Motivation

Motivation

You have achieved your monthly, quarterly or year-end goals, everything is going remarkably well, then you ask yourself, how do I achieve this time and time again? But more importantly, WHY? Why do I want to continue to achieve, what drives me?

I couldn’t imagine anything worse than waking up every morning, 5 snooze buttons deep thinking, ‘oh great, I have to go to work and its only Tuesday’. Keeping yourself motivated is one thing, but when it comes to leading a team and delivering as a business area motivation is one of the fundamental drivers for success. So, how do you keep yourself and more importantly your team motivated?

Knowing your team

When I first joined Advance TM Group, I looked at my new team and wanted to get to know everyone before assuming I knew how to manage and work with them effectively. I looked to understand their individual strengths, weaknesses, who they are as a person and more importantly the drivers behind why they do what they do.

 

How do you bring out the best in your team?

Knowing someone well enough to understand what motivates them is one thing, now implement it! It was my responsibility to create personal development plans for our team. Now granted PDP’s all look a little similar at the start, but when you get to know someone it’s so important to use the information you have. It’s too easy to “revert to type” and tar everyone with the, they’ll love money brush. It’s called a “personal development plan” for a reason, make it personal, make it fit them, make it something they’re motivated to achieve against.

There is nothing worse than trying to bring out the best in a person but giving them a goal that they have no interest in achieving.

Think of this analogy, you have a football team, a team full of individual skill and talent but you don’t know the players motivation. It would be pointless motivating a striker against a clean sheet, how could they possibly control this? And if they tried to, then you would have a great goal scorer dropping back. Granted you may keep that clean sheet, but you’re not likely to score either! This is the same within an office team, knowing your team and their motivation will ensure you get results and achieve targets.

 

What keeps me going?

For me, my motivation comes from working with, looking after and training a team. There is nothing more rewarding than giving someone the confidence, belief and knowledge to do an amazing job, watching them make it their own and then motivating them to continually achieve and improve.

By keeping myself and our team motivated. By working together and maintaining the desire to consistently achieve we’re able to deliver amazing results for our clients, deliver against company targets and enjoy ourselves whilst we do it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Rich Bowden

Advance TM Group Team Leader

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The power of outsourced lead generation and telemarketing

The power of outsourced lead generation and telemarketing

Firstly thank you for taking the time to read this article as the age old saying goes time is money!

Why did we do this?

So you have had your latest sales meeting and it has been discussed that your sales team need more opportunities & face to face meetings. Whether it’s with specifiers, main / sub-contractors or end users, getting time in front of key decision makers is a fundamental requirement for your business, its future and its strategic long-term goals. This is not an uncommon dilemma that companies come up against within the construction sector and built environment, in fact we hear this all the time.

It is vital for every business to proactively promote their brand by raising awareness, driving demand and educating their customers, continuously creating new opportunities.

Having a dedicated sales team is an essential part to achieving this, however you have to ask yourself where do your sales teams’ skills lie?

Question?

Did you & your company advertise, recruit and train your sales team in order for them to spend exhaustive hours researching opportunities, trawling through endless reams of data and countless hours on the phone attempting to create leads? Most likely they are receiving significant salaries, in exchange you expect them to be closing key deals.

Therefore, setting lines of demarcation between lead generation and field sales and providing your sales team with cohesive support is vital for your business to grow. Let your sales people sell, they know your business & your products better than most, their skills lie in closing sales from face to face meetings.

So what’s the solution?

Option 1: Carry on as normal

Sit on your hands; turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to legitimate complaints from your beleaguered sales team that they don’t have the time. But let’s face it; if you are a professional operation, to remain stagnant is a sure fire way for failure, in this competitive industry you can be sure that the competition will not be choosing this option.

Option 2: Recruit internal Lead Generators / Telemarketers

Undoubtedly this will alleviate some pressure on your sales team and eventually create some leads. However, between the recruitment process and agency fees, it can prove both time-consuming and expensive. The person/people you hire will inevitably have to undergo some form of training and will take time to learn the processes and culture of your workplace. What’s more, they will need to be managed. Structures such as a comprehensive call management systems will have to put in place to evaluate and analyse their performance. The list goes on;

  • Contingency plans for when an employee is sick or on annual leave
  • What if they quit unexpectedly
  • What if they want promotion and no longer want to be on the phone
  • What if there was a more straight forward plan?

Option 3: The Power of Outsourcing

Traditionally most medium or large organisations have little to no problem with outsourcing certain elements of their day to day operations to specialist companies or agencies. This should be seen as an investment in the services of dedicated professionals that have in-depth industry knowledge and a track record of delivering high quality results.

However despite this, when it comes to elements of lead generation, telemarketing & business development, there is often internal resistance to outsourcing this aspect of the business. Whether it is from sales teams feeling threatened or from marketing or sales directors wanting to keep it “in house”. Outsourced lead generation should be looked at no differently, it is dedicated specialists helping deliver growth within existing sales strategies. Under the right circumstances, this is a very effective option.

Choosing the right partner

There are a multitude of B2B telemarketing agencies that can provide outsourced support for your lead generation efforts; How do you identify the one that is right for your business?

Hiring a generic B2B telemarketing agency has no guarantee of success. In fact, it may even be counterproductive. This is especially true if they have been trained in the regressive, out-dated philosophy such as Always Be Closing (ABC) or rely heavily on following generic scripts.

Probably the most vital consideration and most significant deterrent to employing the services of a generic B2B telemarketing agency is the inherent lack of specialised industry knowledge.

Every sector operates in a nuanced manner that may not be obvious or rational to those on the outside and this is especially true within the construction industry. Generic B2B telemarketers will not understand the subtleties of the industry;

  • Who the decision makers are
  • What are the drivers behind making certain decisions
  • What the route to market is for the products, stages, sub-sector or given situation

These variables are not static; they constantly shift depending on the context of the project, company and sub-sector. For example, it is worthless securing an appointment with a main contractor if the final decision lies with the architect.

What is required, is genuine market intelligence, knowledge / understanding and a want to listen to the clients, YOU.

This is where the merit of hiring a strategic, intelligent, industry-specific lead generator / telemarketing partner lies. You are not hiring someone to endlessly bash phones with no insight and they are not starting at ‘ground zero’ when it comes to understanding the markets you operate in. Rather, you are investing in vast expertise, consultancy on routes to market, valuable data and resources that cannot be replicated by generic telemarketers.

Why choose Advance?

Advance TM Group are the chosen partner for many companies within the construction sector and built environment, we have dedicated teams with an in depth understanding and years of experience scheduling high quality appointments day in day out. The simple fact of the matter is if we do not produce a return on investment our clients won’t continue to use our services, however we build long lasting relationships because we deliver on our commitments.

Once again thank you for your time, if this article has been useful and of relevance to you and your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you wish to discuss this in more detail, contact our office on 0151 357 2166.

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Why Outsourcing Works

Why Outsourcing works

Outsourcing is fantastic! A very “straight to the point” way to start a blog I know, but it is! Let me explain why…

I have been fortunate enough to Co-found Advance TM Group, this has been one of the more difficult, yet rewarding decisions I have ever made. Venturing into the unknown of a Directorship, risking everything on the belief that my Business Partner and I could create a company that would not only survive, but that could grow enough to not only sustain our livelihoods, but those of future colleagues, bringing together the best parts of our previous professional experiences.

Could we have done that using only our combined knowledge and skill sets? I’m happy to say we didn’t have to find out. We quickly outsourced areas of work to experts in their fields; Accountants, Solicitors, HR Advisors, Website designers and IT Support.

Why did we do this?

Well firstly because we couldn’t facilitate the above ourselves to level required of our business, difficult to admit but it was unrealistic to think 2 people would be experts in all the above fields and more. Out sourcing has allowed my business partner and I to focus on what we’re great at, growing our business and building an exceptional team, knowing that the equally important and essential above areas of our business are being facilitated by industry experts.

Secondly, because it is extremely cost efficient, each area we outsource doesn’t form enough work to create a full time or even part time job. Outsourcing has enabled us to pay for exactly what we need, when we need it. Even as we grow to a company of 13 strong we continue to outsource a wide range of projects and business areas.

Thirdly, because we offer an outsourced service ourselves, in the form of “Lead Generation, Telemarketing & Business Development to Suppliers, Manufacturers and Service providers within the construction industry and built environment. We have seen first-hand the benefits of outsourcing to our business and the Return on Investment our services yields for our clients.

So again, outsourcing is fantastic! We keep our overheads down, have our needs met and exceeded by industry experts and we can focus our efforts more on our stellar team and our happy clients. Let our experts help facilitate your growth.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, if this is something you would like to discuss in more detail please feel free to contact me on 0151 357 2166 or 0797 283 2719, alternatively drop me an email on simon@advance-tm.co.uk.

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The importance of a great team

The importance of a great team

Throughout my professional career I have always understood the importance of good team work and the value of the people that make the team. People are fundamental to the success of any organisation. Having always been part of an existing company with a different set of beliefs, it has been difficult to implement this ethos, however obviously important and crucial it appears.

When Simon and I embarked on our adventure over 18 months ago, we knew it wouldn’t be easy and that there would be trials and tribulations along the way. We knew we wanted to create something better – something that put our team at the heart of what we do. Something that amalgamated all our experiences; good, bad, or indifferent, from leadership and past employee’s alike. This was even the case before we had a team. It was a bit of an ongoing joke between Simon and myself, I remember seeing Simon researching the requirements to become ‘Investors in people’ before we had people to invest in! I loved the enthusiasm of the idea even if it was a little premature.

We carry these thoughts into every decision we make, considering the repercussions to the team and how this may affect our business and our long-term strategies. Ultimately, if we don’t have a team then we won’t retain the clients and therefore we no longer have a business! I am sure we can all draw on bad experiences with previous employers or companies. A memory that stands out for me, one I will never forget hearing the words “Mike, everyone is replaceable, ultimately they are all just a bum on a seat”. When I first heard this, I was shocked at how little my employer valued his team, then the realisation hit – that included me too, with all of us having been fundamental to the success and quadrupling his turnover, this left a lasting impression of him with me.

That’s why here at Advance TM Group we believe in treating all our colleagues with;

  • Respect
  • Appreciation
  • Value
  • Empathy
  • Inclusivity
  • Fairness
The first picture my wife bought me for the office was that of a Richard Branson quote – something we have adopted as a mantra;

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”.

Richard Branson

This is so true. At Advance we have very loyal clients, and this is purely down to the equally loyal team we have working with us every single day. The sooner employers realise that great people are hard to come by and are not easily replaceable, the better their business will become.

Moving forward Simon and I will constantly be looking for ways to improve our business for everyone we’re lucky enough to work with, never becoming satisfied or complacent employers – this is what will keep our business growing from strength to strength and hopefully make us a great company to be a part of.

I would like to dedicate this blog to the team of Advance TM Group, well done and thank you.

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What a year!

What a year!

What a 2017, our first full calendar year here at Advance. So, what have we been up to this year?

Well, firstly, we found our feet! We began the year having incorporated 9 months earlier in April of 2016. There was 6 of us, Myself, Mike Whitfield and a team of 4, all of us with some pretty ambitious plans. Focusing inwards, on our values, team and services we worked together to deliver an unequalled service with our values at the core!

With all this in place, we grew… rapidly! Seemingly every meeting being a huge success, we needed more space, we needed a bigger team. So, we moved! Possibly the biggest step for Advance at the time, we committed to our future and grew into our new space.

Now with a 13 strong stellar team with each and every one of us pulling in the same direction, I can’t wait to see what we achieve in 2018! But before we get too far ahead of ourselves I want to take this opportunity to mention a few notable positives throughout the year.

Starting with a personal high for myself, I GOT ENGAGED! So I need to start working a little harder to be able to afford the wedding.

Back to work, as mentioned above we moved office and doubled the size our team. Though not only have we doubled in team size, we have also more than doubled our number of clients!

We have implemented a number of benefits which hopefully goes someway to making Advance a great place to work, in addition to every team member being treated with the upmost respect and the mandatory work place pension we have introduced;

  • Team days/nights out
  • Work based incentives
  • Perkbox reward schemes
  • Free lunches
  • Charity events and contribution

I couldn’t possibly list each and every achievement for our entire team, I would need 2 pages of A4 (back to back) per person, suffice to say everyone is amazing at what they do and perform above and beyond each and every day.

To summarise, we’ve grown, we’ve moved… (I’m engaged) and we aren’t slowing down. We’re all very excited and can’t wait to see how we can build on this next year.

Happy 2018 and have a great seasonal break from everyone here at Advance.

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Let’s make 2018 a year to remember

Let's make 2018 a year to remember!

In the west, we have just ushered in the new year for 2018, most of us are back or are due back at work, like it or not this is going to happen!

So, why not make it a year to remember!

Whether you are starting a business, learning new skills, changing job or role or working towards a promotion within your existing company, take that leap of faith and believe in yourself and go for it. How many times have we all said it before “I want to” or “If only”, let’s change them to “I am going to” or “I will”.

It was not but 20 months ago that myself and Simon took that leap of faith starting up our business Advance TM Group, with a positive approach, effective leadership & belief in our own ability to be able to deliver something better than before, we have doubled every aspect of our business year on year. Now we have a fantastic team in place continuing these mindsets using our company core values as their guide;

  • People
  • Quality
  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Respect

Now we move forwards towards achieving our ambitious goals for 2018, these remain realistic and achievable but if we accomplish them, we will truly have an incredible 2018!

Good luck to you all in your own paths, but remember be bold and above all believe.

Mike Whitfield

Managing Director

www.advancetmgroup.co.uk

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The Values of Values

The Values of values

I have been wanting to write a blog with this as its title for a while now and having recently released our new website (www.advancetmgroup.com) which contains our updated values, it seemed like now was as an appropriate time as any.

So, what are our company values?

People – Working collaboratively together, sharing knowledge and experiences to deliver the best solutions.

Quality – Being professional and adopting best practice to meet clients’ highest expectations while achieving the highest possible standings in terms of quality and sustainability.

Integrity – Listening and sharing; building trust and acting with integrity.

Transparency – Treating others with respect; Being clear, open and working with transparency.

Respect –  Encouraging, supporting and understanding others – their ideas, their views and their knowledge.

One of the first things I brought to the table when we first started discussing the idea of Advance TM Group (Advance Telemarketing at the time) was having a strong set of core values to underpin everything we do. Fortunately, this was as equally important to Mike and was embraced with open arms.

Having never previously incorporated or grown a new business I wasn’t sure how much the values would influence Advance at the time or what it would mean further down the line. I just knew I wanted to help create something that was, as much as you can be, different.

Why are values an important thing to look for in a company?

The idea of having values at the heart of a Business is nothing new and there will always be the companies that fall short of the promise behind this. But to understand what is important to the people you work with, why they do what they do and what drives their way of thinking gives you a great insight to what to expect from dealing with them.

It’s only now, almost 2 years down the line we can actually see how important they were and are to us. We’re not just a 3 month old business preaching about wanting to be better or different. We’re an established company that lives and breathes the values that helped make us who we are today. It keeps us fair and honest with our team and clients and means we can offer an exceptional minimum performance guarantee driven by a quality that has become expected of Advance.

The Value of Values.

To me the value of our values came in helping us create a point to reflect back too when making important decision for our company. Provided we made these decisions with Integrity, Transparency and Respect, ensuring the Quality never dropped and we had considered our team our clients and our business (People), we knew we would continue heading in the right direction.

With a number of new business meetings lined up, I can’t wait to deliver this message in every one of them!

Simon Weise

Sales & Marketing Director

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Why are we industry specific?

Why are we industry specific?

I’ve had a number of people ask me the same question now, that’s “why do we only work within one industry?”. Whether it’s during a meeting or a friend showing a polite interest I give the same answer.

Simply put that answer is, because we’re great at it and our focus on Construction is one of our strongest assets.

But I get to look at our results and hear all the feedback from our clients, so thought I’d detail below 1 example of why I’m able to say we’re great at what we do.

Getting the chance

As you can imagine a good number of the companies we meet are currently involved with or using other Lead Generation/Telemarketing providers, usually a “we do everything” provider, picture the most generic call centre you can…. them! Thanks to our expert Business Development manager Mike Dunn (no you can’t have him, he’s ours!) we still get the opportunity to meet with these companies. We’re given the chance to show them how much more they could be getting.

For one client in particular this was identified within the first month.

The Numbers

We began working with a client whom was already involved with a Lead Generation company, we ran a 1 month 10 day trial achieving 100% of our expected results. This was enough for said client to double their days with us to 20 per month for October, November and December. During this 3 month period we returned 82 qualified appointments, all quality opportunities and genuine chances to win work AND 24 enquiries, current projects for our client to price. We move into January now on a total of 154 appointments and enquiries combined to the great news that they are no longer working with “Generic Telemarketer A” and would like to continue working with us moving forward.

This was amazing news, and something I have a number of examples of. Now we work tirelessly to improve on the above.

In conclusion

One of the first things that is apparent in every meeting we’ve sat is the want for the person sitting opposite us to know that we understand their business, their industry, their product/service and their potential clients. Being able to put their mind at rest and join them in a conversation on their level, getting straight into details that matter only comes from an understanding gained over years of dedicating our time to the construction industry.

There will always be a number of options when you look to work with an outsourced Lead Generation and Telemarketing partner, our 2 pence is industry specific is better. Though I suppose you would expect us to say that. Come and give us a try, we’d be happy to prove it!

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2 Years: Looking Back

2 Years: Looking Back

How many times have you heard someone say X amount of start-ups fail within the first year, and X amount more fail within the first 2?

Well, I’d heard it a number of times, this was before I even had any plans to be part of a start-up or to grow a business. It’s amazing how much more your hear it and how much scarier it is to hear when you’re about to quit a stable well paid job to become a first time entrepreneur.

Then the research starts, is this actually true?

Turns out it is very true, statistics show that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs  who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. But why? And if the reasons behind the failure are so commonly known why do they continue to so negatively affect new businesses to the point of failure?

There are a couple of reasons that cropped up across each article and blog I read at the time, these were:

  • Lack of communication with customers/clients.
  • Breakdown in leadership
  • Not really offering anything new or unique
  • Inability to portray benefits and values
  • Failure to establish a profitable business model

All very bad things to experience when you’re creating a business and I agreed with each, I still do. But these weren’t situations that we addressed as reasons we might fail. We communicate with our clients out of a desire to improve and better our service.

Mike and I set out from the start to do things in the right way, we both had a clear and shared vision of where we wanted to end up. Knowing we were both pulling in the same direction even if sometimes we didn’t 100% agree on small parts of how we got there made a breakdown in leadership almost impossible.

As far as offering a unique product or service and being able to portray/sell this, we’re in the business of business development so we had a unfair head start I suppose. Though trying to win work from our first couple of meetings was a daunting prospect. No stories, no comparisons no trading history to back up our claims, just myself and Mike selling ourselves for the first couple of meetings . And without sounding glib, a failure to establish a profitable business model is a reason to not start a business, not a reason you should fail once you have.

This isn’t to say we have skated by for 2 years and arrived at one of our first serious milestones without challenges. Like I said, the above weren’t reasons we thought we would fail but we still had to work through each of them. For us I would say that our first real test was inconsistent payments, this was something we thought may happen and worked on bettering with our clients. It wasn’t too bad whilst it was just Mike and I. It contributed to a couple of months in which neither of us could take a wage, though this was expected and managed. When we had the opportunity to grow however, having the money required to do so on outstanding on invoices well passed their payment date gave us some tough choices. Choices that could have lead us to the edge of a very steep, very slippery slope.

Once we had committed to growing it became a balancing act of building the right team, bringing in new clients and retaining all of our current clients. This was the next challenge, how and when to push on each area. We had only been trading for 5 months at the time we started growing, not nearly enough time to look back and have any sort of usable data we could analyse to help make these decisions. We had a number of options and could have gone really in any direction, though we stuck to our guns and focused on people. We decided that our driving purpose would be to build the best team we could, that we would never say no to the right person. It lead to some amazing interview moments, we could barely get halfway through an interview with someone we knew would be a great fit before one of us would uncontrollably yell professionally ask “Would you like a job?”. Which was fortunately always met with a smile and a “yes”.

There were thousands of decisions to be made during our first 2 years, some of them small, some of them that would help shape our Business. I would say that over all that this decision making has been the area which has been the reason we could have potentially been in difficult situations or came close to being just another statistic of why new companies fail. Sometimes we got lucky, sometimes we made tough decisions that pushed us forward.

It’s funny to look back at decisions that could have gone in such different directions and everything we have learned over 2 years to help us as we look to progress and grow further.

So, what have we learned? How have we changed?

Well for starters we didn’t just survive 2 years, we grew and established ourselves within the Construction specific Lead Generation arena and we now have 2 years’ experience in running and growing a business, 2 years of information we can use to help keep us heading in the right direction. We’re no longer bringing clients onboard with a promise of success, we have 2 years of proof that what we do works, and how we do it isn’t just unique, it’s better!

When we started we may have won some work down to price, might have just been lucky or may have just been likeable (we hope). Now we have clients coming to us, now we win work because our business model is proven and being a value driven company actually means something.

We still never say no to the right person when it comes to building our team, but we’re offering a fair and fun place to work with opportunities to progress as our company grows. We have a training scheme in place that means we can place more value in a cultural fit.

All in all 2 years is still a very short space of time and each time we reach a goal we have set we’re under no illusion that it only gets harder. Still, we’re extremely proud of how far we have come and are looking forward to the next 2 years!

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What strategies are you looking towards to increase your sales for 2019?

What strategies are you looking towards to increase your sales for 2019?

Why Advance?

Advance TM Group are the partners of choice for several companies within the construction and built environment. Whether you are a manufacturer, material / service provider or Main Contractor we have the experience to run a campaign specific to your objectives.

We come highly recommended by our clients due to our quality driven approach, focusing on the Return on Investment for them which is at the forefront of all the campaigns we run. 

Services

  • Appointment Scheduling NEW BUILD SPECIFIER / END USER & REFURBISHMENT – Thanks to our appointment setting experts we aim to book you appointments with the people who matter when the decisions are being made.
  • CPD Booking – Take advantage of our consistently cleansed list of CPD coordinators within hundreds of top Architect practices!
  • Lead / Enquiry Generation live projects – Could you benefit from more opportunities to price for work? Advance account managers are experts when it comes to generating Enquiries for live projects using Barbour ABI or Glenigan data.
  • Market Research – We can carry out specific research for your campaign providing you with valuable information to assist with your decision-making process.
  • Supply Chain and PQQ – Companies often use Preferred Supplier Lists. Here at Advance we can obtain the relevant documents and information for you to return direct to your prospects.
  • Event Support – These can be a great way to engage with large audiences when trying to raise awareness to products.

 

If there are any campaigns you are considering as part of your sales strategy in the coming weeks / months we would welcome the opportunity to meet up to discuss in more detail.

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