Are you listening?

In the world of business, we often watch the wild success of one company and the quick failure of many others.  At the heart of all business is the customer, whilst business is of course fuelled by money, money is easier to obtain if you simply take a minute to stop and listen to what the customer is saying. After all, people buy from people!

An essential strength of using telemarketing whether they are integrated within your in-house sales team or outsourced is the ability to talk directly to your target market and listen to their feedback. No one wants to receive cold calls, however if your brand is presented as open and receptive to feedback and objections, they are more likely to gain success. However, if you’re not open or willing to listen, then you may risk your business stagnating or failing.

In order to be successful, you need to make the customer feel as though your values and business goals are centered around their needs, as ultimately, they are the ones buying and using your product or service. You shouldn’t simply be thrusting a product or service at them and hoping for the best without taking their input on board.

Listening to customer feedback is especially vital for telephone-based sales professionals who are representing start-ups, businesses choosing to release a new product or service, and those marketing an existing product or service to a new audience. Asking customers, or potential customers, for their feedback is a key step in the process of reaching a sale, enabling you to assess your product/service, refine its offering and match to the customers’ requirements.

Their opinions provide insight to your customer and shapes the direction and message of your brand, ensuring that your business is aiming itself at the correct target audience. If the customers you’re interacting with are continuously providing negative feedback, something isn’t working! You may be missing your target’s needs, aiming the product or service at the wrong group of people, presenting the incorrect message or it may even be that your product or service simply isn’t desired in the market in comparison to competitors. By conducting market research through telemarketing and encouraging potential clients to help you explore the advantages and flaws of your product or service, you will gain vital insights and ideas. But more importantly, you will be able to tailor the product or service for the people who will actually be using it. In doing this, your business, and brand, becomes customer-centric.

Later down the line, listening to customer feedback helps you to measure customer satisfaction, which is obviously vital to keeping your business afloat. By continuously engaging with customers throughout the sales cycle, your sales team will create a sense of loyalty which will help the performance of your business as your customers will feel valued. If customers are actively telling you that they like your offering, share this and encourage others to buy into your brand and offering. But remember this channel of feedback is a two-way street, if they’re also suggesting changes or reporting issues, work to implement these changes and show that you are listening.

The more that you prove that you are open to customer feedback, be it negative or positive, the higher your levels of customer retention will be. Ultimately, a continuously unhappy and ignored customer will find a more suitable alternative to your business and leave. However, if you and your sales team continuously encourage your customers to voice their opinions and where possible adapt to these, you will better be able to measure the satisfaction of customers and keep them on board.

The easiest way to show that you are listening to your customer is to actively seek their point of view – conduct surveys, ask for testimonials, or react to feedback on social media. Social media is a gold mine for feedback, it is fair to say that almost all of your customers will interact with the internet in some way, shape or form, so use this to your benefit. Reply to their comments, negative or positive, engage in conversation with them, don’t simply use automated responses. If you don’t feel that you have the time to do this, then outsource this service, as it is vital that you engage with people on these platforms.

Simply put, if you and your sales team present your business as a customer centric company, the people buying into your product or service will be more connected to you as a brand and in turn this will boost your sales and your customer life-cycles.

So, are you listening?

The Office Environment Creates Success

Today, businesses are keen to concentrate on successful recruitment processes, robust 1-2-1 systems, competitive pay grades and offering the right benefits. All of this comes in an attempt to attract and retain excellent employees that constantly perform to the best of their ability. However, reality suggests that businesses are also becoming increasingly demanding of the people that they should be working hard to look after.

Recently, the Mental Health Foundation released figures which state that work-related stress costs Britain 10.4 million working days per year. An increasingly demanding work culture, in the UK, forces longer hours, less manageable workloads and heightens the intensity of constant comparison amongst peers in a race to stay ahead.

Businesses should be concentrating on, a healthier office environment which results in employees waking up on Monday, enthusiastic to come to work. Below are my three top tips to fostering a healthy and encouraging office environment:

 

  • The life-changing magic of tidying

With our minds often reflecting the environment in which we find ourselves, there are a lot of factors we should start considering to better our office surroundings and withdraw the best attitude from our employees, fellow colleagues and ourselves.

Marie Kondo, a Japanese organising consultant and author, has written 4 books on the art of decluttering. Her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ has been well received in more than 30 countries and her simple but sought after method has consequently led her to appear as one of the Times ‘100 most influential people’.  Aside from helping millions organise their sock draw; her book explains how cluttered disorganised spaces have a negative impact on our minds and how we choose to process our day.

In a world where the restless mind often wreaks havoc, encouraging a spacious, clear and organised office environment will allow efficiency, concentration and motivation to flourish. The art of organisation, natural light and the odd office plant will boost energy levels and increases employee well-being.

 

  • An open office

We associate an open door with opportunity. An open office space allows us to form strong relationships, build good rapport with others and gives us an opportunity to absorb the culture – whether it be peaceful and calm or buzzing with energy. The opportunity to be part of a team, working towards the same goal, allows us to immediately feel a strong sense of belonging.

According to Maslow’s motivational theory in psychology,  belongingness increases motivation, self-esteem and self-actualisation needs.

A high level of motivation will lead to new clients won, individual targets met and a positivity which can be absorbed by the whole office.

 

  • The right culture reflected

Hard work and achievement requires recognition to create an overall feeling of appreciation.

Sometimes it’s the little things that impact us the most, a thumbs up from our manager or a well done from our colleague. Knowing we are surrounded by support (at all levels) allows us to take on new tasks with confidence and grow and develop as individuals.

Recent surveys have shown that the more employees felt appreciated at work, the more they were committed to their jobs, the better equipped they were to handle stresses of client demands and deadlines and the less likely they were to take time off work.

The concept of a good workplace has been a part of office culture for decades, but many business owners still don’t know all that this entails and why it’s important.

So many different aspects of the office environment effect employee motivation, productivity and even retention.

 

No relationship is effortless

Getting the simple stuff right is becoming increasingly more important if you want your business, employees and colleagues to thrive.

As a manager or business owner encouraging continual feedback from both your perspective and your current employees will ensure essential needs are met in the aspiration of achieving a happy successful environment for everyone.

Opinion Piece by Samantha Bennett, Human Resources, Air Marketing Group

 

 

 

Setting business development goals will help you win clients and influence your team

We all know how important sales are, without sales your business won’t grow, and without growth, your business will collapse. Therefore, it is essential to account for sales and business development within your company.

Whether you’re managing your business development in-house or outsourcing to an agency, implementing a thought-out strategy will help to win you clients and give you the ability to positively influence the individuals within your company.

 

8 tips that will help you implement a successful business development strategy.

 

  1. Identify long-term goals:

82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared.

However, have you ever questioned why this might be?

Tips:

  • Establish what success looks like for your business
  • Ask why you’re deploying a business development strategy. Have you experienced a drop in inbound enquiries, are you lacking qualified leads or are you aiming to make enquires more consistent?
  • Set clear milestones and incentives to achieve the changes needed to reach success and give your team something to work towards

 

  1. Measure your current performance:

65% of CEOs rated “inclusive growth” as a top-three strategic concern.

Today, businesses are no longer assessed on traditional metrics, instead their relationships with workers and their impact on society is just as important as financial growth and this, in turn, heavily affects success.

Tips:

  • Combine revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support the people which make up your environment
  • Invest in a performance management tool. The Performance Climate System for example, is a management tool which can extract information on the current productivity, climate and perception gap between your team and the leaders
  • Allow your leaders to implement the changes needed for a more positive environment, a boost in team engagement are highly linked to an increase in sales

 

  1. Establish what clients you’re looking to win:

42% of start-ups failed in 2017 because there wasn’t a market for their offering.

Not everyone wants to buy what you’re selling, which is why it’s so important that you identify the needs of your target market.

Tips:

  • Think quality over quantity
  • Create a client profile to give you a clear indication of who needs your product or service, understand their pain points and what long term goals you can help them to achieve

If you’re looking for ‘The Ultimate Guide To B2B Sales Prospecting’, Air’s Group Director, Richard Forrest has all the tips in this world-class book.

 

  1. Hunt down your next opportunity:

80% of buyers are those which you must go out and find and it may take an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach them.

Tips:

  • Pick up the phone and be persistent in your efforts to build rapport.
  • Focus on your prospects need and be prepared to objection handle. For 3 killer ways to handle objections, take a read of our blog here.
  • Don’t become a sales robot, your priority is client satisfaction, so don’t let the relationship go cold.

 

  1. Make sure your new opportunities qualify:

Business Development Executives make between 100 and 500 calls for every lead they qualify.

Setting qualifying criteria is a way of making sure your business is concentrating on leads that can really benefit you.

Tips:

  • Be clear on the decision makers you need to be talking to and what makes a good meeting
  • Analyse your prospects BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe)

Need more tips on the golden questions you should be asking to qualify leads? Read more here.

 

  1. Top ‘Sales Professionals’ don’t sell:

1 offline word of mouth impression drives sales 5x more than one paid impression, and as much as 100x more for higher-consideration categories.

Being a sales professional is not actually about selling, it’s about building relationships and solving problems.

Tips:

  • You must be out there, have a presence and be the expert. Offer guidance, regardless of whether it results in a sale or not. You can guarantee that the person you helped, with no immediate benefit to yourself, will come back or refer your next customer

 

  1. Use your marketing resources:

Only 54% of professionals across service industries said their marketing and business development activities were strongly aligned.

Lack of integration between the two can result in wasted efforts and lost opportunities.

Tips:

  • Partner with a marketing agency or department! Events, content and consistent company messages can really help nurture leads through your pipeline and close deals
  • Checkout our sister company, Roots to Market, who can offer a full-service approach to your marketing strategy or aid in bespoke projects such a nurture campaigns

 

  1. How do you know you’ve achieved success?

Business Development is a long-term investment.

Tips:

  • Remain realistic when visualising what your success looks like, how much you’re prepared to invest and how long success will take you
  • When you have reached your initial end goal, it’s time to start the process again, establish what success looks like now, set a more ambitions turnover, find new competitors, hunt for more rewarding opportunities and create new milestones in order to progress further up the ladder

Done well, Business Development has the potential to transform the dynamic of your business and get you working with more of the right clients. Whether in-house or outsourced, everyone who touches your Business Development Strategy needs to be fully engaged in your long-term ambitions and understand what needs to be achieved to get there.

 

Get in touch:

Need help with reaching your audience, increasing your client base and growing your business? Contact #TeamAir today on 03332 581394 or via contact@air-marketing.co.uk

 

 

 

 

#TeamAir have moved!

At Air we have an ambitious and driven team. We continuously go above and beyond for our clients to ensure that their investments are worthwhile, and their businesses are a success. It is for this reason that our own success continues to grow month on month.

When we began, just two and a half years ago, we worked out of someone else’s borrowed boardroom, with a grand total of two employees. From there we swiftly grew and began to develop into the company we are today.

During 2016, our staff numbers grew from 1-15 and so, to accommodate our growing workforce and business needs, we moved out of said boardroom and into Brittany House, our new head office that accommodated 15 people. However, never a workforce to slow down, our business continued to grow and so, Brittany House only lasted us a year and we moved into our Queen Street office in 2017. With the ability to accommodate 40 people, we had capacity to more than double in size. Little did we know that we were going to achieve this in the space of 6 months. In 2017, we grew to 40 employees and knew that going into 2018 we would need to pack up the boxes and call the removal company once again.

Signing new and exciting clients, including well-known household brands, our staff numbers have now grown to more than 50. Excitingly, in March 2018, we were able to launch our sister company, Roots 2 Market, to assist with the marketing of our clients and potential clients.

And guess what? We aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon. For that reason, we have moved again! Leaving our office on Queen Street, we are now based at the Forum, on Barnfield Road and today marks our first day of operation in our new home. We are ready and raring to go, all set to help our clients boost their business and also take on new clients. We always welcome visitors, so please do pop in and have a look around our new office, or just say hello!

With a potential capacity of 100 seats, we are always looking for ambitious Business Development Executives to join our exciting and ever-growing team. This move has also allowed an office restructure and some well-deserved promotions. After a whirlwind two and a half years, we are eager to see what the future has in store for us. Watch this space!

 

Cold Calling Vs Social Selling – Let’s settle the debate.

There is a long-standing debate raging among sales professionals – which is more effective, social selling or cold calling? To me, the answer is simple.

Now, I am not going to bore you to death with stats which, depending on who you speak to, can be validated both ways. Instead, I’m going to give you some insight that I have gained as a Sales Professional who has sat on both sides of the fence, sometimes stuck in the middle, for over a decade.

So, my insight:

Logging into a webinar recently, I watched keenly as the debate in discussion swung from side to side, with each team offering their opinions. On one side, the UK’s top social seller and on the other, a Canadian based CMO from a well-known Sales Engagement Platform provider and advocate of cold calling. Both camps provided stats to back up their arguments, making it a close call. Although either could have come out on top, in my opinion, cold calling won this round. However, was this down to the geographical benefit of the stats, a more engaging presentation or more tangible evidence? I’m still unsure.

Since this debate, I’ve viewed multiple posts, blogs and podcasts to try and determine a winner for myself. I came across a recent Hubspot blog which appeared to settle the debate in favour of social selling, boldly stating that prospective customers and sales people alike “hate” cold calling. The blog consisted of impressive conversion figures, with the origins of these stats referenced, however, what is often left unclear is the industry, target, sales cycle, resource or end result of these stats origin. Without knowing the full picture, how can we possibly judge what is best for our businesses?

My background includes an enjoyable period as an Event Manager, assisting in the growth of the largest sales and marketing expo in Europe. At this event, exhibitors included direct sales people, cold callers and, what appeared to be, the more passive social sellers. All evidenced by the solutions which they were there to present. There has always been one impression that stuck with me after this event. Whilst the direct sellers had a constant sense of energy and approached any delegate who came within talking distance, the social sellers would wait to be approached – usually sat on their mobile phones. I’ll leave it to you to conclude whose stands were busier…

Now, it seems that these characteristics are commonplace, as shown to me by a recent experience. A well-known, international sales trainer recently posted on LinkedIn, “I have an associate looking for support in their telesales process.” The post had received dozens of comments and recommendations, however, with the benefit of having their phone number, I picked up the phone and introduced Air, asking how we could help. I was astounded to find out that from a 2-day old post requesting TELESALES SUPPORT I was the first person to pick up the phone and call. Now, yes, I was connected to and known by this person through social media, we’d swapped some niceties and a few messages which supported our conversation, but I was the only person to call and actually have a conversation! Whilst multiple people had attempted to social sell, guess what? The prospect wanted a conversation and, funnily enough, I was the only one introduced to their associate.

If this doesn’t settle the debate, I don’t know what will… it pays to use both!

Both cold calling and social selling have their place, it’s not really a matter of which one is better. When used together, they maximise the effectiveness, reach, efficiency and quality of your process. Each prospective client will buy in a different way and their more likely to notice your company if you get on their radar in 2 or 3 different ways. Any marketeer or sales professional worth their salt will tell you that a multi-channel, multi-touch approach will always maximise effectiveness.

Here at Air, we have multiple ways to win new business for ourselves and our clients. We run targeted email campaigns, sponsored LinkedIn mails, Facebook ads, engage traffic using IP trackers, networking events and referral channels. I will social sell, but I will still pick up the phone and cold call too. One shameless stat I will give you is that we’ve seen 257% growth in a year. We’re an award-winning company who are about to go through our second office move in less than 12 months due to increasing demand and our work with well-known household brands. And do you know why? Because wherever our clients and their customers are, and however they like to buy, we ensure we’re there too. Simple.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your business, give us a call: 0345 241 3038, or email: contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

Opinion Piece by Simon Murthwaite, Sales Director, Air Marketing Group