The Importance of Training When Developing High Performance Teams

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

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

Training can benefit company growth in numerous ways:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Buzz Meetings – Demotivating or Motivating?

Motivation can be difficult to achieve in an office environment; hard work can often go unnoticed and the constant pressures of a competitive environment can begin to wear employees down. Research has shown, each day, 10% of employees are absent in call centres due to the lack of appreciation felt in the workplace. This research alone highlights the need, especially in my industry, for touchpoints which allow managers to show their appreciation to their staff, highlight individual achievements and deliver motivational objectives. In this blog post, I will share my experience and tips for achieving the above in one morning meeting.

So, how do you maximise your morning buzz meetings to encourage individuals and create high performing sales teams?

  1. Strategise

43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, however, employee reviews should be happening more often and take less time.

There’s nothing worse than a long-winded ‘motivational’ meeting that is set to demotivate from the offset. It’s therefore important that you plan and prepare; effective buzz meetings should be concise and last no longer than 15 minutes, be armed with your objectives, focus on team wins and pinpoint your collective areas of learning.

  1. Set the tone

Our physical behaviour influences our mental and emotional approach to the day.

Think of ways to get your team moving, have a walking meeting, introduce a quick-fire game or play uplifting music to get the blood pumping. Increased blood flow creates a positive mood, resulting in employees being more equipped to handle objections, take on new challenges and meet personal milestones.

  1. Spotlight success

69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised.

This is the perfect opportunity to feature the activity which you want to encourage. Celebrate your teams wins, even if they don’t lead to a direct sale and avoid focusing on losses. Recognising individual and team achievements has become my common practise, as I know this makes the individuals in my team feel more confident and in turn, pushes them to set bigger targets.

  1. Support and encourage

41% of companies that encourage colleagues to support one another experienced a significant increase in customer satisfaction.

If you want to create a great support network and boost team morale, encourage employees to praise fellow team members, this assures no one’s hard work slips past management and brings the team closer together. If your team is feeling positive it will show in their client conversations, resulting in better relationship building, more sales and higher ROI for the company.

  1. Strengthen from learnings

92% of employees agree that negative feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.

Remember, the key for creating a great buzz meeting is positivity. Take negative feedback from the day before and turn it into takeaways and learnings for the team to overcome together. If a client isn’t happy with an element of your team’s performance, encourage your team to think of tactics that will better engage them and the people they are selling to.

  1. State the day’s focus

90% of business leaders believe that an engagement strategy could positively impact their business, yet only 25% of them have a strategy in place. It’s therefore no surprise that only 40% of employees are well informed of their company’s goals, strategy, and tactics.

It’s time to hit the reset button and introduce a new action plan for the day. Ask each individual team member, “what do you want to achieve today?” I have found that when the whole team acknowledges personal targets, that individual immediately feels more accountability to meet their goal, success is more likely to be achieved and goals are more likely to align to the company’s bigger picture.

At Air Marketing, we have experienced great success from our initiative to focus on our internal company culture. Achieving £18 for every £1 our clients invest, we are performing higher than the industry’s £11 average. I personally believe this success is down to the time we take out of selling to promote appreciation, individual achievements and team objectives. The culture at Air is one that I haven’t experienced anywhere else, our team’s positive and supportive nature is infectious, thanks to our daily buzz meetings we continue to deliver fantastic results for the companies we support.

Opinion Piece by Annie Blundell – Account Director, Air Marketing

‘National Give Something Away Day’ – A great opportunity to start implementing a sales incentive scheme

If you have a sales team, of any kind, it’s important to implement some sort of incentive or bonus scheme to keep them motivated and hungry, as this will keep them delivering for you.  These incentives could be cash based (commissions, bonuses, etc.), or non-cash based (trips, prizes, points, and other awards).

The type of sales incentives that will work best for your business largely relies on your capabilities, goals and demographics of your sales team.

At the Air Marketing Group, we reward our staff with both cash and non-cash incentives. We have learnt that a varied sales incentive scheme has many benefits: improved performance, higher sales rates and the ability to create a work culture many desire which will help your employability.

Find out more about sales incentive benefits


Retaining your sales teams focus day in and day out can be a challenging task. If you’ve got a specific target you need to hit by a certain deadline, a short-term sales incentive scheme with an enticing reward on the table, can work beautifully when focusing your team. At Air, if our sales team hit their weekly sales target we treat them to a 4:30pm drink or encourage everyone to put the phones down an hour early to attend an organised after work social. Creating a short-term scheme is often just enough to light a fire under people, driving the performance you desire.

Lead Excitement

Most businesses believe that the prospect of earning commission on a sale will be enough to motivate their team, unfortunately most will discover this isn’t the case. At Air, we have a variety of different tactics to keep things exciting and our team motivated. We recommend trying a washing line or a tactical wheel incentive scheme that gives your staff the opportunity to win a prize, do a forfeit or take a gamble. These prizes and forfeits could be anything from doing a dare, making someone a hot drink, or winning £50. Encourage your team to take risks that result in doubling their prize or losing it all together. The two examples above are great incentive schemes that get your team excited about what they’re working for and highlights that taking risks can be rewarding.


If you want to build loyalty amongst your sales team, we encourage you to think about implementing an incentive scheme that includes trophy value or emotional significance. At Air, we like nothing more than celebrating the success of our team, this could be anything from being with our company for a year, or having progressed to a new level within the team. Handing out rewards such as personalised vouchers are small incentives that really show your sales team their appreciated and that your company is focused on building a two-way relationship. We exhibit loyal behaviours when we trust that the person or thing we’re involved in will be good to us. By enriching your sales teams lives, you’ll evoke their desired to show loyalty.

Healthy Competition

Most sales people are competitive. Give them a goal, and they’ll want to out-do their counterparts. To encourage healthy competition, consider setting up a points system with a visible leader board. As a telemarketing company, we have created a visible leader board that showcases who’s winning the most leads. Allowing individuals to see where they stand amongst other colleagues inspired additional effort.

Collaborative Efforts

A well-designed incentive scheme can not only drive friendly competition, but also encourage collaboration. Get your team to work together, set team objectives such as an overall number of leads to be achieved by the end of the month. You can then add a significant team reward for reaching this goal. Think about organising a staff lunch or activity hour, not only does this reward but can be considered a team building activity. It’s important to create a culture of friendly competition, not just cut-throat rivalry.


Reduced Turnover

The main reason people seek new employment is due to a feeling of underappreciation. We have spoken about a short-term sales incentive scheme however long-term schemes are a way of giving away bigger prizes that show your staff their efforts are acknowledged. Air are running a 5 star incentive  that is run over a yearly period. Stars are given out over the year to people who have gone above and beyond, pulled through when the chips were down, or hit outstanding targets. If a staff member accumulates 5 stars over the year they are rewarded with a personal weekend getaway for them and a partner or friend. Long-term incentive programs are both great for reducing staff turnover and maintaining loyalty.


If you know anything about the Air Marketing Group, you’ll be aware of how important a positive work culture is to our business. We would not have achieved our positive, hardworking atmosphere if we didn’t regularly give our sales team incentives and show them just how much we appreciate them.



We know it’s the National #GiveSomethingAwayDay, created to give people the opportunity to give something away without expecting anything back. However, implementing an incentive scheme does allow your business to profit too. The more motivated your sales team, the more drive they have to sell and the better your clients and your own ROI. Having an incentive scheme in place will give you an all-round great company reputation amongst people both internally and externally.

We hope this insight encourages you to give something away to those who matter most in your business.

If you would like to work with a team that has an outstanding drive to sell, get in touch!

Lessons from Rugby by Chris Bentley

True north

Culture is a massively used term in rugby union. The top teams love to refer to theirs and the losing teams aspire to get it. There are many ways to define the culture of a winning team but the best way from my time was simply the team closest to finding their True North.

Different from magnetic north and grid north, True North is the direction along the earth’s surface to the north pole. We used to substitute our team goals for true north and then explore the behaviours that would get us there.

If everyone can identify the target and agree on the behaviours that will get there and those that won’t it suddenly becomes very clear. However, this list can often be quite broad, by coining a cover all phrase like true north we were able to have a reference point to consider actions and behaviours… ‘is that true north’ we could often ask one another when perhaps behaviours suggested otherwise.

Having worked as a team to agree on the direction we could then self-police one another and create a peer led culture rather than one with direction from above. This made it easier to adhere to (after all, we’d designed it) and created an arena where the critical mass stayed on task.

Stab in the belly

‘Et tu brute’ – the immortal last words from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as his close ally joined the assassination party. It was at this moment that his will to fight back erodes and he bowed to the Machiavellian plot. Being stabbed in the back is a term that still exists today and can cause a huge amount of problems with trust eroded, reputations tarnished, and teams damaged.

In sport as in business things go wrong and people make mistakes. This isn’t a problem but dealing with things going wrong often is.  Its human nature to deflect and try to play down problems, nobody likes to be told off or have mistakes highlighted but this can be turned to a positive if you are on the same wavelength and willing to face issues head on.

During my time in rugby the culture was always to ‘stab in the belly’ and highlight problems you can foresee as early as possible. This wasn’t a freedom to cause consternation or have arguments but a strength of character to give and receive criticism, appreciate that it’s for the good of the team and move on.

This maxim only works if the team has the trust to accept, as well as give, honesty. Quite often the challenge is to be robust enough to take a criticism on the chin, appreciate its aimed at a ‘true north’ goal and move on positively.

Opinion piece by Chris Bentley, Client Relationship Director, Air Marketing Group.