Monday 4 February 2019

GUEST BLOG: Smart Travel Expenses: Visibility and the Science of Spending

In the US, approximately $1.3 trillion is spent on business travel annually, but if you were asked exactly how much money you or your business had spent trying to win a customer, would you know? Without visibility of how much you spend on prospects, it’s easy to overspend on customers who might not convert in the long-run, and it’s interesting to see exactly how many barriers there are to visibility across most organisations.

Cloudy Skies

Most companies agree that in order to make money, you first have to spend money. Whether it’s taking prospects for dinner or flying out to visit their offices, organisations usually build up a number of expenses while building relationships with existing and potential customers.

But many businesses find it difficult to track spending when team members compromise budgets by going off-piste and booking travel and hotels via off-platform sites. Companies often have separate systems for travel booking, ticketing and expense management as well, making tracking and reconciling travel spend difficult, with travel managers struggling to plan for the future.

Travel Fatigue

Beyond lack of tracking and disparate systems, many organisations underestimate the cost of booking travel. In our personal lives, we’ve all gone to Expedia (or any travel site) and typed in a destination only to get 200 pages of results, realising after an entire evening that 90% are useless because you won’t get to where you want to go at a time that actually works.

Think about this from a business perspective: how much time and money is that costing the employee in charge of booking travel, who has to go through those results to calculate backwards to see the exact time an employee would have to leave and how long it takes to get to the airport, while also determining the best and most cost-effective way to get to a destination and back?

Too much choice is causing travel fatigue and limited visibility, making the static part of travel expenses much more expensive that we’d assume. 

Maximum Visibility

In these situations, having complete and end-to-end visibility of travel expenses is key. It’s about aligning this visibility with commercial actions and a clear outline of sales team budgets, which should enable managers to calculate ROI and see whether a client is worth the investment.

With this in mind, organisations can draw a line in the sand and decide exactly how much money they are going to spend on a given opportunity or person, and can see how much time and money has already been spent trying to win that business.  If the amount is exceeded, then approval is requested in the very same system that they would normally request a commercial discount in. 

With all of your expenditures laid out, it’s then easy to see illogical spending patterns, with some sales teams spending a large amount on small prospects. In sales, there’s a science to spending, and without it, organisations are at risk of throwing money or time towards unworthy prospects and losing control of their travel and expenses.

Business travel is an important and valuable aspect of organisations around the world, yet most still don’t have the visibility they should over expenses, or struggle to set—and stick to—budgets. This is something that, unfortunately, is only going to get harder with business and budget changes caused by Brexit.

Sales teams and finance departments need the ability to track, budget, and predict travel and expenses, in order to have peace of mind that their expenditure is warranted. In order to have a sales growing and sustainable pipeline that is thriving, not just surviving, we need to be able to apply a science to our spending, and to do this, it’s essential that we remove the obstacles to complete visibility across travel expenses.

This post was written by Eoin Landers, Head of Product and Operations, SalesTrip.To learn more about SalesTrip’s all-in-one travel and expenses platform on Salesforce,

SalesTrip is exhibiting at Business Travel Show on 20-21 February 2019 at Olympia London - secure your free ticket now at 

No comments:

Post a Comment