Boost Business Trips to Fuel Growth, Says UK Sales Force

Concur study reveals that four fifths of sales executives believe increasing the number of business trips will help sales

LONDON, UK, 01 May 2013 - According to a study conducted by the leading travel and expense company Concur, more than four out of five  sales executives in the UK (85  per cent) admit that the tough economic climate in Europe has prompted their company to take a more circumspect approach to travelling on business and entertaining clients and prospects. Four fifths (86 per cent ) also believe that increasing the number of business trips to meet with potential new customers would allow them to increase their sales.

The study reveals the power of a good old fashioned meal in a restaurant, with over a third (37 per cent) of UK sales executives agreeing that breakfast, lunch or dinner out with a prospect has the biggest impact on landing a sale. Drinks in a bar (15 per cent) and tickets to a sporting event (13 per cent) were identified as the second and third most effective ways of unlocking a potential sale.

Isabel Montesdeoca, General Manager and Senior Vice President for Concur in Europe comments: “In the current economic climate companies often hold back on face-to-face engagements with clients or prospects, and travel and expense spending as a whole, because it can be difficult to predict or manage. However, it’s clear that for the UK sales force investment in business trips and entertainment really do pay off. Companies need to consider using automated systems, like Concur, so they have the visibility and control to venture out with confidence.”

The data shows that over three quarters (78 per cent) of UK salespeople are currently subject to restrictions on the amount of money they are allowed to spend when travelling on business. In the vast majority of cases (62 per cent) formal restrictions are written into a contract or company charter. However, over half (52 per cent) believe that greater freedom and autonomy on where and how to spend their T&E budget would lead to a ‘significant’ improvement in their performance.

Montesdeoca continues: “There is no question that meeting a prospective customer face-to-face is essential to building a relationship. In fact, 98 per cent of UK sales executives call it vital. In a tough economy however, all companies must ensure they are spending their money wisely. Luckily, automated travel and expense management solutions on the market today allow organisations to put in place standard policy guidelines for every day spend and also – with the click of a button – grant exceptions to their policy under certain circumstances, so a strategically smart business trip can take place.”

Another important statistic highlighted in the study is the lack of data capture that takes place following a business trip or client engagement. Over a third (41 per cent) of those polled did not keep a complete record of the impact their trips have on driving sales. With every penny under the microscope, it is surprising to see the relaxed attitudes sales teams have towards capturing the outcome of time spent with a potential customer.

When it comes to capturing the output of a business trip, expense management tools can provide a completely accurate record of company spend against a particular opportunity. This allows business leaders to identify where the company cash is being spent, linking it back to deals closed and revenue flowing into the organisation,” concludes Montesdeoca.

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