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Solving Top CMO Challenges - Prove Your Programs with Call Tracking

WRITTEN by: Bill Sterzenbach |
categories: Industrial , Business Growth , SEO

Jan 2015


CMO's and marketers often struggle to prove the business value of their marketing efforts. In countless surveys, marketers consistently identify "proving the value of their efforts" as one of the top issues keeping them awake at night. In fact, only one in four marketers can demonstrate the return on their marketing investment.

We listen to thousands of calls on behalf of our clients each month, and without a doubt, this activity provides more data on the value of the lead generation component of our marketing programs than any other measurement.

In this series, I will attempt to shed some light on the one thing you can do to gain new transparency into the impact of your marketing activities. You can solve your top marketing challenge by making just one simple change - phone tracking.

If you are a B2B marketer, there is a high likelihood that you are selling a "complex" product or service. Your solution likely has a long sales cycle, multiple decision-makers and a high price tag.  I'm going to share with you something you probably already know: your customers do not want to fill out a web form to share their struggles. In most cases they want to talk to somebody.  Ask any sales manager and they will tell you that the phone is their number one source of quality leads in the B2B space. Take a look at the chart below from IfByPhone's Marketers Guide to Call Tracking:

Larger percentage of SMBs rate telephone leads as "excellent" or "good" - more than any other lead type.



As the chart illustrates, while your prospects will use your website, white papers, case studies and other information to make the decision to connect, it’s the phone they will reach for when it’s time to connect.



Tracking your highest converting lead source

Since we've established that in most industries the telephone is the highest converting lead source, the next step is to begin tracking that lead source. You may be losing valuable insight into this channel due to the fact that there are not reliable mechanisms in place for tracking.

Begin with the basics, the "3 R's" of telephone tracking:

  • Record

  • Review

  • Refine

Record your calls. Establish a number with one of the many call tracking providers such as IfByPhone for recording and tracking purposes. After you enable call recording, set up a "whisper" message to your caller that alerts them to the fact that the call is being recorded. Place a couple of test calls to ensure conversations are being recorded and can be reviewed.

Review your recorded calls. It's critical that you do this frequently. It's very common for marketers to establish a recording system and then simply forget about it. At the beginning of this endeavor, schedule time on a weekly basis to review your calls. Guard this time jealously. In the moment, nearly everything else will seem more important than weekly call review. However, I can tell you from experience that reviewing your calls can be one of the most profitable and productive activities you will ever do as a marketer.

Refine your phone scripts and processes based upon what you are learning. You have made great progress! You are recording your calls, reviewing your calls, and now for the fun part; doing something with all of this new knowledge you have accumulated.

What to do:

After you’ve established the basics, make sure to schedule a monthly meeting with your customer service associates to review calls. You want to establish actionable, measurable improvements based on what you've learned. Each month, review how the team is progressing and then refine your sales approach accordingly.

What not to do:

Avoid the temptation to stop by people’s desks with ad hoc feedback on their phone performance. It’s an unproductive exercise. They cannot reasonably capture your feedback in this kind of situation and your feedback will not be nearly as actionable when shared in this way. You WILL be tempted to do this, a lot. Establishing a standing meeting instead will give you the time to process your feedback, plus it will also create an appropriate forum for discussion.

Wrapping it up, step-by-step

To ensure long-term success of your phone tracking program, take the following steps:

Create an improvement program

Before you begin, have a plan for what you intend to do with your new found knowledge into how calls are being handled. You will certainly need a review process, some basic training programs and some metrics for measurement.

Determine which sources you would like to track

You may want to know which calls came from online advertising versus direct visitors to your site. Your call tracking provider can offer as many numbers as needed to allow you the granularity you need. I suggest setting up one number for any initiative you can directly track, and another number for any initiative you cannot directly track. For example, while you can always directly track online paid advertising, a call from someone who simply opens their browser, types your address and ultimately calls cannot be controlled for. Your second number could be considered a "fallback" number for calls that cannot be precisely attached to a source.

Communicate the program to your team 

Let your team know that you will be recording calls, and let them know how you expect them to handle calls. You should also tell them when and how often you will be reviewing calls with them. Transparency helps to get your team on board with this program. In nearly every case, I have found that people are glad to have their calls recorded. When you're team is approached with feedback on how to handle calls, they will almost invariably express gratitude for the training and direction.

Launch & Learn! 

Congratulations! Now that you have all the pieces in place, the only thing left to do is to start the program and realize better lead generation. A year from now, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without the program.

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