Incoming calls vs. online forms?

No contest when it comes to lead value

In spite of all the high-tech forms of communication out there, successful salespeople often prefer one of the most traditional modes — phone calls.

That’s because incoming calls, especially those gleaned from PPC campaigns, offer some of the highest conversion rates on record. Why? The customer is present; he’s already shown he’s interested in your company and/or product and he’s likely impressed by the immediacy of your response.

Inbound calls or lead gen forms, which preform better?

Incoming calls are also more effective than the query forms users fill out online, which tend to languish in your CRM system and become real leads only when (and if) your sales force has the time or inclination.

“Even if you have highly sophisticated marketing automation campaigns that move people through the sales funnel, none of them is as efficient and successful as a human being listening, answering questions and handling objections,” note Brian Massey on “A phone call is worth between 500 percent and 1,000 percent (five to 10 times) more in revenue than a completed form will generate.”

That disparity may reflect something of a disconnect between sales forces and the marketing departments that work hard to direct traffic toward websites. But some 71 percent of Internet leads are ultimately wasted, claims Ken Krogue in Forbes, with 35 to 64 percent never contacted at all. He points to further research showing sales personnel take an average 46 hours, 53 minutes to respond to an Internet lead.

“Businesses are scraping for incremental increases in marketing yields, close ratios and leverage through technology,” Krogue notes. “Yet overlooking a gaping black hole that exists somewhere between their marketing and sales teams.”

Since incoming calls are so valuable, how can you make sure to take advantage?

  • Know your customer. Stage a PPC campaign that automatically records calls and segments your audiences so you know where to spend your ad dollar. In general, incoming calls tend to originate from two kinds of people, according to Massey: smart, goal-oriented types who follow logic to find better products, and customers who seek trust, empathy and a personal connection in business transactions.
  • Train your call center staff with strategies and scripts for converting calls. Reward high performers and re-train others, constantly adjusting techniques based on what is and isn’t working.
  • When designing your ads and website, prominently repeat your phone number in the headline and partway through your content. Additionally, make the related call to action emotional, clear in value and applicable to your target audience.
  • This one may seem counter intuitive, but Massey recommends including an informational form on your website that’s so long and boring that calling the number alongside it seems comparatively easy.
  • Better yet, just integrate your number on your web forms, as many customers will choose to call it before or after filling out the form. Live conversation is an intrinsically human thing to do. Customers have proven they will choose to call over filling out a form. More inbound calls, more closed business.

In the future, according to BIA/Kelsey, skyrocketing mobile phone use and better call analytics will turn incoming calls into even more effective leads.

“The call-based advertising market, which includes all ads that use call-based lead tracking, is poised for explosive growth,” it predicts.

Get a memorable business phone number from RingSquared so customers will always remember your number, increasing calls even more. And make sure you’re tracking all your calls to capitalize on your inbound calls!