The “True” Cost of Conference Calls

Written by on August 22, 2014

telephone“Let’s schedule a conference call each week to go over the sales pipeline for our team.” Seems logical. Seems like something we should all be paying attention to, so I put it in my calendar for the entire year at 8:30 Central time for every Wednesday morning.

We always start promptly at 8:30 and usually end in an hour. I get to hear the other VPs cover their pipeline and they get to hear mine. In the beginning, this was really needed. I needed the accountability and I enjoyed learning from the other VPs. The dialog was thought provoking and I enjoyed connecting with my counter parts. We landed many of those early prospects and solved issues around the client experience for our customer. All of this had been very beneficial, to say the least.

Fast forward two years. We’ve been having that same call every Wednesday for 104 straight weeks. We may have skipped a few, so let’s call it 100 weeks.

Depending on which website you use, we work on average 1,500 hours a year using a 40-hour workweek, though that number seems like a part-time job to me, but let’s use it to make the point. 40 hr x 50 wks = 2000

If you earn:

  • $50,000, your hourly fee is approximately $33.00 per hour.
  • $100,000 = $ 66.00 per hour
  • $150,000 = $100.00 per hour
  • $200,000 = $133.00 per hour
  • $250,000 = $166.00 per hour

What is that conference call costing me and my company each year? Let’s use easy math and say all six VPs make $150K per year. $100.00 per hour X 6 VPs X 50 weeks we are on the call = $30,000 per year. Multiply that by the two years we’ve been on each week and it’s $60,000.

That’s right, $60,000 to be on a call each week for one hour. The funny thing? That would never get approved as a budget line item.

Now, I’m not in favor of canceling all conference calls. Some are necessary to the business and are truly needed, but the real question is this: how many calls are you requiring your team to be on per week that might not be necessary? This example is only one hour per week. My guess is many of you are having two, three, four, five or more calls per weeks that are costing more than they’re earning. What if you said you could easily cancel two standing calls per week? On our team, that would generate over $100,000 per year in savings.

But let’s go deeper. What could your team do with that extra time each week? What if you asked them to talk to your top customers during that same hour for the next 52 weeks? How about if you asked them to call a top performer for your company? Or mentor someone that is an up and coming producer in your company? Or take an online course? How much business do you think those calls would generate? What about the “opportunity cost” of the other things these leaders could be doing during these calls?

Because we don’t write an hourly check each day to our team, it’s easy to lose sight of the value of their time. Rethink your automatic conference calls. Look at the things that need more attention and have a bigger upside than a bunch of suits sitting on a call, waiting for their turn to talk. Create accountability utilizing different methods other than the dreaded conference call. And remember to calculate your own hourly fee and make sure you’re getting the most out of your day as well.

The bottom line here? Be very wary of anything that is recurring or automatic. Those calls or meetings seem to take on their own momentum, which can take precedence over other more important things. For the next thirty days, ask yourself, “Is this call/meeting even necessary anymore?” You won’t rid yourself of all the predetermined calls but canceling a few of those will probably yield you those few extra hours you need to catch up on other things. Or if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll be able to enjoy a weekend or two without worrying about what isn’t getting finished. Okay, that may be a stretch, but hopefully you get the point.