I recently stumbled across a nice infographic related to B2B Sales and which channels convert better and it got me thinking about whether (based on the data presented) there are ways to speed up the Sales Process. We all know and love a Sales Funnel but the findings of the research by Implisit (they created the infographic) makes for scary reading.

Apparently it takes 84 days to convert 13% of Leads in to Opportunity. 84 days. That’s almost 3 months if you count the weekends! The next stat also raises an eyebrow – only 6% of those Opportunities actually turn in to a deal. While there is no reference to the other 87% of Leads I’m wondering if they haven’t been included because the 87% get qualified out. If that is the case then you are definitely going to need a stack of Leads to get anywhere.

Implisit’s research also looked at which channel / lead source tend to convert best and there are a few surprises here as well. Customer & Employee Referrals sit top of the pile but Lead Lists, Events and Email Campaigns convert more slowly and in fewer number.

So what does this mean for those of us in Marketing and Sales? Well…it means we need to set things up to focus on the channels that have the shortest conversion time and and with the highest conversion rate. This research suggests Email Campaigns and Lead Lists should be consigned to the “Last Resort” category with very little attention given to them. I think there is a place for these activities but on the understanding and general business acknowledgement that they are slow burners. Your effort and resources shouldn’t be centred on these channels if the returns are minimal so when a Sales Director asks to send out an email campaign to try and generate new Leads he is doing himself a disservice.

Focus on ways to set up a referral program whereby existing Customers and Employees can benefit. Not only is the conversation rate better but there may also be a cost saving (e.g. no spend on lots of advertising). Also look at how you can incorporate Social Media in to your overall strategy and how Sales can leverage Social for both prospecting and conversion of existing leads. What does a Lead look like? Do Marketing and Sales define them differently? Where is the common ground?

Now you may be able to sit there and tell me that this is all rubbish and that your business has been able to map out exactly which channels convert the best as well as the average time to conversion but you are likely to be in the minority. For those of us who have a million things to do at the same time we rarely get the time to sit down and analyse historical data. Hopefully this post and the infographic have made you stop and think for a second and maybe you’ve even made a note to re-assess your marketing activities to try and determine which ones work best. If not…maybe you’ll keep plodding on wondering why you aren’t getting anywhere.

 

Well, we’d like to help by providing a little guide on the cost of conference calling and what may be happening in your business to drive those charges up. We also want to take a moment to offer a few suggestions as to how you can lower those costs.

The starting point is to determine the nature of your business – do you know if the calls made by the business (I’m rounding everyone up here in to one big lump) are mostly internal or mostly external? If they are mostly internal do you have employees regularly travelling to other countries or employees being relocated for new roles / offices?

Answers of “mostly internal” and “yes they move/relocate” generally lead to the following scenario and a severe hike in call charges;

Executive A has been located in France for the past 5 years working on a number of projects. He connects to his internal calls via a local French number – one that he’s been able to memorise over time. He sees a new internal role being promoted in Poland and applies. He’s successful and moves to the Polish office to start work. As he gets set up in the new Polish office he is provided with a new mobile phone and new Polish number.

The following week he is required to join an internal team call with his new sub-ordinates. He uses his new Polish mobile and automatically dials the number he has had memorised for years – the number in France! This means he is making an international call from Poland to France to connect to an internal team call.

We’ve seen that the above scenario is far too common and means call charges are being unnecessarily inflated because employees are connecting via the numbers they can remember rather than the numbers that are most relevant (cheapest).

Just imagine this call from Poland to France costs £0.50 per minute (for ease of maths) and Executive A has 1 internal team call per week for 30 minutes. That’s £15 per week or £780 for the year due to a single weekly call. Now imagine 10 Executives doing exactly the same thing. Now see where your call charges may be coming from?

So what can you do to reduce these charges – there are two things you can do though we’d argue one is likely to be easier than the other; re-condition your employees to memorise new local numbers and stop being lazy or you could find a solution where they don’t have to dial in at all (or use pins) and the call connection automatically happens by using the number most relevant to that particular Exec.

If you like the idea of option number 2 then we’d encourage you to come and talk to us and let us help you reduce the cost of conference calling while at the same time making life easier for your employees.