long haul versus hitting some arbitrary goal to secure additional venture capital.
There is one important consideration before bootstrapping with services: You’ll want to make sure you’re growing (albeit at a deliberate pace) and not just treading water. That’s why the above questions are something you’ll want to consider before following my lead. It’s critical you feel confident that you’ll create enough runway and customer success for your ultimate business model to take shape, while not letting services become a distraction.
In computer technology the term bootstrapping, refers to language compilers that are able to be coded in the same language. (For example, a C compiler is now written in the C language. Once the basic compiler is written, improvements can be iteratively made, thus pulling the language up by its bootstraps) Also, booting usually refers to the process of loading the basic software into the memory of a computer after power-on or general reset, the kernel will load the operating system which will then take care of loading other device drivers and software as needed.
Bootstrapping can also refer to the development of successively more complex, faster programming environments. The simplest environment will be, perhaps, a very basic text editor (e.g., ed) and an assembler program. Using these tools, one can write a more complex text editor, and a simple compiler for a higher-level language and so on, until one can have a graphicalIDE and an extremely high-level programming language.
Historically, bootstrapping also refers to an early technique for computer program development on new hardware. The technique described in this paragraph has been replaced by the use of a cross compiler executed by a pre-existing computer. Bootstrapping in program development began during the 1950s when each program was constructed on paper in decimal code or in binary code, bit by bit (1s and 0s), because there was no high-level computer language, no compiler, no assembler, and no linker.
A tiny assembler program was hand-coded for a new computer (for example the IBM 650) which converted a few instructions into binary or decimal code: A1. This simple assembler program was then rewritten in its just-defined assembly language but with extensions that would enable the use of some additional mnemonics for more complex operation codes.
The enhanced assembler’s source program was then assembled by its predecessor’s executable (A1) into binary or decimal code to give A2, and the cycle repeated (now with those enhancements available), until the entire instruction set was coded, branch addresses were automatically calculated, and other conveniences (such as conditional assembly, macros, optimisations, etc.) established. This was how the early assembly program SOAP (Symbolic Optimal Assembly Program) was developed. Compilers, linkers, loaders, and utilities were then coded in assembly language, further continuing the bootstrapping process of developing complex software systems by using simpler software.
Causal loop, also known as Bootstrap paradox – Sequence of events which cause each other
Ecommerce juggernaut Amazon reported its best first-quarter sales ever Thursday after the market closed, beating out analyst expectations and tacking on to a slew of recent blockbuster reports from big-tech giants as stocks climb to new highs.
Seattle-based Amazon reported revenue of $108.5 billion in the first quarter, surging 44% year over year and beating out analyst expectations of $104.5 billion.
Boosted by stimulus checks and improving sales of Amazon Web Services (AWS), net income hit $15.79 per share, or roughly $8.1 billion—eclipsing expectations of $9.54 per share and more than tripling from $2.5 billion one year ago.
The release marks Amazon’s second-biggest quarter ever for sales, behind only the $125.6 billion nabbed in last year’s fourth quarter thanks to a later-than-usual Prime Day and the pandemic holiday season.
Amazon shares jumped 5% in after-hours trading immediately after the announcement; the stock ticked up 0.4% Thursday, lifting its year-to-date gain to about 9%—lower than the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s 11% increase.
“In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales… business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating—up 32% year over year,” Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in the earnings release, touting the fast-growing segment that analysts expect will drive the bulk of Amazon’s future growth. “Companies from Airbnb to McDonald’s to Volkswagen come to AWS because we offer what is by far the broadest set of tools and services available, and we continue to invent relentlessly on their behalf.”
Now worth an estimated $202 billion, Jeff Bezos started Amazon as an online bookseller operating out of his Seattle garage in 1994, and the company has since grown to become one of the world’s most valuable companies with businesses spanning cloud storage, video streaming, groceries and more.
Last year, about 56% of Amazon’s $386 billion in total sales came from products sold on the platform, while the rest came from services like AWS, Amazon Prime and advertising. In February, Amazon announced Bezos would step down as CEO in the third quarter after 27 years at the company’s helm, ceding the position to AWS CEO Andy Jassy—a sign the company could double-down on its quickly growing service offerings.
What To Watch For
Amazon’s first-quarter earnings call is at 5:30 p.m. EDT Thursday. Forte says he’ll be listening for details on “heir apparent” Jassy’s leadership transition, potential government regulation, the Alabama vote against unionization and costs incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
$3,993. That’s how high analysts think Amazon shares can go over the next year, according to Bloomberg data, implying that the stock could soar about 14% from current prices of about $3,474.
A booming pandemic rally helped Amazon shares nearly double since the start of last year, creating the nation’s third-largest company with a market capitalization of nearly $1.8 trillion.
“Last year, Amazon lost sales to competition—including Walmart, Target, eBay and others—because it couldn’t keep up with demand, and it made a strategic decision to emphasize essentials during the start of the pandemic,” Tom Forte, a senior research analyst at investment bank D.A. Davidson said in a pre-earnings note. “Since then, it has ramped up staffing and fulfillment-center square footage and, in our view, is better positioned to recapture those sales.”
I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The company spent slightly less than $2 billion on coronavirus-related operating costs in the quarter, Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said on a call with investors and analysts. Its labor costs, meanwhile, are set to increase: The company announced this week it plans to boost pay for about 500,000 U.S. workers, who will receive hourly raises between 50 cents and $3. It already pays employees a $15 minimum starting wage.
Amazon has been on an unprecedented mass hiring spree, swelling its ranks by 430,000 workers in the past year to cope with pandemic-induced demand. It also faces growing worker activism. Amazon defeated its second union drive in the company’s 26-year history when employees at a warehouse complex in Bessemer, Alabama, declined to join the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union last month. The company faces another unionizing effort in four facilities around Staten Island, New York.
How did your leadership priorities change in 2020? If you started paying more attention to the sales enablement needs of your organization, you’re not alone.
According to recent HubSpot research, 65% of sales leaders who outperformed revenue targets in 2020 reported having a dedicated person or team working on sales enablement efforts instead of making it an initiative someone works on off the side of their desk.
For sales organizations that have been waiting to implement dedicated sales enablement measures — the time is now. With 2021 right around the corner, intentional sales enablement is a must-have for organizations that want to remain competitive in the future.
HubSpot recently sat down with Chris Pope, Director of Sales at Crayon, to discuss how companies can implement sales enablement strategies that can move the needle and drive revenue growth.
“Crayon defines sales enablement as providing our account executives with the resources and content they need to win more deals. Closing deals is more important than ever, especially in today’s competitive market where there are fewer deals to close,” he says.
In 2020, Crayon placed even greater emphasis on sales enablement to support their sales force. “We’ve put even more effort into making sure that our sales teams have the resources they need, simply because every deal matters more than ever,” says Pope.
How to Improve Sales Enablement for Your Team
1. Use data to inform your sales enablement content.
Crayon uses data to inform sales enablement decisions. According to Pope, his team relies on “velocity reports” to determine what areas of the sales process reps need the most support with.
“Velocity reports tell us what our reps conversion rates are at every stage of the sales funnel. How many opportunities are turning into discovery calls? How many discovery calls are turning into demos? How many demos are turning into proposals? And how many proposals do we send out that turn into closed business?” says Pope.
“We leverage that data to inform us where each individual rep needs to spend the most time, and where managers need to spend time training individual contributors.”
From an organizational level, this approach helps sales leaders know how to support sales managers and reps, and provides valuable insight into the type of training and content would be most effective.
Two examples of enablement content Crayon leadership has provided to their sales team include:
“We love call recordings. We not only have call recordings of what the perfect call sounds like, we also have recordings of ideal discovery calls, effective demos, and successful closing calls. We share these recordings with reps who may need help in those areas, and we share them broadly across the organization so everyone is on the same page,” Pope says.
Battle cards are a valuable tool for preparing reps to speak to features and objections related to your product. Crayon relies heavily on battle cards to ensure sales reps understand what they’re selling inside and out.
“We use our own product to make sure that our individual contributors have the most up to date messaging on how we position against our competition. This knowledge has been crucial not only for our organization, but for our customers as well,” says Pope.
2. Focus on sales team culture.
Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “company culture” — the idea that a company should have a shared set of beliefs, values, and practices. But when was the last time you assessed the culture of your sales team?
Sales teams are often dynamic organizations with motivated team members whose ability to sell is critical to the health of a company. Building strong rapport among members of the sales team and having a culture of open communication, especially in a remote environment, is an effective way to support sales enablement.
Feeling supported and included while selling remotely can be challenging for reps. For Crayon, sales team cohesion is a high priority.
“We’ve done our best to create a team atmosphere. We have daily calls where the entire sales team is on together, we have a peer program where our more experienced reps are paired with less experienced reps to offer coaching and mentorship, and we’re creating cross-functional opportunities for our pipeline generation team to work closer with our closing team,” says Pope.
These activities build trust across the team, and strengthen communication among sales managers and reps, creating a better environment to tackle sales enablement issues as they arise.
3. Prioritize sales enablement at each level of the organization.
At Crayon, sales enablement is an all-hands-on-deck initiative from the top down.
“Sales enablement is a team effort at Crayon. It starts at the top with our Senior Vice President of Sales, who delivers insight on broad topics and training related to overarching sales themes such as a demo workflow, or how to run a closing call,” says Pope.
“The managers and directors are responsible for individual training tailored to the needs of their reps. This can include listening in on at least a few calls for each individual contributor weekly, and providing regular feedback.”
In addition to the sales enablement work of leadership, Crayon focuses heavily on team selling to get everyone involved.
“If one of our reps is great at positioning our product against a competitor’s or they’re strong at demoing a certain aspect of our platform, we’ll invite their team members to tune into their sales calls so they can learn from them.”
Everybody within the organization plays a role in our sales enablement.
In 2020, sales managers at Crayon took a hands-on approach to coaching reps who had opportunities for improvement.
“We’ve really made it a focus to make sure managers are involved in more calls. Managers are putting time aside to give individual contributors and feedback that they need after calls, and benchmarking performance after every stage of the sales cycle,” says Pope.
According to Pope, if a rep is struggling with a specific part of the sales process, Crayon’s team will “focus our training on the specific aspect of the process they’re struggling with to help them improve and get their overall win rate up.”
4. Don’t wait to give feedback.
When sales managers and seasoned team members are coaching reps, the Crayon team makes it a point to provide feedback quickly.
For example, if Pope were to listen in to a rep’s sales call with a prospect, he would schedule 15 minutes with the rep right after the call to deliver feedback on how it went.
“When you let time pass, the call is not as fresh in the rep’s mind, and your feedback is not going to be as direct as it would be if you delivered it right away.”
5. Make sure sales managers feel supported.
Sales managers often have a lot on their plate. They are responsible for coaching and leading their reps to success, and are accountable for their team’s performance to leadership. For growing companies, relieving pressure from sales managers is crucial for a healthy organization.
“As you continue to scale your teams you don’t want your managers to feel overwhelmed. You want to make sure they have enough time in the day to give every individual contributor the attention that they need to to perform their best.” says Pope.
Pope says Crayon focuses on conscious staffing and resourcing to avoid sales manager burnout:
“If we know we’re going to hire a new group of sales reps, we make sure we already have enough managers in place who have the bandwidth to lead.
So when those people start we don’t have a new manager meeting new reps, we have experienced managers working with new reps, and we make sure that team members have the data they need to understand what their path to success will be as an individual contributor.”
Improving Team Morale in 2021
Per HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 40% of sales leaders expected to miss their revenue targets this year. That means sales enablement efforts are not only necessary for growth — they are critical for survival.
In a competitive landscape where sales teams are working with volatile markets and buyer uncertainty, keeping morale high is more challenging than ever. Pope shares why communication is Crayon’s greatest tool for keeping employees engaged.
“Morale has been all over the map for different members of the team. At Crayon, we never go a day without checking in on our reps,” he says. “I try to at least have two times a day where I’m asking them how their days are going, what they’ve been working on, what calls have gone well, what calls haven’t gone well, and asking how can I continue to support them.”
This approach to communication happens at the organizational level as well.
“Crayon has done a really great job of communicating, being honest about when we might go back into the office, and making sure we’re meeting with folks who are concerned about not having an office atmosphere to make sure that they’re comfortable with their remote work setup,” says Pope.
If you’re looking for more advice on boosting sales rep productivity and morale, check out this post for advice from an Aircall sales leader on navigating employee fatigue.
Learn more about Sales Enablement: Why You Need Sales Enablement: https://clickhubspot.com/Sales-Enable… The Sales Enablement Certification will teach you how to develop a marketing-driven sales enablement strategy. This course was designed with marketing managers in mind, but other marketers, as well as sales leaders, can benefit from learning the principles involved in this approach to sales enablement.
Sixty-two percent of Americans were working from home as of late spring, according to a May 2020 Gallup survey, making ecommerce even more critical to any successful marketing campaign. Social channels are especially helpful in encouraging customer demand, which offsets risk amid a deep recession.
Instagram in particular is one of the most profitable sites for promoting goods and services, especially if you operate in a niche — think fashion and beauty, travel, health and fitness, food, consumer goods, home and decor and digital services — that makes heavy use of multimedia content. In fact, ecommerce makes up 15.8 percent of total interactions on Instagram, according to a January 2020 report by Socialbakers.
Here’s how marketers, independent contractors, freelancers and small-business owners can expand their reach and acquire new customers on Instagram.
Create a business account to draw inbound interest
Instagram has 120 million U.S. users, according to analytics firm NapoleonCat. More than 200 million global users visit at least one business profile daily, according to Instagram, and 60 percent of people say they discover new products on the platform.
“Create a business account so the Instagram marketplace knows that you exist,” advises Tony Noskov, founder of Snoopreport, a firm that developed Instagram Activity Tracker for individuals and businesses. “An Instagram business account lets you see real-time metrics on engagement so you can adjust strategy, interaction and content to attract inbound interest on goods and services. A business profile enables brands to publish location, store hours, website and phone number. Put a call-to-action button that moves consumers along the sales funnel to possible conversion.”
Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults are Instagrammers, and 63 percent of them visit the site daily, according to Pew Research. Noskov’s Instagram Activity Tracker lets anyone monitor a public user’s likes, comments, follows and other activities.
For businesses, the tool is helpful for building a list of influencers and for benchmarking competitor strategies. Instagram also comes equipped with native tools that allow users to optimize photos and videos without having to pay for additional software or services.
Between March 1 and July 10, 132,580 businesses closed around the country, according to Yelp’s Economic Impact Report. Social marketing can mitigate economic risks by unforeseen forces. It’s prudent to seek deep-pocketed clients or customers who refresh the work pipeline so you can better sleep at night. Allocate one day per week to be actively engaged on social channels or with online promotion.
If you’re busy with current projects, you should still commit at least 10 percent of your workweek to marketing. You may find higher-paying gigs that come with less headache. Delegate by hiring a low-cost intern who won’t mind earning money and class credits to use Instagram for business.
An effective approach when using Instagram is to first define your target buyers. Businesses can define market segments in several waysm including demographics, values and lifestyle, consumer behavior, disposable income and geography. By identifying their ideal buyers, marketers can customize messages and offers, as well as concentrate on a smaller group of consumers who benefit the most from a product or service.
Companies are in a better position to optimize marketing efforts, pricing, product design, shipping and other aspects of their businesses when they better understand their customers. This can lead to improved key performance indicators (KPIs) like click-throughs, conversion rates, profit margins, customer satisfaction and other important business metrics.
Who is your ideal client or customer, and how do they interact with your Instagram content? What keywords, hashtags, photos and videos do they respond to? What communication styles best resonate with them? One helpful approach is to create a buyer persona — a fictional representation of a few ideal customers based both on experience and data. By knowing who specifically you’re targeting, you can improve content, sales and marketing, product design, delivery and other aspects of customer acquisition.
An Instagram strategy shouldn’t be set in stone; it should be liquid. You must continually optimize methods based on new preferences and trends, but once you’ve gained actionable insights from top accounts, you can begin to create aesthetic visuals for your brand.
The key is to capture amazing photos and videos and to tell stories that spark lively discussions from people who will like, comment and push your brand. Write compelling captions that convey the essence of your craft, i.e. what makes you tick and why you’re the right person (or product) for the job. Display client stories or give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how things operate at your place of business.
The end strategy you settle on will depend heavily on your industry and target buyers. That’s why it’s important to observe and understand why top performers are converting the way they are. Something in your approach resonates with them and aligns with how they consume and engage with your Instagram content.
Once you’ve found a good fit, keep your foot on the proverbial gas pedal.
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