Owen Richards: Boosting Business Development through Customer Centric Offering

In marketing, potential buyers are not only convinced with hyper marketing, but also observe the hard work that an organisation puts into customer service. Understanding the true power of customer service and vigorous competition in telemarketing Owen Richards, Managing Director at Air Marketing Group is displaying the outstanding leadership through innovative and proven business development strategies.

Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Owen and Insights Success:

Give a brief overview of your background and your role in Air Marketing Group. 

I began my sales career in 2007 when I joined Forrest Marketing Group in Australia. I stayed with that organisation for 8 years building my way from a Telesales Executive to the Head of Sales & Operations. In 2016, I started Air Marketing Group in the UK, having moved home to start a family. In our first 3 years Air has grown to a team of more than 60 people and has made its mark as one of the leading outsourced sales and marketing organisations in the UK. As a result of the success, we now have two more organisations launching alongside Air. As Managing Director, I spend much of my time working strategically on our business as well as leading the senior management team who inspire our wider team every day.

How do you diversify your solutions that appeal to your target audience? 

Transparency plays a huge part; every phone call made on behalf of our clients is recorded and is accessible, we offer reporting in live time on all our activity and we welcome our clients into our office to meet and work with their team directly. We use data in an intelligent way to learn from our activity and maximise the efficiency of each of our clients’ programmes. We automate processes to increase productivity and we integrate direct sales with a digital marketing approach. However, the quality of people within our team is always our biggest attribute, and the culture that is driven from within. The people in Team Air are ultimately what sets us apart and this is what I am most proud of. And these are just some of the reasons our clients tell us that our services deliver such a great ROI (£18 revenue for every £1 invested last year.)

Describe some of the vital attributes that every leader should possess. 

For me, leaders need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, comfortable with change and comfortable with being vulnerable. All too often I meet business leaders who are afraid of being wrong, who are afraid of showing their emotions, or whose emotions drive everything they do (especially when under pressure). The best leaders I’ve met and have had the pleasure of working with are those who I knew as a real person. They are those whose faults I was aware of and took the time to praise and constructively criticise in an open and honest way. They have always been the people to drive, encourage and welcome change. And the best leaders are those who are prepared to make mistakes openly and accept the learnings that come.

What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that shaped your journey? 

Like everyone there are far too many to mention. However, some do always stand out. In 2016, when Air was only 6 months old as an organisation, we won a contract with a large financial organisation which meant that we had to hire 20 people within the space of around a month. Now, at that time we only had around 15 employees, so this meant more than doubling our team almost overnight. That month seemed to be, at the time, one of the worst months of my career. However, looking back on it now it was one of the best and it was certainly the month in which I learnt the most. In Australia, my business partner and I grew the business from around 10 people, when I started in 2007, to over 100 people over the space of 8 years. The biggest lessons that stick with me today and that I continue to repeat to others are:

Say yes and find a way– do not be scared of new opportunities, even if you don’t know how you’re going to make them work just yet.

Culture is key– within any business driven by people, your culture will make or break you.

Hire people who are better than you – you can’t be the best at everything so recognise your faults and hire people who have strengths in those areas.

Let people do their job– micromanagement is the single worst thing within business leaders.

Drive change, encourage change and welcome change things will change, whether you like it or not, so why not embrace it?

Where does Air Marketing Group see itself in the near future and how will you catalyse the change? 

We intend on continued, aggressive growth. My role in that is simple; I must empower others to drive that change, help them to feel a sense of ownership and pride in the organisation and ensure that they are rewarded accordingly, because one person cannot do it all.

What is your advice for the emerging leaders? 

There is so much but it goes without saying that you must work hard. Many have forgotten that! But for me, one of the most impressive traits in an emerging leader, even more so in the market we work in today, is loyalty. If you work only for the reward that might come today, you may suffer from short-sightedness. However, if you can remain focused on tomorrow’s rewards, my experience is that it will always pay off.

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