Does “Buy Local” apply to B2B sales?

by | Jul 11, 2016 | Business Advice, Communication, Happier Customers, Make More Sales, SMEs

The term ‘Buy Local’ is almost everywhere these days. Usually found stamped on the fresh meats and veggies at your nearest Asda. Opting to purchase the ‘best of British’ beef mince over a pack of imported, has a wide range of benefits such as a lower carbon footprint. The most important benefit is you can usually trace exactly where that meat has come from, even down to the farm’s name in some cases! Wanting to know the specifics of where a product comes from is a growing trend in most areas of commerce, not just in the supermarket aisles.

Buy Local & Sales Calls

We suspected that a major bugbear for most potential customers was receiving calls from generic, non-geographic, dial codes (03, 08, etc.) Or worse – the dreaded anonymous numbers. After all, wouldn’t you prefer to answer calls and do business with (and receive support from) a local, reliable company? As opposed to someone who could be in a random location? Most companies (banks in particular) love to claim they have British call centres, so surely local numbers inspire confidence? Telephone conversations are still the primary medium of sales and new business conversations, with 92% of all customer interactions happening over the phone, according to leading CRM company Sales Force. Out of pure curiosity, we decided to run a Twitter poll to see what the public thought about local numbers and their effect on B2B calls:

Does “Buy Local” apply to B2B sales?

As you can see, the overwhelming majority of people thought the way we did about ‘buying local’ having a positive influence on call answer rates. Inspired by these poll results, we decided to try a little experiment to see if this popular opinion actually works in practice. Some of our team members have a primary focus on outbound B2B sales calls. This made them the perfect guinea pigs. Before the poll, all their outbound calls displayed our non-geographic telephone number that started 03301. From April 21st to May 21st their outbound caller ID was changed to a local Manchester number (starting with 0161). Using the call data from our Telux user portal, we were able to collate and analyse their call logs. The results were surprisingly different to the poll.

The Result

We found that 47.8% of our outbound calls made from the non-geographic 03301 number were answered, versus 52.9% of calls made with the local 0161 number. With just over a 5% change in favour of local numbers, it was clear that the outbound caller ID had a minimal impact on the likelihood of calls being answered. Additionally, the duration of calls only had an increase of 4.23 seconds. Hardly the dramatic increase we expected. It seems we all like the idea of talking to someone local, but in reality it makes very little difference in the world of B2B sales.

Perhaps ‘buying local’ is best saved for the groceries?