Microsoft’s planned acquisition of LinkedIn certainly brought to light the prominence of social selling in today’s sales industry. Social has its place at the proverbial ‘sales’ table, as it’s a simple way to uncover basic information about prospects and customers. But let’s not forget about Old Faithful –the telephone.

Successful sales processes must involve phone conversations, even if they can be uncomfortable. When you limit communications to email and social channels, you don’t get the crisp, targeted, and personal communications you do from the phone, not to mention valuable insights that drive accurate forecasts and uncover what’s working and what’s not.

Here are five reasons why the phone call shouldn’t be reserved just for Throwback Thursdays.

1. Context

Most sales reps are required to reach a certain number of contacts each week, but in today’s competitive landscape, a number is not enough. You need context.

Can you decipher tone via email? Maybe, though often inaccurately. Can you gauge someone’s emotion on a phone call? Absolutely. When it’s not the specific words that are causing agents to miss opportunities but rather their emotional state or their reactions to the emotional state of a prospect, understanding the context of the conversation quantifies otherwise unattainable data.

2. It’s a Business Intelligence Goldmine

Speech analytics gives sales managers an opportunity to target keywords, enforce script compliance, troubleshoot issues, benchmark successful behaviors and capitalize on new opportunities like cross- and up-selling.

Additionally, if leads are confused or frustrated on the phone, perhaps there’s a problem with an outbound-marketing campaign. Managers can then adjust the campaign accordingly and improve the quality of the leads.

3. It Enhances Training Opportunities

New research from CSO Insights found that the dispersed nature of today’s sales teams and the resulting lack of visibility marks a significant barrier to effective coaching. The phone bridges this gap.

When managers listen to reps’ sales calls and see correlations between keywords and outcomes, it’s easier to identify what’s working for top reps and what’s not for underperformers. Then, managers can guide them on which tactics to use and which words to avoid.

4. It Improves Forecast Accuracy

Pipeline shows how long an opportunity has been open and estimated close date. It tells you nothing about how the deal is being worked or the activity that is driving the pipeline — data managers need to ensure accurate forecasting. The context provided via phone conversations paints a more accurate picture of how your forecast is shaping up, which makes you look good to the C-Suite.

5. High-Value Products Need a Personal Touch

The telephone is still the best way to do business if you’re selling high-value products, like insurance or financial services, that require more personalization and customer-centric conversation. That won’t change.

The biggest change in sales is that we can now use the phone in conjunction with analytics to drive more desired results. The focus is now on identifying those activities that get results, and understanding how to measure and subsequently multiply them.