3 Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stop Prospecting in December

The Christmas tree is up, your office is planning its Secret Santa, and your team is talking excitedly about what they’re going to do in the long-deserved holiday break.

However, does this mean you should stop making sales calls?

We asked our Founder & CEO, Owen Richards, his thoughts on the issue…

When November rolls around, we’re often asked by our clients if they should stop their lead generation campaigns. Their logic? People are either away on holiday or not in the mood for sales calls.

My response? ‘Carry on like you would any time of the year.’

Does this make me sound like a Scrooge in the run-up to Christmas? Probably. However, the facts show that you need to keep prospecting in December instead of slowing things down.

The evidence: why you should keep those calls going

As an agency specialising in outbound sales support, Air Marketing make hundreds of thousands of calls on behalf of clients every year. As a result, we get to identify patterns in behaviour.

Our data for 2021 shows that positive decision maker engagement increases significantly in the run-up to Christmas. Why? People are cheerful, excited, and willing to talk more.

As well as this, the likelihood of an appointment converting into a lead is still high. Even in the week commencing 20th December, when businesses are starting to wind down, the conversion rate is still comparable to the weeks before. 

Now, at this point, you might be thinking, ‘but Owen, that’s one isolated year. It was the first year back in the office after lockdown, and people were just happy to speak to another human. Look at another year, and it will probably be another story.’

We also carried out a similar study in 2019 where we compared clients that kept their lead generation going in December 2018 and January 2019 against those that didn’t.

We found that conversations with decision makers increased by 18%, and the time required to generate a qualified sales lead dropped by 51%.

So no matter which year you look at, it’s still important to pick up the phone all the way through the festive season.

Why you should keep picking up the phones in the run-up to Christmas

So we’ve looked at the statistics behind prospecting in December, now to see why you should keep making those calls.

1. The quality of conversation increases in December

According to YouGov, 38% of people say their mental health improves over Christmas. There are family and friends to visit, lots of food to eat and best of all… no work for a week!

As a result, we’ve found that decision makers are more talkative and happier. The quality of conversations increases, as does the length of phone calls. This increases the chance of a positive interaction and a prospect turning into a lead.

You also have a quick win up your sleeve in December; you’ve got something in common with the person you’re calling. You can talk about what they’re up to for Christmas, when they’re finishing for the holidays, and if they’re having an office party.

Use it as an opportunity to forge a connection with your prospect and structure a successful sales call.

2. People are planning their budgets for the year ahead

In December, departments are starting to think about budgets for the upcoming tax year. This makes this time of year ideal to introduce yourself and state your case as to why they should work with you.

Decision makers will be in a better mood and have more time to talk, meaning your conversion rate will increase.

Will prospective customers want to meet up in December? Probably not. However, you can ’keep them warm’ until they’re back in for the New Year and arrange an appointment then.

3. People aren’t going to write off 8% of the year

Think of the year as the equivalent of a Christmas cake, cut into twelve slices.

You think, ‘I don’t want to bother people just before Christmas.’ That’s a slice gone.

You then think, ‘People are going to be away in August for the summer holidays.’ There goes another slice.

Finally you think ‘There’s no point calling people at Easter.’ Another slice. Before you know it, you’ve given up a quarter of the year, and that’s before you start taking holidays into account.

When there are targets to hit in the workplace, every moment counts. This means people will keep on working, and it will be business as usual for many of your prospects.

Unless your key decision maker has decided to take the whole of December off, they’ll still be around to listen to you.

A Christmassy caveat…

Another question our clients frequently ask is if they should start a new sales campaign in December.

My answer? It’s never a good idea to start something new in December. If you’ve already begun your campaign, keep the momentum going in the run-up to Christmas, but leave the brand new initiatives until you’re back at work after New Year.

That way your sales team will be recharged, refreshed, and ready to go!

My final thoughts

When the Christmas lights are up, and you’re doing your Christmas shopping during your lunch break, the last thing you want to do is pick up the phone and talk to prospects.

However, December is the perfect time to make calls if you want to see positive engagement with decision makers.

Don’t forget, if you’re planning your sales campaigns for quarter four, it pays to get started now. Our team of sales specialists will fill your sales funnel and help you reach your sales goals.

Contact Air Marketing today to find out how we can work together in the months ahead.

Refreshing Your SEO as Part of Your Website Overhaul – What You Need to Know

You’re planning on refreshing your company website. You’re already aware of the benefits it’ll bring your business and how it can boost your online conversions; however, if you’re going to put all that effort into updating your website, you want to make sure it is being delivered to your target audience. That’s why an SEO refresh an essential part of this process, allowing you to establish a strong presence online.

A website refresh should address various things such as overall user experience; lack of content; design features; and so on. To achieve the best results, there are some things you need to know about SEO first.

Why is an SEO website refresh important?

There are a whole host of reasons why updating your SEO during a website refresh should be a priority, but here are the three most important reasons:

  1. To drive organic search content to your site – to put it simply, what is the point in developing a new site if nobody is going to see it? A lot of valuable time, energy and budget can go into a website build; the last thing you want is for your audience not to be viewing it. Ensuring your SEO is implemented correctly across your new site will help you rank for those relevant keywords that your audience is searching for.
  2. To attract the right audience to your site – if your keywords are outdated or irrelevant, you could be attracting the wrong audience to your website. This can decrease engagement time and boost bounce rates, that can damage your search engine ranking.
  3. To make your website work harder – your website is your online shop window. Making sure your site is working hard to rank in a multitude of SERP features will increase your visibility across search engines.

What should you consider when updating your SEO?

  • Updated keywords – A natural part of your website refresh will include updating and adding to your existing content; when doing this, think about the key search terms users may use when looking for your services and/or products. Ensure these keywords are implemented on relevant pages to help boost your SEO ranking.
  • Meta data – As you’re reviewing the keywords selected for each page, make sure you review the page’s meta data. Your keyword should feature in the title and meta description. This will allow search engines to identify the key topic and rank you for relevant search terms.
  • Broken links – Make sure you’ve identified all broken links and fixed or replaced them. Throughout this process it’s also worth checking whether any old backlinks can be updated to direct viewers to new, relevant content.
  • Lack of content – You need to include plenty of content on your site that’s relevant and valuable. Try to include at least 300 words on each page and make sure that you’re covering the right topics.
  • Bounce rate – You can measure your bounce rate by using Google Analytics. This will allow you to understand how long your visitors are staying on your site and how many are leaving without going any further.

What process should you follow for an SEO refresh?

Step 1: Find out what’s currently working (and what’s not)

The first thing you need to do is find out what’s currently working on your website and what’s not. This will allow you to identify the areas that need to be improved and make changes accordingly. The easiest way to do this is by using tools such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics and SEMrush.

Google Search Console – This is a free tool that allows you to monitor your site’s performance. It will let you know if there are any issues with your site. This will also help you identify any broken links or pages that need updating.

Google Analytics – This will give you a better understanding of where your traffic is coming from and what section of your website is performing best.

SEMrush – This tool will allow you to understand how your current websites SEO is performing. There is a free version of the tool that allows you check which keywords you are currently ranking for, which pages these keywords currently rank for, whether you are experiencing any SEO cannibalisation and much more.

Step 2: Determine your SEO strategy moving forward

After you’ve found out what’s currently working, you need to start determining your strategy moving forward. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Who is your target audience? Knowing your target audience and how they like to search will help you in defining relevant keywords.
  • What design features can you use to help boost your SEO? H tags are a great place to start when making sure you’re giving search engines every chance to rank your content. Including relevant keywords in H1, H2 and H3 tags shows search engines this is a key topic within your page. Looking at whether you can include question-based subheadings will increase your chances of ranking in ‘People Also Asked’.
  • How can SEO inform your content plan? Content such as blogs, press releases, landing pages etc, can offer a multitude of opportunities for SEO. If you’re trying to target keywords that are highly specific, but they don’t work for any of your key pages, a landing page or blog post can be a great option. Within landing pages and blog posts you can also create great backlink opportunities. Securing high quality backlinks from external sources is the holy grail when it comes to SEO – producing high quality press releases can help secure these.
  • How can your images help boost SEO? Ensuring your file name contains relevant keywords will help search engines understand what’s in the image. When people search, they often look at image-based results; if your file name includes the correct keywords you will start to rank here. Image alt tag should be used to describe what is in the image for accessibility benefits. However, the alt tag is also used by search engines to find relevant visual content; including your keywords here is a must.

Step 3: Implement your SEO strategy

Now you’ve determined your strategy, it’s time to carry out the relevant updates.

  • Implement your SEO strategy – For every page on your website, you need to make sure your SEO strategy has been implemented. Are all your headings and subheading tagged correctly? Do all your images have relevant files names and alt tags? Are all your meta descriptions up to date? Are you linking to key content within your blog posts? Do your backlinks have descriptive text?
  • Create new content – You don’t have to completely re-write your entire website, but you should make sure the content on each page is updated based on your selected keywords.
  • Create new landing pages – If you’re targeting multiple audiences or trying to rank for highly specific keywords, it may be worth developing landing pages. These can also be linked to in blog posts and across your website.

Step 4: Review the impact and continue to develop

Finally, it’s time to review the impact of the changes you have made. Utilising the same tools as before; Google Search Console, Google Analytics and SEMrush, you can review how the changes you’ve made have affected your SEO rankings. When carrying out a full SEO overhaul and refresh, it can take time to implement all the necessary changes so it’s a good idea to monitor your site throughout the process. It can also take a while for SEO to have an impact. Monitor how your site performs over the coming months and make changes to your ongoing strategy.

Your website should never be ‘finished’, just as things constantly change within your business, so should your website. This means that SEO will need to be updated regularly.

Opinion piece by Becca Duckering – Digital Marketing Manager at Air Marketing

Searching Engine Optimizing SEO Browsing Concept

ON AIR: With Owen Episode 72 Featuring Kate King – Head of Recruitment, Seed Talent

Introducing our 72nd episode of ON AIR: With Owen – our latest interview video series with honest conversation about scaling revenue, hosted by our Founder & CEO, Owen Richards.

Our 72nd guest is Kate King, Head of Recruitment at Seed Talent. Kate and Owen discuss the world of SDR recruitment, as it looks now.

– Who is Kate and who are Seed Talent?
– The current state of SDR recruitment and how it’s changed in the last 12 months
– What does it look like heading into 2023?
– What’s working and what isn’t for organisations growing out their SDR functions
– The soft skills recruiters look for which make a good SDR
– What the top companies are doing to differentiate themselves when recruiting for SDRs
– The importance of culture and employer brand when recruiting for SDRs
– The ideal hiring process: speed vs. quality
– Kate’s ‘SDR shopping list’: three things SDRs should do before applying for SDR roles

ON AIR: With Owen Episode 71 Featuring Adam Weekes – Sales Lead, EMEA at Bigtincan

Introducing our 71st episode of ON AIR: With Owen – our latest interview video series with honest conversation about scaling revenue, hosted by our Founder & CEO, Owen Richards.

Our 71st guest is Adam Weekes, Sales Lead for EMEA at Bigtincan. Adam and Owen discuss prospecting via email.

– The do’s and don’ts when prospecting via email
– The current trends around sales enablement
– How salespeople are using data to make decisions at a strategic management level vs rep level
– Where Adam has seen the most success with email prospecting in 2022
– Adam’s top-secret recipe for email prospecting
– How to personalise your emails in an authentic way
– The best types of content to include in your prospecting emails
– Open rates, reply rates, booked meeting rates – what does good look like? 

Outsourced SDR vs In-House SDR: Which Is Better For Business?

When you’re looking for new leads for your company, a team of experienced Sales Development Representatives, or SDRs, is essential.

The big question… do you outsource the work to an external company or recruit in-house?

You’re probably thinking that as an agency specialising in outsourced sales, we’re going to say that you should always trust your sales processes to an external provider. And, of course, we have discussed the benefits of outsourcing your sales many times on our blog.

But the truth is that there’s no right or wrong answer! There may be circumstances where outsourcing your SDR function isn’t the right option for your business.

However, here are three circumstances where outsourcing your SDR may be the ideal solution.

Wondering if in-house or outsourced marketing is right for your business? You might be interested in this article.

  1. You’re looking for sales support without increasing headcount

One of the main reasons businesses outsource their SDRs is to grow sales without spending time and money recruiting in-house.

It might be that your business is very new, and you don’t have the budget for an in-house team just yet. It may be the case that your in-house sales team focuses on warm leads, and you need SDRs to bring in new business. You may just have one salesperson and need to hang fire before bringing new employees on board.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an SDR in the UK (in 2022) is just over £32,173 a year. Not only do you need to take salary into consideration but also commission, the equipment needed to do their jobs, onboarding and training costs, holidays, pensions, and other benefits.

Plus, new recruits may expect a promotion within a couple of years, or they may move on, meaning you have to start all over again.

Add a couple of SDRs to your in-house team, and costs can quickly mount up! Outsourcing sales means you can get the valuable support your business needs without the expensive outlay.

  1. You want flexibility

The main bonus of hiring SDRs externally is that you can quickly ramp up or down as needed. For example, let’s say you want to push sales before the end of the financial year, or in the run-up to Christmas. You can call on additional outsourced SDRs to increase capacity temporarily, and have them stand down when the rush is over.

You can also use outsourced sales to adapt as your business grows. Outsourcing your SDRs means you can reach out to more customers, make more sales, and boost average revenue per customer, filling the gap before you hire internally.

Many businesses that outsource their sales are SMEs. According to Clutch, one in three small businesses outsources at least one of their business processes. Outsourcing sales gives these businesses the flexibility they need to try new processes (more on that in a bit) and means they can quickly scale up or down when needed.

  1. You want to test new things

An outsourced team of SDRs is excellent if you want to try new things in your sales department with minimal risk. Think of them as a team of sales scientists, ready to experiment on behalf of your company!

Let’s say your business has a new product you want to sell to customers. You have three options available:

  1. The first is taking one or two of your in-house SDRs and moving them to your new product. This is risky as this means you’re potentially losing sales revenue on your existing product lines.

  2. The second is to hire new staff. This will cost your business time and money as you need to recruit and onboard these staff. Plus, if the new product isn’t a success, there is the risk that you may need to let these staff go.

  3. The third option, and the one we recommend, is to outsource the sales. This is the best option, as you can test the product’s success with an external team. If the product sells well, you have the evidence needed to hire new staff in-house. If it doesn’t, your in-house sales team is unaffected, and you can go back to the old way of working.

An external sales team can also offer fresh insights and new thoughts on how you run your sales team. Is there anything they do differently that you can apply to your in-house processes? A good outsourced sales agency will be more than happy to share its experience and knowledge with you.

Choosing the right outsourced SDR team is critical

If you were recruiting an in-house SDR, you’d spend a lot of time selecting the perfect candidate. You’d pore over CVs, carry out detailed interviews, and go through your notes before making the final decision.

The same logic applies to who you choose to outsource to.

Outsourcing can be done well, but it can also be done wrong. We’ve seen many small agencies start up with just a mobile phone and a laptop, and in our experience, they can’t provide the services most businesses need to grow sales revenue.

Knowledge, practical experience, and transparency are essential.

We work with each of our clients to provide a tailored outsourced sales experience to suit their needs.

When in-house recruitment is the right solution

If you have a mature business with a dedicated in-house team, high-quality outbound sales processes, and a brilliant Sales Manager in place, you’re generally best hiring internally.

Of course, there are a few circumstances where outsourcing your sales may be of benefit, for example, if you want to test something new. However, nine times out of ten, we’d say stick with what you know!

Remember, if you need a little extra help with your in-house recruitment, we can use our experience to help you hire the best SDRs on the market. Our sister company,  Seed Talent, specialise in helping businesses recruit the best SDRs and AEs on the market. Visit their website to find out more.