Sales over the phone expected to jump 40%

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are anticipating an influx of sales over the phone during the Christmas period, new research has found.

A survey by call-tracking software provider Mediahawk has revealed that more than a third of SMEs expected sales over the phone to increase by 40 per cent over the holidays.

A further fifth said they expected telephone sales to grow by 50 per cent.

It suggested that many consumers still preferred to make transactions over the phone, despite the rise of e-commerce, Mediahawk claimed.

Businesses were also found to be investing in order to push these sales, with 70 per cent of SMEs focusing their marketing spend on social media channels in order to drive purchases made over the phone.

In 2016, social media was prioritised over other marketing channels, including TV, radio, direct mail, print advertising, search engine marketing (SEM) and e-mail marketing.

This could be due to telesales driven by social media, allowing for a more immediate and measurable return on investment, it claimed, as well as a more level playing field compared with other traditional marketing methods.

Retailers and e-commerce businesses (32 per cent) were found to be using social media the most.

However, 30 per cent of firms said they used at least four channels to market their business over the Christmas period, with 34 per cent using traditional media like print, radio, TV and direct mail at this time of year.

Mediahawk chief executive Michael Morrell said: “The survey results go to show that not all Christmas shopping is carried out online. The telephone is equally, if not more, important as a sales channel as any other medium. With marketing budgets being pumped into getting Christmas sales, it’s imperative for SMEs, especially those with tight margins, to know which marketing has driven sales.

“Throughout the year, businesses use a multitude of channels to build exposure and drive sales. Attributing their sales calls to marketing activities enables businesses to manage their budgets better all year round – not just at Christmas time”.