As it’s the New Year, you’ll be keen to implement new processes and marketing models to help your business achieve its best ever sales performance.

Whilst there are many different pieces of software or tools you can use, I’m going to discuss five ways your business can take advantage of phone call tracking software to boost your business’ sales performance.

What is phone call tracking software?

If you haven’t already heard about phone call tracking software, it’s pretty much does exactly how it sounds: tracks phone calls.

By applying a small piece of code to your website and by distributing a set of unique numbers across your marketing channels you’ll be able to start collecting and measuring the data generated from your business’ phone calls.

Whilst you’ve probably been tracking your website’s traffic data, leads and orders through Google Analytics for years, you might have been overlooking the phone calls that come through to your sales team; or the calls that have been generated by your offline campaigns.

Why is call tracking essential?

Without some sort of phone call tracking system, there is absolutely no way for you to find out where your leads are coming from. Which means that you’re not correctly attributing your marketing and advertising’s ROI. The type of information that your boss is going to want to know about, especially for smart investment.

And if your boss isn’t convinced about the importance of phone call data, it’s time you showed him he should be: Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal recently said of call tracking:

“If your company isn’t tracking calls from Google in 2015, you’re going to lose the SEO lead attribution game and see a dip in branded traffic”.

1. Click-to-call tracking: attribute keywords back to the correct PPC ad

The most widely used call tracking technique is click-to-call conversion data tracking. Google recently announced they are offering this service free for their AdWords users, but this service still lacks the granularity of call data that many AdWords advertisers need.

Click-to-call tracking allows advertisers to identify and measure calls to their business after a prospect clicks through from a paid ad.

Here’s an example of a click-to-call extension on a mobile phone ad:

circus training

And here’s how it works:

  1. A company will add a snippet of code to their website or mobile site.
  2. A unique forwarding number is generated for each AdWords click.
  3. When a customer calls from a unique number, you can link it back to a specific page on your website as well as well sites visited within the display network to see the types of calls they are generating.
  4. By integrating the data with Google Universal Analytics and AdWords it also becomes possible to track keywords (i.e. search phrases) the customer used before clicking on your webpage. This provides your sales team with information about the specific needs of the customer.

So why is is click-to-call so important? This feature allows marketers to have an overview of which keywords and ads are driving the most phone calls from their website and which are resulting in more valuable calls. They can then feed this data back into their paid ad activity to replicate what’s going well and continue to drive more sales.

2. Traffic acquisition: know where to target your clients

Google’s call conversion tool allows marketers to see which pages are driving calls. Once they’ve identified the high converting pages marketers can then optimise each page of their website by seeing the amount of engagement it’s getting. But what other ways are there to identify and target the right audiences?

Knowing exactly where the majority of your customers are coming from – i.e. which channel bought them to your website, means your potential customer base widens significantly.

Here’s how you can analyse traffic acquisition:

  1. Using some form of  IP tracking software will show your sales team the exact geographical location where calls are coming in from;
  2. Integrating phone call and website visitor tracking technology with bid management software, like that provided by Marin Software, can allow marketers to see the keywords that lead to the most offline telephone conversions. This kind of data will help marketers to fine tune their PPC and SEO campaigns.

Having this data is priceless for marketers who want to know where their leads are coming from, so they can do more of the same and know where to put their content and services in front of the most relevant people. What’s more, companies who understand the needs of their clients and know how to target them are likely to significantly reduce their cost per lead.

3. Call recording for proving call value

When quantifying and scoring your phone calls, nothing can beat listening to actual conversations. That’s why many businesses record their sales calls as a way to evaluate quality and measure the effectiveness of sales agent performance.

Although manually listening to every single sales call would be impractical and a gruelling task, there are ways to drill down to the calls that matter.

Most call tracking software will allow you to filter successful calls via keywords used in searches, lead sources and individual campaigns. Listening back on these calls will not only show you which keywords and campaigns are driving hot leads, but will also help you to build up an accurate scoring system for future calls because your sales agents will be able to looks for positive signs and trends.

4. Call Tracking and CRM Integration to follow phone leads through the sales cycle

The only true indicator of a quality telephone call is whether the caller converted through to a sale or an opportunity.

But with many sectors, the buying cycle can be a slow burn and it might take weeks even months for a lead to come through. So it’s essential for marketers to have some way to trace every lead’s journey through the final closing process.

To get that data, you’ll need to apply unique call tracking numbers across your marketing so you’ll be able to trace calls back to the specific source and channel that generated them.

Here’s what call tracking looks like in practice. In the example below, I filtered one client’s successful calls via keyword. The initial search phrase used was “SEO”, a service the agency offers, and their brand name. You can see that the medium was Google PPC (Pay Per Click):

visitor call ID

We were able to see which pages the caller viewed when they arrived on the site and before they picked up the phone. We were also able to find out which web pages might have made the call more successful than other leads.

To complete the sales loop, I suggest integrating that call tracking data with your CRM system to follow the lead through the sales cycle. Having the CRM step included in the sales attribution process should provide the final word on if a campaign really worked, how it impacted the business, and whether or not it’s worth redoing.

5. Well informed sales agent can increase average order value

The final benefit for the contact salesperson is increasing the average order value at the end of the customer’s journey (i.e. when you’ve got the customer on the phone).

But in order for the sales agent to be able to add to the customer’s purchase, they’ll need to be well informed about the caller. Here are two techniques that can provide your inbound sales agent with valuable information about the customer – which might encourage them to spend a bit more!

  1. CRM Integration: instead of using your CRM to just be a system that retains customer information based on manual entries, integrating your website and call tracking software brings in valuable customer information directly into your CRM. It also enables complete end-to-end reporting of lead to conversion through the call channel.
  2. Journey data at the URL level: this allows you to send data about the caller (i.e. the web pages they viewed) to an online system at the start or end of the call in real time. By storing this data in a database, you can integrate with other online solutions like web analytics or CRM solutions to better understand your customers’ needs and expectations.

Some businesses present their inbound call handlers with the webpage a visitor called from to give them an insight into the customers’ intent. Using this technique, businesses reported an increase in average order values over the phone.

[Photo Credit: edkohler]