Ask The MD: What’s Your Passion When You’re Not At Work?

 

In the ninth instalment of our ‘Ask The MD’ series we ask the questions ‘what’s your passion when you’re not at work?’. Find out the answer in this video featuring our Managing Director, Owen Richards, and sister company Forrest Marketing Group’s Managing Director, Richard Forrest.

 

 

 

 

Why you should have an overflow solution for your customer service team

From managing unpredictable call volumes to making sure your staff are engaged and productive – running a customer service call centre comes with distinct challenges. Of course every business faces its own challenges, but a call centre is a unique environment with unique challenges. How do we know? Because essentially, we are one!

Team performance

Overworked, stressed agents are more likely to make mistakes, staff absences increase, and staff retention becomes difficult. All of which puts even more pressure on your team to hit their targets. When you are under-resourced, it’s not just Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that take a hit; Customer Feedback Scores drop too.

Recruitment

Often there’s no quick fix for resource challenges. Sometimes a recruitment freeze means you cannot grow the team regardless of mounting call volumes. Perhaps you only need a part-time resource or can’t offer consistent or regular hours, therefore limiting your ability to attract and retain high calibre agents.

The bottom line

Do you care about the bottom line? Of course you do! An under-resourced team is a common challenge for call centres and the knock-on effects of this can have a negative impact on productivity, quality and therefore, profitability.

The solution? Outsource

If you need a flexible and scalable resource to provide relief for your team during peak demand periods, then outsourcing overflow calls to an external call centre partner could be the answer. You can choose to divert a set number of calls per day, or just specific call types, and an external partner will support you to improve all aspects of your call centre team’s performance.

Having an overflow solution offers a wide range of valuable benefits:

  • The gift of time: It gives your team back time and relieves pressure. You no longer have to recruit and manage all of the resources for your call centre team. You can more easily cover staff absences, even at short notice, without adding more pressure on your internal team. There is also the freedom to take the team off the phones and dedicate time to regular team briefings and training sessions.
  • Performance: Reducing the stress on your team will lead to higher wellbeing and better performance. This positive impact on team culture means reduced absenteeism and improved staff retention. More realistic workloads mean fewer errors and improved quality of service.
  • Improve service levels: In the customer service business, the ability to scale up at short notice is invaluable – whether in preparation for annual or seasonal peaks or in response to unexpectedly high call volumes. The external call centre team will provide dedicated agents, but they will also have a larger pool of quality staff they can assign to your calls at short notice, covering all bases. Imagine being able to maintain or even improve your service levels when call volumes hit a peak.
  • Retain control: You can choose to divert only specific call types, leaving your in-house team to deal with the higher value calls, or whatever works best for your business.

Why now?

Although you may not require an overflow solution for your customer service team at present, there may come a day in the near future when you do. As they say, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

We have experience in managing inbound campaigns for clients across a variety of industries, and are trusted by brands such as Escape Hunt, Funding Circle and Eon. If your call volume has been impacted or is expected to be impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we can help. As one of the UK’s leading outsourced sales companies, our experienced, committed and motivated team are all based in the UK and are currently working from home, continuing to support our clients’ campaigns.

To find out how we could help you with your customer service overflow, get in touch today or call us on 0345 241 3038. Or hear more from our existing customers here.

How important is traditional sales prospecting in today’s digital age?

There’s no denying that the digital age has changed the way businesses connect with their buyers. In the past, facetoface sales or cold calling were the only way to reach prospects and talk them through the benefits of your products. Social selling and content marketing have changed the customer journey; buyers are far more empowered with product knowledge ahead of purchase and for low value purchases, most don’t feel compelled to speak to a salesperson at all. But does traditional sales prospecting still have a place? The short answer is yes, and here’s why.  

Never underestimate the power of a conversation 

A personal human connection is ultimately what chatbots are trying to replicate – in 2020 nothing comes close to a real conversation. If you want to build trust and rapport with a prospect, a friendly and open approach can go a long way. The more insight you gain into the specific challenges, the more personal and tailored your sales approach can be in a face-to-face meeting.  

Digital isn’t always scalable and more suited to a transactional sale 

Calling someone to extoll the virtues of a power bank or a lipstick is wildly different from talking to them about an integrated marketing or sales campaign. The fact is people don’t buy high value programmes of work online. Your website is vital to a first impression, and you need to ensure you have engaging, relevant content available, but to get under the skin of a project your prospective customer needs to be able to ask you detailed questions, beyond a comprehensive online FAQ. Research suggests that the earliest part of the buying process works most effectively, with 71% saying they want to hear from salespeople when they are looking for ideas to drive strong business results (Resourceful Selling).

Don’t limit your customer base

The people, who would benefit most from your services, might not even know you exist. If you’re relying on prospects who find you online and engage with your content to reach you via a web lead, then you’re ruling out a potentially lucrative market of businesses with money to spend, a relevant challenge that your product or proposition can solve who are ready to buy. There is strong evidence that the C-Suite buys differently; with 57% of C-level buyers prefer salespeople to call them above anything else (RAIN Group).

Traditional sales prospecting can work brilliantly with complementary technologies

This isn’t old school vs. new tech; all methods have their place. In fact leveraging powerful systems to enhance your data and effectively map your customer journey will make your sales campaigns much more viable. Using social selling and content marketing along with targeted calling campaigns will align and strengthen your approach, your brand and make it easier to deliver relevant follow-up materials during promising calls.  

Check out our video where Owen Richards, MD of Air Marketing and Richard Forrest, MD of Forrest Marketing Group, discuss the role of traditional prospecting in a digital age.  

At Air Marketing, we work with clients to create a tailored, blend of services that will deliver the best conversion rates in their desired market. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help your business grow or show you how we’ve helped businesses from all sectors achieve success. Get in touch today or call us on 0345 241 3038. Or hear more from our existing customers here. 

Lingual and cultural diversity in telemarketing

In the words of Paulo Coelho: Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they have a deeper understanding of one another, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems and the same questions.

The days of selling our items to each other village to village (think the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker), face to face, are long past us. In my opinion, today we are selling our “technoproducts” and services via the digital superhighways to people all around the world. In this more tech focused world we work with “turbomachinerie” with “flashcapacities”.

Despite the fast changes that have happened and continue to happen in our selling culture, the culture of individual human beings who are ultimately the end users being sold to, are slower to change.

Culture within individuals heavily influence their choices – how to cook, speak, act, dress etc. These cultures are as diverse now as they were centuries ago, but they are changing and need to be kept up with. For example, the English culture of 1782 would not be the same as the one we experience in 2020. This is the same for all cultures French, German, Dutch etc. Culture is a living and changing thing.

So why is this relevant?

As a company we embrace this cultural diversity (including languages) as it enriches not only our teams and our methodology to solve problems and challenges, but it also benefits our clients and prospects. We find that a diverse team will find many solutions to a problem – whether that is within our business or within a client’s business.

At Air Marketing, we celebrate the German Karneval, we celebrate the Oranjekoorts during Koningsdag, we welcome the tartiflette and merguez on our lunch or BBQ and embrace the culture and language of our clients and prospects. By speaking their mother tongue we understand certain cultural differences (for example the directness of the Dutch Dutch-speaking market in comparison with the gentle tone of the Belgian Dutch-speaking market). All this out of respect of our clients and prospects and of course to do business together.

Wouter Vanaelst Background

Wouter was born and raised in Belgium, right on the linguistic border. His mother tongue is Flemish/Dutch and from a very early age he also learnt French and German. After studying in Brussels and gaining 2 academic degrees in Educational Sciences and Art & Cultural Andragogy, he then went on to work for 7 years as an Educational and Client Services Officer for the Centrale Culturelle Bruxelloise. In this role his focus was monitoring and researching the social and economic climate alongside organising and delivering marketing and recruitment campaigns

Wouter also spent 2 years in Africa conducting research on the educational & socio-economic challenges, whilst learning to overcome many logistical and cultural obstacles. Wouter moved to the UK in 2015, his first role in the UK was teaching French and German classes as an associate lecturer. Alongside this he worked with international companies analysing business to customer (B2C) communication in Dutch, French and German.

Wouter is now heading up the Multilingual offering for Air Marketing Group, helping businesses open up opportunities within strong economic countries such as Germany, France and Holland.  

Wouter is fascinated by cultural and linguistic differences, how people choose to act, speak and work differently and in understanding this looking at how to make bridges in between cultures and languages. Wouter does not believe in uniformity, he believes every language, culture and client have different needs that require a bespoke approach. This includes adapting to cultural manners, working with native speakers who have native accents and cultural knowledge.

“Every language you speak is another market that opens up to you.”

Interested in talking to me about our multilingual offering? Contact me directly on 01392 575282 or complete our contact form here.  

Wouter Vanaelst
Senior Business Development Executive Multilingual, Air Marketing Group

The benefits of outsourced sales for start-ups

When you’re starting out, it can feel like you’re running uphill on a treadmill. Clients are hard won, you never have enough resource and it’s difficult delivering everything on your desk, let alone focussing on the 6 month, 12 month or 3 year plans for growth.  

In 2016, the UK registered the equivalent of 70 new businesses per hour – that’s 660,000 annually; data shows us that more than 50% of these businesses will not survive beyond 2021 (The Telegraph, 2019). So why are businesses that start out so promisingly, failing to see their 5th birthday?  

An Entrepreneurs Network report reveals that nearly a third of the differences in productivity between the UK and US start-ups are linked to management practices. Businesses that are properly managed and benefit from expert advice, are able to drive better sales and recruit better talent.  

healthy pipeline is essential to every business, especially when you’re starting out. Making sales at the right price-point leads to long-term success and ensuring cash flow back into the business, to invest in marketing and product development. If there is market demand for your product, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t achieve the sales targets necessary for growth. Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat different, when companies are in their formation stages; it’s all hands on deck. Resource and headspace to focus on delivering an effective lead generation strategy and wider sales strategy seems like a pipe dream.  

Part of the reason start-ups founded in brilliant, creative ideas then fail comes back to the fact that their leader, who is likely already wearing several professional ‘hats’, is not a sales specialist. The founder might be the face of the business and certainly needs to be hands on in all aspects of day-to-day operations, sales presentations and investor meetings. There is a myriad of benefits to outsourcing lead generation and sales prospecting to an expert provider. The main one being they have the expertise and resource to hit the ground running and start generating sales for you that will help secure the future of your business. The right provider will help you refine your target markets; your sales approach and build your brand awareness. And you can have some breathing space to focus on the here and now, knowing that activity that will benefit you down the road, is being taken care of by a trusted partner who will deliver for you and your customers and help you build a healthy pipeline.  

Why Air? 

At Air Marketing, we’re experienced in working with start-ups in all sectors to maximise their outsourcing budget to achieve their business objectives. We’ve worked with businesses at every point in their journey to leverage the best return on investment (ROI) for budgets that need to deliver real results.. We work with clients to create a tailored, blend of services that will deliver the best conversion rates in their desired market. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help your business grow or show you how we’ve helped businesses from all sectors achieve success. Get in touch today or call us on 0345 241 3038. Or hear more from our existing customers here

The Problem With A Cost Per Lead (CPL) Model Vlog #6

In the sixth instalment of our series we ask the question ‘what is the problem with a cost per lead (CPL) model?’ Find out the answer in this vlog hosted by our MD, Owen Richards featuring Air’s Sales Directors Simon Scott-Nelson and Marco Alfano-Rogers.

Ask The MD: What Is Your Current And Ideal Work/Life Balance? What Measures Do You Take To Control It?

 

In the eighth instalment of our ‘Ask The MD’ series we ask the questions ‘what is your current and ideal work/life balance?’ and ‘what measures do you take to control it?’. Find out the answer in this video featuring our Managing Director, Owen Richards, and sister company Forrest Marketing Group’s Managing Director, Richard Forrest.

 

 

 

 

 

It all starts with a Hello

I’ve recently seen the launch of a new Netflix show called; Love is Blind. The concept is a dating show based purely on building an emotional connection; you cannot see the person you’re dating meaning that verbal communication is at the forefront. This got me thinking about the importance of communication and the part it plays in our lives. 

The question that I’ve been thinking about is; as the world becomes more digitally driven, do we lose the ability to effectively communicate?  

As children, human interactive and communication was key to us – we learnt, explored and discovered, utilising these key skills. But as you develop through your childhood (especially in today’s world) you become more digitally aware and communication becomes stagnant, if not regressive. Lives are busy – we take to texting, Facebook messages, WhatsApp groups and sending voice notes via media platforms rather than simply picking up the phone or speaking to someone in person.  

The digital evolution has enabled many things – it has allowed us to reach a larger audience, it’s broken down borders as distance makes no difference and it allows us to target more people. But it always comes at a price. What we lose is the ability to learn about individuals in depth and really get to know each other as you would when communicating face to face or over the phone. 

Have we become numb to this digital communication? How many emails do you delete without even taking any notice of them? How many adverts do you quickly scroll past on social media? How many times have you paused someone midway through a conversation and ignored them? My point is that communication needs engaged interaction from two people – it can’t be a one-way street. Strong communication builds trust and relationships which is imperative to business success.  

The simplest and most effective form of communication continues to be through two-way conversation. I find in a business environment when you can’t always meet people, a phone call will create a connection. There is always a place for this to be supported with digital communication, when time is short or quick messages are required instantly and digital applications allow us to work smart. But I haven’t come across another method of relationship building that can even closely compete with a conversation.  

What my time at Air has taught me is whether you are talking to a client, customer or colleague, conversation is always the best way to discover the information you need. In a people centric world lets focus on those basic human interactions, pick up the phone speak to your customers and if you don’t have the capacity to do that then you may just be looking in the right place for someone to do it for you.  

It all starts with a hello so why not take the time to talk to us today. 

Alex Burgess
Account Manager, Air Marketing Group

Ask The MD: How Has The Sales Industry Changed In The Time You Have Been Involved With It?

 

In the seventh instalment of our ‘Ask The MD’ series we ask the question ‘how has the sales industry changed in the time you have been involved with it?’. Find out the answer in this video featuring our Managing Director, Owen Richards, and sister company Forrest Marketing Group’s Managing Director, Richard Forrest.