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Hi John,

Our company will be going through a re-organization later
this fiscal year. As part of that process we will be shifting
more sales and presales staff to a purely inside, virtual,
interaction with our customers. Although I understand the
financial and coverage benefits I’m not so sure it will help
our pipeline and closure rates.

Do you have any data about the relative success rates of
physical versus virtual sales calls? Common sense says
that physical always beats virtual, yet we cannot find any
data to support that.

Dilbert - Central Region - USA
Hello Dilbert,

Thanks for the question. I fully understand the use of an
assumed name given that you are questioning the strategic
direction of your company. As an editorial aside it’s
interesting that your company is taking a different path than
most. Usually the progression is from a pure inside
organization to one that is at least partially field-based –
mainly to respond to competitive pressures and satisfy the
larger enterprise (or strategic) accounts.

I do have some qualitative data to share with you.  This is
data collected during 2013/2014 by a smaller (less than
$250m USD) software company with one primary product and
a set of add-on modules. They measured success rates in
progressing deals through the sales cycle to a WIN
according to a number of factors – one of which was
Physical vs Virtual interaction.

In order to make this a true comparison they removed those
deals that were either too small (obviously virtual) and too
large (obviously physical) and focused on deals in the
middle and within 2 standard deviations of Average
Transaction Size. Here is a summary of the results (as
measured and tracked by the SE team as opposed to sales)

They noted several things about this data:

  1. Physical win rate ALWAYS exceeded virtual.
  2. The deeper in the sales cycle you progress, the larger
    the difference.
  3. Physical advantage maxed out around 13%
  4. The delta was assigned to one particular competitor
    who was relentlessly physical later in the sales cycle
    and to Do Nothing when early in the sales cycle.
  5. The additional revenue generated more than offset
    the travel costs of the physical calls.

There is obviously a lot more to the subject than this – but it
is a good starting point for you.

Good luck with the transition.
Sales Cycle Stage
Virtual Win
Physical Win Rate
Delta P-V (%)
Unqualified First Call
Qualified First Call
Custom Demo
POC / Evaluation