The importance of training when developing high performance teams

This opinion piece was written by Nicolette Karides. After finding her passion for Learning and Development, she champions the importance of team and individual training within a business – find out more about Nicolette, here.

When it comes to training, I have often found that the main objection I’m met with is cost and the potential loss of investment – “what happens if we train our staff and they leave?” My response… what happens if we don’t and they stay?”

Yes, training can be expensive and in businesses, people come and go. However, if the training is right, the relevant benefits far outweigh the cost. Training is vital in the workplace as it aids both personal and company growth. Training also makes employees feel valued and invested in, resulting in a happy environment and increased productivity.

Training can benefit company growth in numerous ways:

  • Best practice: Training expands the knowledge base of all employees within a company. By sharing best practice within the company, all employees understanding of procedures and processes and how to deliver a high standard of quality, can then be replicated daily and maintained throughout the entire team.
  • Consistency: Best practice goes hand-in-hand with consistency. With constant and relevant training from day one, all employees should receive a solid foundation of knowledge, which can then be built upon. With this foundation, all employees will possess the tools and knowledge to carry out and deliver work of the same outstanding standard and quality. 
  • Motivation: It is important to keep employees motivated as it has a direct effect on productivity. An increase in motivation will directly increase the productivity of employees and their overall performance as well as that of a team. In turn, this will generate more return on investment (ROI) for the client and the company, representing the importance of investing time and resources into training.
  • Employee satisfaction: Morale is high when productivity and performance throughout the company are strong. This coupled with personal achievements brings employee satisfaction, whereby employees are happy and feel valued, in turn they perform well. It’s a full circle that all stems from and starts with training.
  • Weak areas: Identifying and addressing weaknesses in a company presents the opportunity to carry out refresher training or upskill sessions to educate and share knowledge. This ensures that everyone is comfortable in what is required from them and the level of performance is once again maintained.
  • Collaboration: We all know that ‘two heads are better than one’. It makes sense then to share knowledge and experience, both within specific teams as well as between them. Coming together to help one another, as well as bringing different perspectives and opinions can sometimes be beneficial for everyone involved and helps to present various aspects of the company in various ways. This can be a training lead collaboration, whereby everyone can learn and benefit while also feeling like they have a voice.
  • Reduced employee turnover: When employees receive the relevant and correct amount of training, they should feel more comfortable and confident in the workplace being able to carry out all aspects of their role with ease. Thus, reducing anxiety, unhappiness and a desire to leave the company.

Training doesn’t always need to be delivered in-house. At times it is necessary to seek out external guidance and assistance. External training really helps with:

  • Access to expertise: When specific training is required, it is always best to go directly to the source and get the experts in, as they will know all the relevant information and the current tips and techniques being utilised and will be able to share best practice.
  • Fresh look: External trainers may be able to provide valuable insight into inefficiencies within the company and help us to see opportunities for improvement that we could implement smoothly and efficiently. By bringing in an outside view, they can suggest changes that we may have otherwise not been aware of or thought of.
  • Stretching our comfort zone: External trainers who are new to the business get employees stepping outside of their comfort zones immediately, as someone new is around.

When our comfort zones are stretched, we find it fosters creativity making us more flexible and adaptable to unexpected change. It also motivates us and increases our overall productivity and performance.

So, if you’re considering implementing a training programme for your team, give it a go, you’ll only know once you try – ‘the proof is in the pudding’ so to speak.

Opinion Piece by Nicolette Karides, Learning and Development Coordinator at Air Marketing Group

What should you consider when outsourcing your sales and marketing activity?

For any business looking to raise brand awareness and encourage growth, a strong sales team will quickly become your best friend. But the world of sales is vastly different to what it was a couple of decades ago, the traditional hard sales tactic simply won’t work anymore. In order to reach and nurture your prospects through to close, you need to pair your sales with targeted marketing activity and offer a consultative, expert approach. So, what should you consider when outsourcing your sales and marketing activity?

For any company looking to drive ROI and gain traction, we know that there are 3 key things to consider when outsourcing your sales and marketing activity:

Data

Whilst you may be tempted to jump in, buy data and begin calling, it is vital that you take the time to work out what specific data you want using market segmentation, i.e. industry, company size, geography, etc. In narrowing down your data, based on your target audience, your efforts are more likely to hit home and lead to conversions. With data, cleansing is key for a more personalised, targeted sales and marketing campaign – at the end of the day, no one likes, or should receive, spam.

Once your sales team have the data, we suggest that your marketing team run an introductory email pre-calling and use the report from this to further guide your sales calls, generating Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). For example, did people unsubscribe, open the email, or click on the content within it? In raising awareness pre and post dialling, you are more likely to see engagement with your initial and further calls – for one client, we saw a 20% increase in engagement by accompanying our dialling with an email campaign from Roots. This also works in reverse, it is vital that you use the data from your calls and feed it back to your marketing team, in doing so the data can be put to use in a nurture stream, further assisting the close of your sales.

Dialler and Pitch

Once you have quality data, and your sales team are ready to begin dialling, it is vital that they are prepared. As we’ve mentioned, the hard sales tactic simply doesn’t work anymore, especially if you’re selling high value products/services. Instead, people want to talk to an expert and be guided through the sales journey.

With this in mind, it is vital that you outsource your sales and marketing to a team/s that place an importance on training, everyone involved should have in-depth knowledge of your product/service, industry and target audience. At Air we place an importance on dialler training and encourage our clients to come to the office and assist in the training of our team, after all no one knows your business and it’s aims like you do.

From this training, our diallers will be well versed in the tone and insights needed to pitch your business in an optimal way. We don’t want our diallers to sound like robots, so we avoid implementing a strict script, however we know that our diallers need to pitch themselves as the expert in order to sell well.

We believe that through the perfect combination of data, dialler & pitch, even can make even the most difficult campaign successful.

Integration

At Air, we are lucky to have the services of an intelligent marketing team, our sister company Roots to Market, in house and fully at our disposal. If there’s one thing we’ve refined since Roots was established, it’s integration and we feel that we have now achieved that magic mix of sales and marketing.

In order to fully service our clients to the best of our abilities, we know that we all need to be working from the same page. Communication is key and both sales and marketing need to be involved at every stage, from strategy planning, to technology implementation and campaign start.

With any campaign, regular reporting and campaign catch ups should be in place to ensure that both teams are working to a common goal and completely understand how each team is working to meet your qualifying criteria. There should also be complete transparency with yourself, with sales and marketing both reporting back to you on campaign progression.

If you are considering working with a fully integrated, intelligent outsourced sales and marketing team, get in touch. Call: 0345 241 3038 or email: contact@air-marketing.co.uk

Leading the way: how Air is kickstarting my leadership career

After moving back to my home town, I started my career at Air fresh out of university. I had completed a 6-month internship in business development at a PR and marketing agency, however it was fair to say that my experience in business development was still at novice level. Understandably, upon securing a job at Air, I was nervous. Although the team had been very welcoming and transparent, I couldn’t fully understand what my role as Business Development Executive would demand of me.

But I quickly found that I didn’t need to worry. During my first few weeks at Air, the team were so encouraging and open to helping with all aspects of my training. Their encouragement gave me confidence and I found that my capabilities in sales and business development were actually a lot stronger than I thought, even if I was a ‘beginner’. With the team continuously giving me constructive feedback and boosting my confidence, I couldn’t wait to get on the phone and start dialling. There was no pressure to be at a certain level – I simply needed to be professional, polite and enthusiastic. The in-depth training would take care of the rest.

I scored highly in my first few days of dialling and Air never treated me, or any other new employee, as if I couldn’t do something yet. They threw me in at the deep end and surrounded me with support, allowing me to dial on 3-4 campaigns within a matter of weeks. I quickly grew my knowledge and began speaking with decision makers in an array of industries, from fintech to HR and performance management.

When I joined, Air was only 2 years old with a team of around 30. They had grown quickly, and I realised that there was an opportunity here if I wanted it – and I did. Although I had joined the business development world, I didn’t want to just generate leads; I also wanted to share my growing knowledge and ideas for campaign improvement, eventually running one of my own.

My manager, Account Director Keryn Seal, recognised this ambition and after passing my 3-month probation, I was promoted to Senior Business Development Executive. The thing about Air is that no one is out for themselves, everyone is here to help you and drive the business forwards. Under Keryn’s guidance I was exposed to the basic operations of a campaign and our system, shown how to interact with clients and oversee a team of diallers. All I needed was an opportunity to put this into practise.

I got my opportunity when we moved to the new office in October 2019 and Air reworked its internal structure. Promoted to Account Executive, my new role sees me supporting my Account Director, Keryn, in the day-to-day operational tasks of a campaign, including set-up, strategy, reporting and being the link for feedback between diallers and the AD/client. This promotion has only encouraged me further and my aspirations are now to become an Account Director and Air are helping me to get there.

Since January, Air have supported me in my decision to pursue the leadership side of sales and business development. The step up is not one to be taken lightly and so they have enrolled me on a specialist training course, given me continuing support and exposed me to the commercial, client and growth aspects of the business. I’ve also been given my own accounts, recently working on a project that not only allows me to manage my own campaign but also a whole team of agents.

I can’t put into words how much I continue to develop and grow at Air. It’s been a fantastic opportunity in just over a year and I can only see further progression in the future.

Some parting advice for anyone unsure on which direction to go in next… Whether you are a graduate, unhappy in your current job, or looking for something new, give it a go. You’ll know when you find the right company to help you develop and flourish, just as I’ve done with Air.

Opinion Piece written by Yasmin McNeill, Account Executive at Air Marketing Group

Hiring Good Inside Sales People Vlog #2

What’s your perception of a good sales person?

In this, our next vlog, Owen discusses how to hire good inside sales people with Simon Murthwaite and Simon Scott-Nelson. They discover how it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle commitment! 

Phone appointments vs face to face: Which is better?

Sales appointments play a crucial part in the sales journey, giving your sales reps the opportunity to further develop relationships with prospects and encourage them further along the sales cycle, towards the point of closing the sale. But which is better, phone appointments or face-to-face?

We’ve booked thousands of appointments for clients, across an array of different industries, both over the phone and face-to-face. Based on their experience, our expert Sales Directors feel that you should always strive to organise a face-to-face appointment.

We’ve listed their top three reasons to schedule a face-to-face appointment:

  1. Higher uptake/contact rate

The world of business is a busy one, with schedules changing on a daily basis, even hourly, and unexpected tasks popping up. With this in mind, your prospects could find it tempting to ask their gatekeeper to hold their calls and deliver the all too familiar line;

“Sorry, they’re busy at the moment, could you send over some information?”

However, if you’re already sat in reception, or they’ve come to meet you, the meeting becomes harder to reschedule and ignore, so you’re therefore more likely to make immediate contact with your prospect.

  1. Body language

A good sales professional will be able to read people and assess whether or not they are truly interested in a product/service quickly, in order to avoid wasting time on unqualified leads. Whilst it is possible to gauge a prospect’s degree of interest over the phone, there is more value in getting in a room with someone and paying attention to their body language – do they seem open or guarded, do they look bored or alert? And this works both ways, whilst sales calls, for some, are the bread and butter of being a sales professional, they can take their toll throughout the day. Removing yourself from the phone and offering a face-to-face appointment can let your prospect gauge your body language too and determine your investment in what you are selling.

  1. Engagement

If the prospect is not directly in front of you, it’s impossible to know how well they are actually engaging with your conversation. Whilst they may say all of the right things or appear to be listening, they could also be answering emails, texting, or being distracted by their surroundings. If you want to truly engage your prospect and build a relationship based on rapport and trust, it is far better to organise a face-to-face appointment and talk directly to them.

Got a question about how to fill your diary with quality, face-to-face sales appointments? Give us a call on 0345 241 3038 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk