Five reasons you should consider outsourcing sales and lead generation during uncertain times

If there’s one thing we’ve all become a lot more familiar with in 2020, it’s uncertainty. In unprecedented times, only the most creative, agile and willing to innovate will emerge thriving. When the world shifts on its axis you have to be open to change, embrace whatever your ‘new normal’ is shaping up to be and stay focused on your future goals.

Headspace to focus on core operations

Nobody can deny that operational challenges have been the show stealers in recent months; everybody has been rightly focused on ensuring their teams can access the resources they need to perform their day jobs and connect with their colleagues. Social distancing and homeschooling have had a massive impact on how and when people work. The upshot? A different way of working and a greater focus on making things work in the short-term. All of this is undeniably vital work but it does mean that sales and lead generation strategies will not be getting the time and attention required to ensure they’re successful. Outsourcing to a trusted expert, gives you the peace of mind that this is being taken care of while working life resumes to some sort of normality.

Greater flexibility on costs in unpredictable conditions

In what seems like constant change, it pays to be flexible. Maybe you had recently recruited a lead generation team who you planned to nurture and grow, and that’s now been understandably delayed. Maybe you’ve had to deliver serious cost savings to keep your head above water. Through outsourcing sales and lead generation you can scale up and down as you need to, pay for the days and services that are most vital to your strategy at that time. If that changes, you can work collaboratively with an expert to get the mix of services right for your current needs and budget.

Access to expertise

This neatly brings us on to one of the standout benefits of outsourcing: access to proven expertise. The burden of developing and retaining sales talent rests with your supplier, so even if you don’t have the means to invest, you can be sure they have and therefore achieve economies of scale. Experienced sales experts who are used to target driven, fast-paced environments will be able to deliver the quality leads you need to build a healthy pipeline and act as an extension of your in-house teams.

Dedicated resource focused on growing your brand and refining your audience

Refining your target market, finding the correct decision makers and generating high quality leads that convert to sales, require a consistent approach. To get the maximum value out of these activities, substantial time needs to be dedicated to getting them right. Even your top salespeople will struggle to balance converting what’s hot right now, with nurturing those slow burner leads that will pay dividends in the future. Engaging an expert to work with you, ensures this vital but time consuming work is removed from their desks, so they can better focus on converting the big deals that will deliver immediate cash flow.

Reduces risk in an already uncertain time

We touched on this a little earlier. Risk is a big deal for businesses at any time but in the current climate, reducing risk can feel seriously empowering. There’s not much we can control at the moment, so if you can look to someone with a proven track record in delivering successful sales and lead generation campaigns, you can be confident that your investment is protected. At Air Marketing we work with clients to create a tailored, blend of services that will deliver the best conversion rates in their desired market. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help your business grow or show you how we’ve helped businesses from all sectors achieve success. Get in touch today or call us on 0345 241 3038. Or hear more from our existing customers here.

What to do when the market begins to pick up again

In recent months the world has undergone a transformation. Most of us spent the first weeks of lockdown readjusting to new ways of working and living. Equally, most businesses spent those tentative early days of the pandemic finding their feet, testing systems and remote working arrangements. For many this time was hectic but in terms of normal business operations, decidedly unproductive.

It remains an uncertain time, and even the easing of lockdown rules represents a far cry from the normalcy we enjoyed only a few weeks ago. At some point we will be able to return to work, meet with our colleagues and clients again and return to a more familiar landscape. So, what happens then?

Lessons from lockdown

It’s fair to say that everybody’s perspective will have shifted after living through a global pandemic. We simply don’t know what the world will look like, but we know we’ll have to adapt. When everyone can be in the same room again, it’s important that everyone’s experiences are shared and the lessons learned shape the future of the business. This can be a real opportunity to do things differently and better and help rebuild your culture.

Keep the conversation going

People and culture are such an important part of any business and it’s imperative that leaders are honest and authentic in the way they communicate with their people. Especially when decisions are being made quickly and with less consultation. The current circumstances can negatively impact and dilute even the strongest cultures. People will feel disconnected and isolated and it’s everyone’s responsibility to mitigate this through keeping the conversation going, so after lockdown we can bring a sense of normality back.

This disconnection can extend to current clients. Make it a priority to pick up the phone to have a real conversation. It’s not business as usual at the moment but simply acknowledge that and check in to see how it’s all going – it helps maintain relationships and will be appreciated.

Take advantage of headspace

For those businesses that are experiencing a slowdown in sales, now is the time to take that valuable commodity so often in short supply… headspace. When you’re running at 100mph and are consumed with the fast-paced day-to-day, there are strategic projects that never get the attention they deserve. This is a chance for leaders to be creative and interrogate their processes, be honest about what works and what needs to change.

Work on your pipeline

Nobody knows how the coming weeks and months will unfold. When business is fully operational again and markets open, there is likely to be an element of desperation with everyone clamouring to make sales. Those who’ve strategically prospected and nurtured their contacts and worked on developing relationships will be best placed to sell. There’s lots of groundwork that can be done now, and it’s a truly valuable time investment for your business’ future.

Check out our video where Owen Richards, MD of Air Marketing, and Richard Forrest, MD of Forrest Marketing Group, discuss what businesses can do to prepare for when the market begins to pick up.

Air Marketing are the leading outsourced sales agency in the UK. We design and deliver sales services to deliver the best conversion rates for our clients. To hear more about how we can help your business grow, get in touch today or call us on 0345 241 3038.

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

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

Never underestimate the power of a conversation 

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

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

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

Don’t limit your customer base

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

Traditional sales prospecting can work brilliantly with complementary technologies

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

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

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

What Should You Look For in An Outsourced Partner?

The 7 questions you need to ask.  

Choosing an outsourced partner to handle your lead generation and telemarketing activity is more than a transaction; it’s a trust exercise and a leap of faith. It’s hard to know if you’re making the right decision and like in any tender process where you’re planning a large investment, you’re likely to see a veritable beauty parade of suppliers promising to change how you define success. How do you know if their claims are genuineResearch shows that just 53% of supplier collaborations are successful (Forbes, 2017).  What should you be looking for when choosing a supplier to support you with such fundamental elements of your brand and sales strategy?

 

1.Do you trust them to guide your decision-making?

Trust is vital in any partnership, especially one where the expertise you’re buying is vital to your future success. There is arguably a low point of entry for setting up a telemarketing agency. Good agencies will offer genuine expertise and work with you to develop a strategy that considers every element of your brief and the challenges in your market. They will be a sounding board offering advice and guidance throughout the life of a campaign, working with you to continuously improve results.  

 

2.Do they understand your business? 

A provider that’s committed to understanding your business, from your daily operations to your grandest aspirations, has the best shot of being able to deliver genuine results and act as a true extension of your team. They should be experts in lead generation but value your insight and knowledge of your own business and the market you operate in – a partner with a collaborative approach is more invested in your success.  

 

3.Can they represent your brand the way you want?

If you’re one of the 31% of businesses outsourcing to improve service quality (Deloitte, 2016), a provider that not only understands your business but also can articulate your messages as well as you can, is essential.  Their agents will have much more meaningful and engaging conversations with prospective clients. You can rest assured that your brand awareness is growing in a way that reflects your values.  

 

4.Who’s making the calls? 

Any business can put forward a slick presentation and a confident sales pitch, you need to look beyond this to the people who will be working on your campaigns and calling on your behalf. Transparency is king, if you’re not welcomed with open arms to their offices to meet the team working on your campaign, can you be confident in their expertise and working practices?  

 

5.Are they promising the world?

As much as you might want to believe bold, world changing claims. The old adage is fitting, if it sounds good to be true, it probably is. A much better sign is a partner that talks in realistic and achievable terms and will work with you to create a programme with every chance of success.  

 

6.Is their pricing model too reductive?

Price is important but don’t be taken in by convoluted cost models, that promise to deliver fantastic value for large volumes, ultimately poorly delivered work reflects poorly on your business, and is not worth the investment, even if it seems like a great deal. Working with a supplier that can deliver the quality you want is a far better guide.  

 

7.What do their customers say? 

Investigate their case studies and testimonials; enquire about what they’ve delivered for other customers. Long-running customer relationships that have extended from an initial project are a positive sign, satisfied customers speak volumes.  

Check out our video where Owen Richards, MD of Air Marketing and Richard Forrest, MD of Forrest Marketing Group, dive deeper into the challenges of outsourcing:   

 

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

The benefits of multilingual selling

Local connections for global success 

In a global marketplace, only selling in English will genuinely limit the effectiveness of your sales strategy. If your business is serious about expanding into new territories, then it’s time to move away from a one-language fits all approach. It’s true that native English speaking businesses have been slow to grasp this opportunity, from assumptions that most globally operating businesses are willing to deal in English, to not translating their website. Some of the world’s leading brands have failed to adapt their marketing materials and sales approach to make sense across borders and cultures. Here’s why they’re missing a trick: 

Germany and the Netherlands are the second and third largest export markets for UK goods and services (next to the USA). France and Belgium follow on place 4 and 7. Senior decision makers within large companies in European countries may have an excellent command of English. In smaller businesses outside of major cities it’s far more likely that people will be much more comfortable dealing in their native tongue. Especially in Latin countries like France and Spain for example, there remains a strong emphasis on using the French and Spanish language, demonstrating a willingness to deal in their language engenders a spirit of trust, professionalism and serves as a mark of respect for their culture.   

 

Getting past the gatekeeper 

When it comes to understanding accents and idioms, native speakers will always have the edge. By removing the language barrier, conversation can flow freely. A native speaker can much better convey the benefits of your product or service, and ultimately better gauge the success of the call, resulting in more meaningful conversationsand leading to higher conversion rates.  

 

Building trust and opportunities  

The multilingual debate extends to online presence. Research shows that over half of people prefer buying in their own language; and the days of English language websites dominating the web are over.  70% of people willonly make an important buying decision if product specs are in their native language (Common Sense Advisory survey); this strengthens the case for multilingual selling. The customer experience is more important than ever today. If you approach a prospect taking into account the nuances of the local market, you can build trust between seller and client, leading to greater opportunities in previously untapped markets.  

 

Why Air? 

We’re experienced in delivering multilingual campaigns. For our English-speaking clients we can open access into foreign markets, ensuring your brand is communicated effectively through using native speaking, lead generation experts. You will deal with an English-speaking account manager who will work with you closely to understand your aims and goals for the campaign. We can seamlessly blend multilingual marketing into a wider outbound sales strategy; you have the ease of dealing with a single supplier, supporting your expansion into new markets.  

We only use native speakers, so our agents always sound authentic when talking to prospects; all of our agents are skilled in selling over the phone and making every customer touch-point count.  

If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you raise your profile in new territories and target prospects globally with messages that resonate locally, get in touch with our multilingual lead Wouter Vanaelst todaydirectly on 01392 575282 or complete our contact form here 

What should stop you outsourcing your lead generation?

There are so many powerful arguments for outsourcing lead generation. It gives you back time and frees you up to concentrate on more strategic projects while safe in the knowledge that you can rely on a consistent and quality supply of leads. What’s not to like?

So when is outsourcing not the right decision?

The value of your product

It comes down to the value of your product. A good barometer is if your sales value is below the £5,000 mark (one off sale or annualised if you’re selling a monthly subscription model) then outsourced lead generation might not deliver the results you’re looking for. A good lead generation company is able to guide you on this and let you know the potential return on investment (ROI) they can deliver for your project.

Be realistic

Lead generation can deliver incredible results but it’s important to have realistic expectations at the outset. It’s not a magic bullet that can expertly cut through your sales cycle; the expertise is derived from the skill of the agent’s approach and their commitment to achieving results for your business. If it were easy, you’d simply expand your team and see immediate results.

It takes time

Lead generation campaigns need time to gain momentum, taking up to 6 months to prove their ROI. In the same way you wouldn’t expect a new employee to deliver sales on day one or even month 1, you cannot expect to see immediate results from a very limited trial or a very short campaign. It simply won’t be a meaningful reflection of what could be achieved with the proper time and investment in the project.

The foundations for partnership

Lead generation companies worth their salt will want to build a partnership and collaborate closely with you so they can learn how your business operates. Nobody knows your business and products better than you, so communicating your advice and experience is vital to success. Remember, they are experts in their field but they’re not experts in your business processes, so they will need time and support to get things right for you. This requires access, regular meetings and a level of involvement with your in-house team.  Things don’t always go to plan, it’s important to be able to have an honest and open conversation with your supplier. Work with them to find solutions and spend some time listening to their agents making calls. If a supplier isn’t prepared to let you listen to calls, or see how they train their agents, take them off your list at the supplier selection stage. The relationship works both ways and they need to be transparent about their processes to ensure your partnership thrives.

You have a different sales model

All businesses have quirks that are unique to them. If most of your sales come from referrals and you’ve experienced organic growth as a result, then it’s important to understand that leads generated from cold calls will have a much lower conversion rate, typically between 5% and 30% (dependent on product, price and relevance to the customer).

Know your numbers so you can set expectations

It is important to start outsourced lead generation programme with a clear understanding of what to expect.

Check out our video where Owen Richards, MD of Air Marketing and Richard Forrest, MD of Forrest Marketing Group in Australia, dive deeper into the topic discussing the impact of pricing models and perceptions of supplier collaboration on the success of lead generation initiatives.

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

Ask The MD: What Should You Look For In An Outsourced Partner?

In the second instalment of our ‘Ask The MD’ series we ask the question ‘what should you look for in an outsourced partner?’. Find out the answer in this video featuring our Managing Director, Owen Richards, and sister company Forrest Marketing Group‘s Managing Director, Richard Forrest.

Outsourced vendor VS. outsourced partner

Outsourcing has become commonplace in businesses. If you do not have the capacity or resource in-house, then you are likely to look outside of your business for a solution. Whether that is to help you with your finances, your recruitment, you may need consultancy to help change management or operational changes or you’re looking to grow and need help with business development – which is where we help!

The term outsourcing is often used for any external business that you choose to engage with. But there is a very big difference between an outsourced vendor and an outsourced partner.

An outsourced vendor provides a service for an agreed fee. For that fee it is agreed what will be delivered and the vendor will ensure that it is delivered within the agreed timescale, to the agreed spec, for the agreed price. Whereas on the other hand, an outsourced partner will provide a service for an agreed fee, but this will go beyond simple briefing, fulfilment and delivery.

An outsourced partner works with you and has an interest in the company as a whole. A partner is interested in your business goals, objectives, the reasons behind why you are outsourcing and what can really be done to help you fulfil your requirements. You may approach a partner with a requirement and an idea of ‘how you feel it should be fulfilled’. However, a partner is likely to be the expert in what is required (hence why you are approaching them) and by partnering with them they will share their expertise and intelligence to guide your thinking. The right partner will not be motivated by the money they can make from your partnership, instead they will be focused on what they can do to help you grow your business as one team together.

It is very easy to work with an outsourced vendor on a one-off project to fulfil a requirement. However, a partnership is likely to be much more long term. Business culture, values and outlook become more important when establishing a long-term partnership. Working as one team with a like-minded partner will make the whole experience smoother and much more effective.

So, when you are next considering outsourcing a project or business requirement, stop and think. Are you looking for an outsourced partner to deliver more? Sourcing this partner could potentially make a far more positive impact to your business that you may expect.

Opinion piece by Shaun Weston, Account Director, Air Marketing Group.