By Katherine Buchholz, Published November 7, 2014
Phone leads drive business. Studies show that inbound calls often convert to revenue 10 to 15 times more frequently than web leads, making them the lead type sales managers want most. It’s why marketers are spending $ 68 billion annually on ads to generate those sought-after calls.
Yet marketers are now also finding that creating effective campaigns and web content that drive high volumes of phone leads may not be enough to ensure a high ROI. True ROI from a campaign isn’t measured in calls generated by your marketing, but rather in new accounts and revenue generated from those calls by your sales reps or clients. Just getting your phone to ring off the hook isn’t the goal. Making an impact on your company’s bottom line is.
That’s why marketers are now establishing processes to define what a quality phone lead is for their business, then implementing technologies to help weed out the bad calls and route the good ones to the best sales rep or store. They are proactively qualifying, routing, and scoring the calls they generate to optimize the chances those calls convert to revenue.
Understand Your Business: Define A Quality Lead And How To Assign It
Not every incoming call is sales-ready or should even be connected to a live agent. Studies show that only 19% of inbound calls are high-quality sales leads – most are not. Therefore marketing should work with sales to answer two questions:
- What is the definition of a qualified phone lead?
- How should phone leads get assigned?
Once these questions are answered, businesses and agencies can use that data to establish call qualification, routing, and scoring strategies to maximize ROI.
Not All Calls Are Created Equal: Qualify Them First
We mentioned the 19% figure above: that means 81% of callers are not calling to engage with sales, but are often misdials or mundane inquiries for business hours and store directions. To combat those types of calls, marketers will first send callers to an IVR (interactive voice response) virtual receptionist to help qualify callers automatically up front and shield sales agents from wasting time on non-sales calls. The IVR can be as simply as “Press 1 to speak to a sales agent, Press 2 to speak to an operator” or can provide a more elaborate list of qualifying questions to determine the caller’s lead score based on your definition of a qualified lead.
Marketing ROI Depends On Who Handles Each Call: Route Them Optimally
Routing phone calls optimally can be the difference in winning the sale. Contextual call routing technology enables you to making sure each caller is routed to the best rep to handle that particular lead.
With call routing technology you can direct inbound calls in a wide variety of ways based on the structure of your business and how leads are assigned to your sales team. You can:
- Route calls differently based on which marketing source drove it
- Send a higher percentage of calls to top-performing agents
- Direct calls to different locations based on the time of day
- Route calls based on the caller’s geographic location
- Ring a group of agents (or a single agent’s work, mobile, and home phone) in succession or simultaneously
To Determine Caller, Agent, And Campaign Quality: Score Your Calls
Looking for a way to determine the quality of callers and the performance of your agents and marketing campaigns? Call scoring is the answer. By scoring a call you can assign values to a conversation based on specific metrics you’ve set and are then identified within the conversation.
Call scoring can be as simple as monitoring call duration or examining call recordings, or as complex as using keyword spotting technology to scan a conversation for specific keywords and automatically scoring the call based on who said them. By analyzing these metrics you are able to uncover which sales strategies are working best, which agents are performing better, and which marketing campaigns are driving the most valuable callers.
Understand Your Business: Optimize Your Marketing For What Works
The ultimate goal is to understand what marketing campaigns are driving quality phone leads and which agents are best at converting those leads to sales. You can then optimize for what works. While any of these call management strategies can be used a la carte, it’s often helpful to think of it as a step-by-step process:
If you are interested in learning more about how marketers are making the most of their inbound calls by qualifying, routing, and scoring to drive sales, download our new white paper, “Marketer’s Guide to Qualifying, Routing, and Scoring Inbound Calls to Optimize Sales.”