Building Your Sales Tech Stack: How To Get The Right Balance

Sales Technology has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry in the past decade. With so many tools out there, it’s hard to work out the essentials from the nice-to-haves. The phrase ‘building your sales tech stack’ implies you should be using layer upon layer of technology to enable your sales processes. We can tell you right now; it’s utterly dependent on your goals and your setup. Even the most tech-savvy sales leaders find it impossible to stay at the leading edge of sales technology; it’s a vast marketplace, and the options can be overwhelming. Who has time to review and analyse thousands of tools? 

In our view, sales technology is there to empower salespeople, enhance their skills and make their lives easier. If you can automate a sales process and reduce administrative burden, therefore freeing up time for the vital relationship building that’s key to successful prospecting, then go for it! If you’ve heard from your network that you must buy this new market insight tool, even if your gut feel is you have a pretty good handle on your market research already, it’ll be three months before anyone in your team has time to own it, trust your instincts and park it for the time being. 

How do we make the most of the sales technology available? How does a business decide what they need to adopt and when? Here’s our steer on the options available. 

Understanding the options 

CRM: Your CRM is the foundation of your tech stack, whether you choose a market leader like Salesforce or MS Dynamics or something more bespoke and focused on your specific industry. It’s ideal if you use a platform that supports collaboration with third-party apps, so your technology works together and delivers better overall visibility. Even the smaller providers offer integration across apps, supporting a better sales ecosystem. 

Ideal for: everyone! 

 Sales and marketing automation: With systems like Marketo and HubSpot, you can drive a more valuable inbound experience and target campaigns at the right audiences, nurturing customer and prospect relationships in the right way, maximising your interactions and ensuring a better experience for everyone who interacts with your brand. 

Ideal for: businesses that need to optimise their inbound efforts and drive better customer experience. 

Sales engagement platforms: Products like Outreach, SalesLoft and Mailshake fall under this umbrella. Their value lies in automating sales processes and consolidating conversation intelligence from your CRM and Marketing Automation systems – streamlining processes, bridging gaps and ultimately saving your salespeople time. 

Mailshake and SalesLoft support time-saving integrated dialers. Outreach allows users to manage all prospecting activities from one interface. And VanillaSoft offers queue-based lead routing saving, so your salespeople call the warmest lead next. 

Ideal for: businesses with multiple campaigns who want to boost collaboration, improve productivity and hit rate. 

Communication tools: If your sales strategy is outbound calling, there are many tools to support your agents, save time and some platforms, like Dialpad, provide feedback and learning as they go. Tools such as Aircall automate post-call processes and build better insights for teams directly from your CRM – reducing time spent on admin. 

Ideal for: teams that make a high volume of calls, need to improve conversion rates, improve contact rates or want real-time feedback to support training. 

Email management and integration: Suppose your sales teams preferred method of contact is email. In that case, there are thousands of tools available, from those that deliver and integrate insights from your CRM to your sales teams’ inboxes to those that measure email success rates and response times and even those that import email addresses from LinkedIn activity (like Contactout and Lusha). The aim is to bring intelligence and measurement to the familiar workflow of email. 

Ideal for: sales teams that rely on email for outreach and need to optimise email engagement and data accuracy. 

Lead generation and prospecting: There is a new wave of tools that help you identify and reach your ideal buyers. Powered by AI and machine learning, platforms such as Cognism and Growbots promise to automate the tedious and time-consuming parts of prospecting, leaving your teams to focus on closing warm leads that are more likely to buy. 

Ideal for: sales teams stretched thin between premium accounts, managing existing relationships and pipeline building activities. 

Sales insight and market intelligence: In a competitive marketplace bombarding decision-makers with broad sales messages won’t achieve cut-through. These tools arm salespeople with actionable insights that support intelligent sales conversations and provide accurate prospect info for your sales teams. Some tools can prioritise prospects who are ready to buy; others like UpLead act like enriched, searchable databases. 

Ideal for: organisations looking to break new markets or struggling to get traction in their target market. 

Never underestimate the human element of sales 

Relationship building and making genuine connections is the key to successful outbound sales. No technology can replace the skills and experience of a talented and resilient sales expert. Still, it can bring you closer to your customers and help create an authentic experience that supports the excellent service you already deliver at every point in the sales cycle. Your sales tech stack has to reflect that and add value to your current setup. You can buy a billion tools, but with no process development or proper integration, there’s a fair chance you’ll create more work and unwanted distractions for your team. Equally, without an overarching sales strategy or direction, the tools won’t be worth the investment. They’ll undoubtedly connect you to more prospects, but it’s up to you to nail the qualification criteria and create value from those new audiences. 

Weighing up the cost 

Consider a new sales hire’s salary costs and the additional cost when you load them with sales technology that runs into thousands a month. Are they delivering higher productivity in line with the extra costs? This is all down to personal experience; some sales leaders believe the investment is worthwhile, provided you train the new hires on the technology, and the profitability will come. Others think it’s an overcomplication, and you need to give salespeople greater autonomy in this area, letting them adopt the tools they prefer, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator

In conclusion, sales technology can be incredible and often well worth the investment, but they’re not a cure-all for sales challenges. Any new tools you adopt must become a seamless part of your workflow, save time or deliver inherent value for your team. Trust your instincts. You know if a tool is likely to be welcomed and deemed valuable based on your culture. 

If you need advice navigating the sales technology landscape, we can help; get in touch today. 

Selecting Your Channels And Designing Your Sales Approach: The Key To Achieving Cut-Through In Your Market

Selecting your channels and designing your sales approach: the key to achieving cut-through in your market

We live in such a connected and always-on world, increasingly enriched with digital experiences, it’s hard to conceive that not everyone is just at the end of an email, phone, or WhatsApp message. Yet there are still people out there who don’t spend the highest proportion of their working day in a digital space. In other professions the lines are blurring, and research shows the pandemic has given rise to different channels and ways of connecting, even disrupting the sales cycles in some industries. In recent months, video and live chat have been the breakout stars. And research shows that 70% of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases over $50,000, and 27% would spend more than $500,000. That’s a significant shift from the perception of e-commerce as high volume, low-value sales.

Why is this important?

Choosing the right channels and tools is crucial to improving your sales numbers. In fact, understanding what your prospective buyer requires to make a decision about your products and services, empowers you to invest your time where it matters.

Keep your customers’ needs at the centre of your decisions

Imagine your primary buyers are busy hospitality professionals who spend minimal time at their desks and don’t have a wealth of time to peruse content online, they might really need the cut-through of a conversation to kick off any discussion around their buying decisions. Your plan will therefore look very different from one targeting CIOs in Fintech companies shopping for accounting software, or HR leaders procuring performance management software systems. For the latter examples, you may need to invest more time in your inbound strategy. For the former, a well-crafted script for an initial phone conversation, followed by links to engaging product information and an easy way to book a demo, might be just the ticket.

Find the parts of your sales cycle that need attention

This part can be tricky because it requires an honest assessment of how well your current strategy performs and forces you to examine undiscovered territory. Say you are limited to one or two channels, and there’s no formal funnel for your prospects; this leaves little room for optimisation and doesn’t give you much data visibility.

Where do you close most of your deals? And where do you find yourself fighting to stay in the game? If you’ve never diverged from the tried and tested phone call, how’s it working for you?

If your preferred outreach method is a phone call, are your sales team spending a lot of time aggregating follow-up content for the prospect before the conversation can proceed to the next stage? Do you find it difficult to get hold of senior decision-makers? Is it a challenge to articulate your offer over the phone?

The answers to these questions provide the insight you need to optimise and design your contact sequences. If the conversation with the key decision-maker is happening too early in the cycle, you could be squandering the opportunity to close the deal because you need to spend time generating awareness. It’s far more efficient to educate your prospects through outreach emails that give greater context to the problem you solve, or pose a challenge that sparks a conversation. Similarly, signposting to relevant video content could expedite your process, allowing your discussions to begin from a position of shared understanding.

Assess which channels and tools meet your needs:

There are numerous ways to integrate your user’s experience, from website transactions, payments processing, cross-selling, coupon codes, tracking, and maintenance, to name but a few. Whether your business sells products, services, or your sale is a more consultative, longer burn, you can create an experience that adds value at every stage of the pipeline.

Sales and Marketing integration is so important to your success in this area. When you work with your marketing department, you can use the content they create as a sales tool to attract potential buyers into the sales funnel. They can proactively help you find channels where potential customers search for answers your service provides, whether that’s through a more targeted social strategy or integrated live chat into your website. All of the above strengthens the quality of leads in the funnel, enabling you to establish strong business relationships with your buyers and gain their trust.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, it gives you an insight into which strategy might best serve your audience:

Social selling: through leveraging your networks and building relationships on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, you can start conversations, respond to comments and engage with broader discussions about the challenges affecting your prospects. On LinkedIn especially, dialogues can easily migrate from the comments sections into a more formal approach. It also makes sense to talk shop where your competitors are hanging out, conversations are already in-flight, and people expect a sales approach. Here, the relationship is central to the sale, so this channel is best-suited to longer sales cycles that require more nurturing and time investment. You can complete your entire sales cycle via social selling, but it works best when used in conjunction with other channels and you migrate to a video call or meeting.

Email: Email works best when it’s personal but not presumptuous; a well-written email with an attention-grabbing subject line can pique interest. Generic, catch-all email blasts will never have the desired effect. Still, if you can segment your audiences and trigger relevant email content based on their buyer behaviours, you boost your chances of conversion. Even innovative templates that allow for some degree of personalisation and offer a gift such as a guide or a download can nudge your prospect in the right direction and helps you earn the right to a more in-depth conversation.

Phone call or video chat: Conversation is undeniable; even the most introverted amongst us get value from human connection. Where the phone call punctuates the sales cycle is entirely up to you. For some organisations, it’s their only strategy. Without a vast pool of potential buyers or a killer elevator pitch, it’s easy to burn through a database without getting real traction. Sales are about persistence, but it’s also advisable to align your sales approach with your buyer’s needs. If your buyers prefer to research online, amp up your inbound and digital outreach ahead of making calls. If your audience is tech-savvy, deliver innovative video content and let their response drive the conversation forward.

Live chat:  Live chat is one of the most potent sales tools out there. It enables direct real-time interaction with visitors to your website, capturing their immediate needs. It’s a valuable touch-point, but it works best where there are definitive answers, or you have a mechanism to book a demo.

Every business can benefit from a solid inbound strategy: Ample opportunities for prospective customers to research marketing content, participate in live webinars to see how your products solve their problems and lead to better quality, which means more qualified leads for your sales team.

Build an integrated tech stack that supports your prospect’s journey: A data-driven sales culture means that your sales representatives and managers monitor essential information that drives your business, such as sales dates, sales cycles, customer satisfaction and outbound activities. Business intelligence tools that centralise and combine data from your CRM, LMS, telephony and VoIP systems (and integrate with marketing automation systems) offer the best opportunity to examine where you’re experiencing drop-offs in engagement. You can therefore fail fast and fix things quickly, so your approach evolves with your market.

Getting started:

Armed with a plethora of tools and insight, you can continually optimise your sales approach. But this is the real world, not everything happens in the correct order, and we understand that not every business has the resources or the time to invest in systems and software. Optimising your prospect’s experience and driving better data visibility starts with setting up some joined-up internal processes. Even simple things like well-crafted follow-up emails, customer surveys and regular communications can drive better retention and increase sales success.

If you need guidance designing your sales approach, we can help. Contact us

Data strategy and ideal customer profile: why it matters and how to get it right

In sales, data can make or break your campaign. If your list is too generic, you could burn through time having irrelevant conversations, too narrow and miss out on valuable opportunities that fall just outside your perceived ideal target.

Your data strategy matters; done well, it provides a blueprint and foundation for your organisation’s success. Your data strategy should determine who your business is talking to and where you drive awareness of your products and services. It’s a powerful driver for the direction of your business and where you want to be, so it’s worth investing time in it.

How you build your lists will depend on various factors, including your salespeople’s autonomy and experience, whether or not you use data insight or sales tools, and factors such as your deal sizes and target audiences.

You may have a well-defined ideal client profile, or you might still be trying to figure it out. Wherever you are on that journey, and while perfect data doesn’t exist, there are key approaches you can take to make sure you’re eliminating who you can’t sell to, and you’re fishing in the right pond.

Think about your total addressable market. What does that look like? It might be broader than you’ve considered, or you may have plans to break new markets. Are you successful in the demographic where you currently expend time and effort, or has the success been organic rather than based on any market insight?

There are simple surface-level observations you can make; if you’ve failed to gain traction in a particular market or with a specific group of decision-makers, there may be reasons. Say you have aspirations to land contracts with large corporates, if you regularly encounter objections to sale or periodically lose out to larger competitors, it could be as something as simple as you’re not on the preferred supplier list or don’t fit a procurement profile. Perhaps it’s more challenging to engage your services, so regardless of the quality of your pitch, you’ll struggle to get a foot in the door. But in smaller or mid-sized companies with different buying behaviours and traits, you’d have far more success.

When you’re buying data, some nuances can completely skew the entire focus of your dataset, especially when selecting the right decision-makers. It’s wise to think laterally and consider the minor but significant differentiators. It’s the difference between targeting IT management in mid-sized pharmaceutical companies but not including business owners where no IT leader exists: you could be missing out on vital conversations with founders and owners with a requirement for your services or misjudging where the buying power sits. Similarly, suppose you’re running a programme targeting major financial services companies and don’t specify head office / corporate HQ. In that case, you could contact branches with large numbers of staff but have to defer to the main group for purchasing decisions.

Being too niche

Every business has reasons for being very targeted. Some are justified, some haven’t thought too deeply about why and some don’t know! If you focus solely on large enterprises, you may be reaching (on average) one-two relevant decision-makers a day. Again, how do you judge company size on revenue or number of employees? Some start-ups have incredible profitability per employee and actual buying power thanks to investment; it’s not worth passing up those conversations just because they might not fit into a narrow paradigm of ideal client profile.

Accessing quality data

It’s a fact that data ages quickly, with senior leadership changes, mergers and thanks to the pandemic, more businesses going remote and keeping on fewer offices. You can expect some data dilution; even the most reputable data providers cannot guarantee perfect data.

You can empower your sales teams with tools that can enhance their research ability, which helps them build compliant, accurate and integrated lists in real-time. Many powerful tools on the market, like Lusha, Cognism and HubSpot, can accelerate prospecting efforts and drive a better culture around data. Especially in businesses where sales teams have greater autonomy and ownership overbuilding their prospect lists.

Equally, there is an argument that sales teams that are researching and refining their client lists are spending less time at the coalface, actually selling to and speaking to prospects. If your product is high volume and a relatively straightforward sale, spending vast amounts of time researching and gathering insight might not be the right approach.

Finding the balance

Sales leaders should own and drive data strategy. How you build your data lists centrally helps you set a strong direction for your team. You can churn data and fail fast, using data analytics to help you shape and improve your targeting, or instead use a centrally built list as a foundation and refine using sales tools and desk-based research. There’s no right or wrong approach. Some of this preference is driven by your sales culture and your own experiences but provided you’ve invested time and consideration into your data strategy and how you build your prospect lists, you’re in a great starting place.

If you’d like to discuss your data strategy, we’d be happy to help. Call our Client Operations Director, Shaun Weston, on 0345 241 3038 or email shaunw@air-marketing.co.uk.

Conversion expectations: are you being honest with yourself? (Spoiler alert: maybe not!)

A very wise person once said, ‘Honesty is the soul of business.’ And it’s reflecting on that honesty, at every stage in your strategy, that will lead to long-term success. You can apply the same logic to customer conversions. We’ve seen every business model out there, strategies propelled forward by sheer hope alone, while others prepare for the worst, so any wins, however small, smash all expectations.

When it comes to achieving goals, an in-depth look at how much of your pipeline converts into sales will arm you with the knowledge you need to plan, giving you a clear indication of what can be achieved when you break down the numbers.

Work backwards to go forwards.

How many new customers do you need to onboard a month? It can really help to work backwards. If it’s 10 new customers, do you know, typically, how many leads you need to bring in to achieve that? How many must convert to proposals, and from there, what’s your average win-rate? With a little working out, it’s easy to see where the gaps are.

And if you’re honest, do you consistently invest enough in your best-performing channels to regularly hit the number of leads you need to win those 10 new customers you’re shooting for? If you run seasonal campaigns that affect the number of leads in specific months, or your calendar has industry-wide buying trends, the answers may surprise you.

Setting achievable goals based on track record.

Many businesses have this ideal target figure for new business, but a few key considerations will affect how realistic achieving this will be for them. Firstly, have you ever achieved this before? If yes, what were the contributing factors to your success? If you regularly acquire 50% of your new business target, you need to look at what you need to do differently now to achieve your sales goal.

Data really does tell a story. Therefore, accurate data reporting and a proficient CRM system are essential to understanding historical patterns and any limiting factors in your business that might impact your typical conversion rates. Armed with this knowledge, you have a much greater understanding and visibility of your sales environment and any gaps you need to address.

Meaningful planning that delivers ROI.

We work with our clients to create a cash flow forecast, which leverages the aforementioned data insights and shows how an investment in their outsourced sales function will deliver over a 2-year period, showing expected (and realistic) ROI and timeframes. We know from experience that a consistent programme of activity will deliver results, some quick wins, but they will also be those prospects that will come to fruition months from now. In a quick-win culture, 2 years can seem like an eternity, but actually, it’s a virtuous circle, whereby the investment you make today will pay dividends far beyond the life of your campaign.

Honesty is a two-way street, so we’re always completely transparent about ROI and our projections. If you need a faster return on investment than our forecast predicts, it’s important to think carefully before investing in outsourced sales as campaigns do not deliver miracles and require time to deliver results.

If you’d like to have an honest conversation about your sales goals and how our outsourced sales experts can help you achieve them, get in touch, call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

How outsourced sales can skyrocket the growth of your business

High-growth businesses have a few key common denominators. They’re usually born out of a great idea their core team really believe in and rally behind. Their growth often outpaces their recruitment and resources, so every team member could find themselves playing outside their comfort zone in those whirlwind early months. The ultimate ambition is simply exponential growth; the sky is the limit. And speaking of limitations, there comes the point in every startup’s growth trajectory where the curve begins to level off. So, what do you when this happens?

It’s at this point that businesses start to look at their sales and marketing machine. What worked when they were starting out, won’t be the secret to levelling up. An ad hoc and reactive approach to building brand and acquiring new business isn’t a solid strategy for success. Most companies seeking to grow do accept this to be true. But what’s the value of an outsourced sales agency over building an in-house team? Why not bring in a Head of Sales and let them handle it? In our blog, Outsourced vs Hiring In-House – The Debate Continues, we take an in-depth look at both sides of the debate and the practical considerations that most businesses will face when making this decision.

In our experience, it comes down to this; your most valuable commodity is time. Time to focus on your business strategy; time to focus on your product roadmap and value propositions and time to focus on the future and your vision. The overarching benefit of outsourcing sales to an expert partner is what you gain back, along with the reassurance that your sales strategy and delivery is in experienced hands with a track record of delivering results.

We’ve looked at the common constraining factors that limit growth and how outsourced sales can help.

Limited in-house resource and skills

Sales are vital to every organisation’s future, but it also takes dedication, consistency and experience to see results. This is where an outsourced sales partner can help you step up your game overnight. Building an in-house sales function is fraught with challenges from developing your onboarding process to retaining your best talent. The time investment required to create and cultivate a high-performance sales culture is significant, and that’s alongside day-to-day management and process development. An outsourced sales partner has already built that high-performing sales professional function, with experts motivated and able to start delivering value to your business almost immediately.

No time to dedicate to new business

Building a pipeline is essential to future sales success, but it’s challenging to generate leads without dedicated sales resource. If your existing team focuses on high-value immediate opportunities, they may be overlooking valuable opportunities that are yet to buy and require nurturing through the sales funnel. And without any sales expertise, even those precious opportunities may be challenging to get over the line. An outsourced sales expert can help you design a strategy that takes in the complete sales cycle and aligns with your growth strategy, helping you build pipeline, capitalise on the low-hanging fruit and free up headspace to concentrate on the exceptional opportunities.

Limited brand recognition

Breaking into new markets and building awareness in your target audience can be challenging for new brands. An outsourced partner can help. They can work with you to develop messaging that will resonate with your audience. Their sales experts will be skilled in communicating the key aspects of a business’s service and benefits, building rapport with your desired key decision-makers and nurturing relationships from cold prospect to engaged customer. This consistent activity will help establish your brand.

Lack of market insight

Research and insight are invaluable to any new organisation, but it’s tough to justify a research budget if you’re at the investment stage. A sales campaign can be a valuable accelerator to gather live feedback from your target audience, especially if you’re a disruptor in the market. It allows you to get closer to your prospects’ challenges, enabling you to refine your offer to better suit their needs. An outsourced sales partner will give you access to call recordings and valuable data insights that will provide you with greater visibility of your market.

Why Air?

We deliver a unique experience for every client who works with us, regardless of their size, product or industry. We get to know our client’s business, their goals, their market and especially their nuances! From here, we build a bespoke strategy that reflects all the above, considering their product value and sales cycle. We then create a plan that includes campaign content and messaging aligned to their brand, we train and immerse our team in the campaign’s goals and work with the client to clearly define the target market.

Could you benefit from using an experienced outsourced sales team? Whether you require a completely outsourced service or additional sales support for your existing team, get in touch, call 0345 241 3038 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk

Why outsourcing Sales and Marketing to a single provider makes perfect sense

The argument for marketing and sales alignment has been well-documented in recent years. The growing popularity of account-based marketing and sales enablement is testament to a shift in perception across the industry. And there’s a wealth of research to back it up, in fact by aligning sales and marketing, your business could generate 208% more revenue and enjoy 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.

By working together and understanding each other’s roles, metrics and goals, marketing can attract and nurture better quality leads; glean insight from their sales colleagues and in turn, deliver better quality and targeted materials to help get deals over the line. Equally, sales can commit to following up marketing qualified leads and feeding back information of where that prospect may be in the sales cycle so they can target them with appropriate content. The result is a well-oiled machine that nurtures long-term relationships and results in higher conversions.

And while it seems like a no-brainer, in theory, organisations struggle to make it work for many reasons. In under-resourced teams, dedicating time to sales and marketing alignment feels like an arduous and time-consuming activity that will take time to mature and deliver results, so it continually gets de-prioritised in favour of the next big campaign. When you outsource to a single provider, you instantly access an experienced team dedicated to delivering against your marketing and sales goals and who are skilled at developing a delivery plan that meets your specific needs.

Other businesses don’t have a system supporting shared visibility of campaigns and customer journeys, making collaboration difficult and again, time-consuming. Sometimes it’s merely an imbalance in teams. There may be only one or two dedicated marketers in a sales first organisation. They might lack a content marketing specialism or require further training or experience to support sales confidently. An outsourced partner has already nailed this; they’ve already built a high-performing and aligned team and follow established processes, and have complete visibility of shared systems.

And then, of course, some organisations don’t have any sales and marketing resource at all. If they’ve already outsourced, joining the two functions means close-management of third parties and contractors, which comes with an administrative burden and challenges around contrasting systems and processes. By outsourcing to one expert partner, you can avoid the headaches of managing multiple suppliers. You can make your budgets work harder and have the benefit of working with a team where both sales and marketing are on the same page and know the full details of your campaign.

Supporting the entire journey, with complete visibility throughout

When you outsource sales and marketing to a single provider, you get a joined-up approach proven to succeed. Experienced marketers and campaign managers will use demand generation or account based marketing strategies to drive awareness in your desired markets, nurturing leads through a consistent campaign of engaging content across paid social, email marketing and relevant blog content. These leads will then be handled by expert sales representatives skilled in building rapport, communicating your brand and your offering professionally and reassuringly. The big difference is that all of this activity is overseen by marketing and sales experts who have deep expertise in delivering complex, multifaceted projects, sharing metrics, a CRM and everybody agrees on what constitutes a qualified lead.

How we make it work

Here at Air Marketing, we have the in-house skills, technology and processes to deliver value at every point in the customer journey. We’ve grown from a telemarketing agency into a comprehensive outsourced sales and marketing solution. We offer everything from demand generation and marketing support to complete end to end sales campaigns, SDR as a service and lead generation. Since 2018 we’ve worked with our Sister company, Roots to Market, to design multichannel campaigns that build the brand, drive awareness and deliver opportunities to our clients.

If you would like to know more about how we can deliver aligned sales and marketing initiatives for your business, get in touch: call 0345 241 3038 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

Why we’ve refreshed our brand

Our journey from a start-up to established agency has been filled with so many challenges and like any business that’s grown quickly, from a standing start it’s also been filled with a lot of change. Looking around at our team, our offices and our client base, it’s clear to see how far we’ve come as a business. But in the midst of all this change, there was one thing that had remained a constant; our brand.

We’ve actually had the same branding since our launch in March 2016. And there’s no doubt that our brand has served us well, especially in the early days when we were a small team and still building our culture and defining who we served as a business. But now feels like the right time for a change. We’re no longer a new business or a start-up but an established business with a strong track record in delivering for start-ups, SMEs and household names. To accurately convey the breadth and value of our services, the progression in our business journey and service offerings and compete with our esteemed competition, we need our brand to represent who we are today and show the value we deliver for businesses in all industries.

Introducing our new brand. Our brand now more accurately represents a more mature Air and shows how much we’ve grown since those early days. We’re now far more experienced and have valued long-term client relationships and amazing success stories that are a testament to the talents of our team. Our team represents a diverse blend of sales talent, and we wanted that to shine through in our brand refresh. It’s their hard work, dedication and commitment to delivering more for our clients that has driven our success and growth over the years.

Our brand has been developed from identifying our main archetype alongside 2 wing archetypes. A bit like a character in films and tv, ‘the hero, the villain, the lover’, an archetype aligns to certain business and brand characteristics. Our main archetype is The Hero, this archetype imbues the brand with strength and momentum, inspiring internal teams while also giving clients the confidence to trust in the process. Alongside this we one of our wing archetypes is The Magician, this archetype plays up the data, information, and skillset of Air, showing that with a little magic we can pull sales, leads or untapped markets out of ‘thin air’. And the final wing archetype is The Sage, this archetype shows strength in humility and demonstrates dependability, knowledge, insight, and support.

Then there are our services. We’ve grown from a telemarketing agency into a comprehensive outsourced sales and marketing solution, where we offer everything from demand generation and marketing support to complete end to end sales campaigns, SDR as a service and lead generation. Since 2018 we’ve worked with our Sister company, Roots to Market, to design multichannel campaigns that build brand, drive awareness and deliver opportunities to our clients.

We’ve chosen a brand refresh rather than a complete rebrand because we’re already established in the market and people recognise the name ‘Air’. It means a lot to us as a name and an identity and we’ve worked hard for that recognition.  There’s so much of the existing brand that we’re proud of and want to preserve as we start our next chapter.

Air Founder & CEO, Owen Richards, is excited to launch the new brand, “I can’t wait to share the refreshed look as it represents a step-change in how we communicate our services and more sophisticated and mature Air. You will see something new and different from us, as we launch our new website, which has a fresh and modern look and feel, conveys our breadth of expertise and tells fantastic client stories that show exactly how our brilliant team helps businesses achieve their sales ambitions”. Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments. If you’d like to hear more about our services and how we can help you accelerate your sales success going in 2021, get in touch today and we’ll guide you through the process: call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

10 Key Ways to Optimise your Outbound Sales Engine

Outbound sales remain a vital component of a company’s sales strategy. Or at least it should be. Research conducted in 2019 highlighted that 41.2% of respondents found the humble telephone to be the most effective sales tool at their disposal. Outbound sales drove 55% of leads compared with 27% generated by inbound. That’s a pretty compelling statistic!

But can you supercharge your results further by changing some aspects of your approach, to close any gaps in your outbound sales strategy and delivery plan. With all elements working harmoniously you will see a surge in the quality and quantity of leads in your pipeline.

We’re experienced in helping our clients maximise their outbound sales strategy. In our experience, it takes an initial time-investment, expertise and consistent approach to get your outbound sales engine firing on all cylinders.

Here’s our rundown of the 10 key ways you can optimise outbound and how to bridge the gaps:

  1. Get your CRM working – Tough questions require honest answers: Is your CRM fit for purpose when it comes to being an outbound sales engine? Can your sales team work quickly but effectively with it? Does it lack the capability to deliver the data insights you need? This is a vital component in your outbound sales process, if your team find your CRM clunky and the UX poor they simply won’t use it. Without proper database management, it’s difficult to optimise campaigns and impossible to build a validated pipeline of valuable leads. This is why you need to get your CRM working for you, it’s the foundation of your campaign’s success.

    Many of our clients utilise our custom built CRM which has been specifically developed to optimise our outbound sales engine. We do also work within our clients CRMs when relevant, providing we can see that the platform will give clients a clear view of their data, their prospects and the entire journey throughout the life of a campaign.

  2. Reporting – Do you have access to the reports and insights you need to optimise outbound sales? Reporting should give you as close to a real-time view of a campaign as possible. It should help you quickly pinpoint what’s working and what needs to change. If you’re not in a position to do that, how do you know if your campaign is going well? When using our bespoke CRM, we provide detailed reporting to our clients through our client portal so they can get a speedy pulse-check and a transparent view of progress. Our ongoing reporting uses those insights to adapt and evolve our approach to achieve success.

  3. Call recordings – These provide a vital insight into how customer conversations are progressing, whether messaging is working or needs review. Do you have access to recordings? If you have, do you have the time to listen to them and do you know what to listen for? Listening back to calls is vital in any campaign, it helps you get a sense of a typical conversations, how prospects are engaging with your messaging and whether or not you need to change your script or approach. We have a thorough review and feedback process to ensure consistent improvement. You’ll never get a lead that the call hasn’t been listened to by one of our team first.

  4. Call backs – Having an agreed process for how calls are handled and logged ensures that you are efficient with opportunities and your prospect is getting a smooth experience. You need complete visibility of the most recent point of contact to create a seamless journey to sale. It’s worth the time investment of mapping this process out thoroughly and sharing with your team. This comes back to your CRM, does this have the functionality to seamlessly manage this?

  5. Data tells a story – We use it to find patterns that we can leverage for success, the best of time of day to call, the most successful approach to take with gatekeepers to reach the decision maker expediently plus many more trends can be found from the data. We work with our clients to build that picture and use it to best effect. Again, this is a worthy time investment that will really pay off in the long-term. Ideally, you will have an individual within your team who is able to analyse, process and make recommendations based on the data presented. We know that not every in-house team can have an individual focused on data but making it a priority for your campaign means somebody needs to understand and own this. We have a Data Analyst within our team who is solely focused on optimising client campaigns by utilising data.

  6. Learning and Development – Continual training and support helps sales teams realise their potential and is proven to enhance performance. Do you have a training plan for your sales team? Do you have the tools or partners who will really add value to this training? Research shows that learning and development can really boost sales team performance, with sales training improving win-rate by 15.4%. This is a huge focus for our team, we invest in our sales teams, championing their professional development and supporting them to learn and grow and deliver stellar work across all client accounts.

  7. QA (Quality Assurance) matters – A quality prospect experience, smooths the path to conversions. By optimising your QA processes you’re ensuring a better experience for every future prospect, protecting your brand and building insights to optimise future conversations and future campaigns. We work closely with clients to assure quality of all sales conversation and follow-up process. We ensure their brand is represented in line with their tone and values and their outbound campaigns actively build brand and reputation in new markets.

  8. Scripts that help conversation flow – In our experience, scripts need to rigid enough to effectively communicate the brand and pitch but not so rigid that they stem the flow conversation. Try to be professional but conversational in tone, if you wouldn’t naturally talk a certain way, don’t put it in your script. Prospects are people and will respond far better to a thought-provoking and engaging chat than a list of quick-fire discovery questions. We create scripts for our clients that communicate their brand and service and build the relationships that lead to future opportunities.

  9. Objection handling – How you handle objections is a valuable brand building activity. Doing it well takes training and experience. If you’ve never tackled it before, try to map out some common challenges and listen to calls to find specific ones; then work on your responses and agree your approach so everyone in your sales team is on the same page. For us, it’s woven into our FAQs and provides another opportunity to progress a conversation towards a sale.

  10. Competitor analysis – We’re keen advocates of competitor analysis because by looking at what your competitors do well, helps you contextualize your own value proposition, strengths and weaknesses. When refining and honing your messages to the market, this information is absolute gold. Getting started doesn’t have to be onerous, take a couple of hours to start putting together your insights, even something high-level can prove a useful document, but make sure you use it to inform your campaign strategy. If you’re not sure where to take it next, we can help. We use our clients’ insights from competitor analysis to develop a strategy that accelerates their success and helps them differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

Developing and honing your outbound sales approach is no easy feat and when you’re busy with the daily running of your business. It can be tough to find the time, headspace and the right group of people in-house to make sure your efforts are coordinated, consistent and optimised for results. This is where we can help you bridge the gap. We’re experts in outsourced sales, helping startups to household names to achieve their sales goals and reach new markets.

If you want to supercharge your outbound strategy and accelerate your sales success going into 2021, get in touch today and we’ll guide you through the process: call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

Why it’s never too early for SaaS businesses to invest in their sales strategy

All hype and a lackluster product are a common phenomenon. We’ve all been seduced by a miracle product that promises so much but underwhelms. But what about the flipside? What happens when you spend all your time focused on technology development and neglect to think of the future sales? It’s tempting to believe that a truly fantastic product will sell itself. Sadly, this is a modern fable of the highest order. Every major new tech development of the past 10 years has been backed by a sound sales and marketing strategy because nothing drives new product investment better than a solid first year’s sales figures.

In the SaaS industry, success is largely predicated on those early sales, as an estimated 92% of SaaS companies fail within 3 years. Despite growth and funding, securing pipeline and a stronghold in the market is even more vital.

It’s a tough situation because it’s natural for entrepreneurs to hold back on marketing and sales plans when they feel their product requires further development but it’s also this lack of planning beyond the initial investment that can prove a seriously limiting factor.

So, if you’ve secured investment, found a perfect product market fit and are confident in your value proposition and pricing, you’re way ahead of most of your competitors. But in a high growth and extremely saturated market, that’s not enough to edge the competition. Beige, generic and all-encompassing messaging that doesn’t help your product stand-out, coupled with a less than expert sales approach, isn’t the winning combination that will help you succeed.

Define your market and nurture it

It’s true, there’s a global market out there if you’re an SaaS business, and even if you’ve validated the market need for your product with extensive research, you still need to have a consistent, defined approach to influencing the decision makers in the businesses who have the most need for what you’re selling. Even if you have the perfect product to solve their business challenge, if your sales strategy and approach to prospecting doesn’t include a thorough discovery process, you could be missing out on valuable prospects and upsell opportunities. Our team are experts in guiding and influencing these conversations, gathering valuable insight throughout their conversations.

Invest in lead generation

If you’re new to the market and your organic traffic and enquiries need a boost, investing in lead generation can not only directly feed your pipeline but drive valuable traffic to your website, and can help you build brand and reputation when you’re still trying to expand your reach.

Stop firefighting and trust a sales expert

We’ve covered the issue of allocating a budget to outsourcing sales in our blog How to decide what to spend your investment on. A big part of this is understanding that the right team is essential to success. When you’re just starting to get established, it’s frustrating for team members to lead functions where they have limited expertise. You can be a genius developer with a talent for securing investment but that doesn’t mean you know how to create a winning sales strategy, tailor conversations that convince decision makers to part with their cash or seamlessly adjust the script to keep a prospect warm and interested. That’s what our team can do for you, giving you back valuable time to focus on core business.

The Covid-19 effect

The pandemic has seen SaaS sales rise, thanks to increased digitisation of services expedited by the shift to remote work. Who knows how long the boom will last? What we do know is that when budgets tighten, SaaS services will have to prove their mettle and stay close to both customers and prospects to keep churn low and convince new customers to part with their cash, making a consistent approach to account managing existing customers and nurturing new relationships even more vital.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you create a winning sales approach that will ensure a strong pipeline as the market recovers, get in touch: call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

The Power of Multichannel and how we use it for Success

Imagine if you could only rely on one method to communicate the benefits of your product or service. Think of how you would need to simultaneously build brand recognition, demonstrate the benefits of your product, and consistently engage with the customer using that same method of communication whether they were ready to buy or not. Think about your preferred brands – imagine if everything you had learned about them had been as a result of a one-off radio awareness campaign aired over two weeks. Would they still be your preferred option? Would you feel the same investment in that brand if you hadn’t been furnished with tailored product knowledge to influence your buying decisions? Or received an email with an irresistible offer, followed by a social post that made you smile? The answer is, probably not. Multichannel campaigns are arguably your prospect’s preferred choice. Research shows 67% of B2B buyers tend to research content before making a purchase and 64% of B2B buyers will read two to five content pieces before making a decision to purchase.

Creating awareness and maximizing exposure

Multichannel selling is the second approach. It’s promoting and selling your products on more than one sales channel, taking an integrated approach that allows you to increase your prospective customer’s exposure to your product through telemarketing campaigns, digital campaigns, social selling, video prospecting and content sharing. It’s more than reaching out to prospects through traditional methods of communication – it’s generating awareness in the online communities they already use and meeting them where they already are. It’s a smart way to build brand and reputation, communicate a product or service’s benefits and drive interest and enquiries.

A blended and personalised approach

Our team are experienced in designing sales and marketing campaigns that carefully consider all the variables at play. When working with senior c-suite decision makers, or targeting large enterprises with complex organisational structures, our team know that a transactional approach isn’t the most effective. Instead, they create selling sequences of personalised activity that deliver valuable messaging designed to subtly influence and place the service benefits at the front of the prospect’s mind. When our sales specialists follow up with a phone call, they know some of the valuable product benefits and brand credibility have already been seeded. This is particularly valuable for our clients with high value products, which may have longer than usual sales cycles, meaning a longer-term nurture approach is required to keep their prospects engaged – and this has to extend beyond a single campaign.

Why we’re different

Here at Air, we have the in-house skills, technology and processes to execute multi-channel campaigns. As a specialist end-to-end sales agency, we don’t believe in a templated, cookie-cutter approach. For us, no two campaigns are the same. That’s why we’ll work closely with you to understand your sales goals, your target market’s challenges and their customer’s pain points so you can tailor your campaigns and messaging to cut through the noise and strongly resonate with key decision makers in your desired market.

With Air, you can be assured that we’ll design and deliver a multi-channel approach that helps you deepen your brand recognition and increase your customer touch points, in a meaningful way, so that your combined sales and marketing efforts have the maximum impact and reach without creating arduous processes or unnecessary workload for your internal team.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you discover new markets, land high value accounts and improve brand recognition through a multi-channel approach, get in touch: call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.