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Super Bowl Ads: The Cost of a Conversation

4 min readFebruary 8, 2020

The numbers are in. This year, the minimum cost of commercial during Super Bowl LII was $5 million for a basic 30 second slot. The biggest spender was Amazon, who claimed a premium 90-second ad. Combined with heavy promotion online and through social media, their placement efforts cost a whopping $14.9 million dollars. Interestingly, that ad reached approximately 81.2 million people, meaning it cost 18 cents per view. Or for you marketers and advertisers, the CPM (cost per thousand of impressions) would be $183.

The Value of a Sales Conversation

If you went with the cheapest ($5 million, 30 seconds) option, you would have spent $166,667 per second to communicate with a potential customer. If you consider that in a sales context, it raises some important questions. What are the costs of the conversations that your reps are having? What is the potential value of each conversation? And how do you capitalize on each and every second?

Any time a rep’s phone rings, some sort of marketing and advertising expense created that call, and the person on the other end holds value in the form of potential revenue. It’s up to the sales rep to capture that revenue and provide a return on the investment used to create it.

What it Costs

Cost of an Inbound Sales CallWhat does one second on the phone cost for your organization? Consider the telephony/VOIP bill, rep salary/commission, cost of tools they are using, and the marketing expenses behind generating the call. Studies have found the average B2B sales call costs $596. Of course this varies by industry; it can be as low as $200 or as high as $1,600. The average inbound call is 254 seconds, which means you could be paying $2.35 per second to speak with a lead. When you consider the opportunity cost of not speaking with another customer, as well as the revenue potential of the call, the price per second skyrockets. Are you spending that money wisely?

You should also remember what you can control. If your rep has a bad conversation, that’s at least a $596 loss, plus the lost revenue potential. Things like bad manners, fumbled selling points, or false promises can ruin a deal. Things can only continue from there if your lead shares their feelings with another company.

Make Your Inbound Calls Count

Thanks to features like call tracking and advanced call routing, we can now understand where the call came from, what it cost to create, and ensure that the right rep answers the phone. But once the call is connected reps are on their own, and they have to get it right the first time.

When a potential opportunity calls in, reps should qualify the opportunity and immediately move it forward. Since there is already interest, inbound leads have a much higher velocity and conversion rate than outbound leads, and must be capitalized on.

Reps should ask questions that not only qualify the caller, but excite them as well. Engage the lead with questions about issues they are facing, if they have tried to solve them before, and what led them to you. The conversation should not end until both parties have reached an agreement about the next action to take. Reps should secure a demo, free trial, or even just another call for further information.

Coaching Creates Performance

When you prioritize sales coaching with your inbound reps, you increase their abilities to convert leads. Use call recordings or even live listening/barging to get visibility into reach reps conversation. Obviously, a sales manager can’t listen to every single call every single day. But, by recording calls, you get on-demand visibility into each reps’ conversations. Furthermore, the addition of call analytics to accurately report on reps’ call activities provides real-time insight to rep and team performance.

Call Recordings

When listening to call recordings, see if a rep sounds like someone you would like to have a conversation with. Are they friendly, concise, and letting the caller do the talking? Are they getting the right information without bombarding the prospect with questions? Ensure they are acting as consultants by addressing the caller’s needs, providing solutions, and developing rapport.

Listening to calls also allows you to identify common themes, requests, or issues, and address them on a macro level to help reps succeed.

Call Reporting

Tracking inbound calls by campaign, closed/won inbound calls, time to respond to inbound leads, talk time, and inbound lead conversions on an individual rep level provides you with insight into the health of your marketing and inbound sales efforts. By watching these metrics, you can instantly understand what works and what doesn’t, and even identify potential problems before they become significant.