In a tough economy it’s tempting to ground your sales teams and make significant cutbacks on face-to-face engagements with clients or prospects. Business travel budgets are tight and you may find it difficult to predict whether travelling to meet prospects will help your sales figures. So why should you support business travel in your organisation?
A ‘Trust in Growth’ study conducted by Vanson Bourne, on behalf of Concur, found that business travel is vital to help your company grow, especially in times of austerity. Here is what sales executives, who participated in the study, had to say:
- 98% believe that face-to-face contact is vital to building a relationship with a prospective customer
- 86% agreed that increasing the number of business trips to meet with potential new customers would allow them to do their job ‘significantly better’
- 52% believe that greater freedom and autonomy on where and how to spend their business travel and expense budget would lead to a ‘significant’ improvement in their performance
- Traditional business entertainment is still the most effective way to unlock a potential sale
- 37% said that breakfast, lunch or dinner out with a prospect has the biggest impact on landing a sale
- 15% said drinks in a bar has the biggest impact on landing a sale
- 13% said tickets to a sporting event has the biggest impact on landing a sale
The ‘Trust in Growth’ study reveals that having sales teams out on the road is good for business; the importance of building relationships with a prospective or existing customer cannot be overstated. Although telephone calls and emails will suffice, there is no substitute for face time. Its face time – particularly over a delicious meal - that breeds familiarity, promotes understanding, builds trust and ultimately closes the deal.
However, in a tough economy it’s important to spend your business travel budgets wisely, and be held accountable for spend to prove the investment worthwhile. The study found that only 40% of sales executives polled kept a complete record of the impact their trips have on driving sales, so to use business travel as a strategy for growth, it is vital that the ‘science’ is in play to show the return-on-investment. This means using an automated travel and expense system that provides robust data capture, measurement and analysis, so business leaders can identify where the company cash is being spent, linking it back to deals closed and revenue flowing into the organisation.
To find out more on how business travel can help to grow your company read the findings from the study.
Featured image courtesy of: Images_of_Money