If you haven’t thought much about the phone calls your advertising and website generate, it’s understandable. Phone calls rarely get the media coverage that online conversions and in-store visits do. Calls can be an easy conversion for CMOs to overlook.

But ignoring phone calls from your marketing can be a big mistake – one that can have a strong negative impact on marketing ROI. In most industries, phone conversations driven by marketing play an important, and often necessary, role in the customer journey. Even in today’s digital world, a phone conversation is often the best way to earn a customer’s business and loyalty. And as digital advertising goes mobile, these conversations are becoming more common — with calls to U.S. businesses from mobile search, social, and display ads expected to reach over 160 billion in 2019, a 73% increase from 2015.

In a new report entitled A Wake-Up Call for CMOs: The Unexpected Impact of Call Conversions on Marketing ROI, CMOs and senior marketers explained attribution and analytics strategies to generate more customers from phone calls. Below are three of their suggestions.

1. Track Each Caller from Marketing Source to Sale

Perhaps the most important strategy is to understand how your marketing drives calls and the role those phone conversations play in the purchase process. “We are getting smarter by adding calls to the multi-touch attribution picture to see the true impact of offline and digital campaigns,” said Alan Gellman, CMO at Esurance.

For each call, marketers should capture the marketing channel, ad and placement, keyword search, or other marketing source that drove it. If the lead called from your website, you should also capture the path they took that led to the call. And you should connect that call – along with its marketing attribution data – to any resulting sales opportunities, pipeline, or revenue.

This data helps you measure your true CPL, CPA, and ROI for every marketing activity and then optimize for what’s really driving business. “We measure which channels drive not only the most calls, but the most customers. That data helps us make marketing optimization decisions,” said John Challis, formerly the Senior Director of Performance Marketing at LendingTree, current CEO of Kick Pedal Media.

2. Integrate Call Data with the Tools in Your Marketing Stack

As Laura Goldberg, CMO at LegalZoom, explained, “We use all of the tools found in a modern marketing stack. They are all interconnected and include call conversion data.” Integrating call data into your marketing stack enables marketers to get a more holistic view of the customer journey and know how to best allocate budget and optimize campaigns to generate the greatest return. It also enables digital marketers responsible for paid channels such as search, social, and display advertising to more accurately target the consumers most likely to call.

3. Analyze Phone Conversations for Actionable Insights

Marketers across industries are now analyzing what happens on the calls they generate to call centers, each business or franchisee location, remote sales agents, and more. “There can’t be a wall between marketing and sales,” said Gellman. “We analyze calls for sophistication, agent matching, messaging. It’s all marketing to us.”

Call elements marketers now analyze include:

  • The value of the call: Knowing if a call was a legitimate sales call and if it converted to an opportunity or revenue helps marketers optimize for the campaigns driving the most “good” calls.
  • The call experience: Marketers are monitoring if calls to each location or agent are being answered, how long callers spend on hold, and call abandon rates.
  • What the agent said: Marketers are analyzing the performance of the agent who takes the call to ensure they are on-brand, using the right scripts, and mentioning the right promotions.
  • What the caller said: Understanding the words or phrases callers actually use can be an excellent way to optimize for the right SEO and SEM keywords and create more effective marketing messaging.

You can read more about these and other call-related strategies CMOs and their teams are embracing in the report, A Wake-Up Call for CMOs: The Unexpected Impact of Call Conversions on Marketing ROI.