Sales

Call Tracking: 9 Expert Ways to Track Inbound Calls

Not sure what is the best way to track inbound calls? 30+ experts share how they approach call tracking and the metrics they care most about.

Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik on April 23, 2021 (last modified on April 19, 2021) • 18 minute read

From sales conversations to technical support, inbound calls are a standard part of doing business for most small businesses. 

Providing a framework for how you route inbound calls as well as establishing metrics for how to track them can go a long way in streamlining and improving customer experience.

For example, if you have your phone number displayed prominently in your Google My Business profile, you can use software to see how many people found your GMB listing and then called you.

If you are struggling with tracking inbound calls, this post is for you. Here’s a overview of what we’ll cover today:

Now, let’s dive in.

What Is Call Tracking and Why Is It Important?

Call tracking allows you to see and track inbound calls — be it for sales, marketing, or customer support. 

And when it comes to call tracking importance, call tracking allows you to get more data and dive deeper into what’s really happening. For example, this can allow you to do attribution modeling for digital marketing and PPC campaigns.

Christopher McGuire of Real Estate Exam Ninja says, “I use Call Tracking, which helps me gain little insights into how clients perceive the marketing efforts and know where they clicked the call. It’s important for me to know as a real estate license teaching provider if the people who are calling or contacting me are potential clients, especially if they’re coming from areas where I hold real estate licenses, so that I can do follow-up calls or emails.”

Charles McMillan of Stand With Main Street adds, “Consider tracking inbound calls are as vital as monitoring outbound calls. Giving importance to tracking incoming calls helps us to know which ads are performing better and what type of people are most likely interested in our campaigns. In this way, we can improve our marketing strategies and it surely eliminates guessworks.”

Another common benefit for call tracking is support.

“My business tracks inbound calls because we need to know how many of our customers are reaching out to us for support and why they are doing so,” says Laura Fuentes of Infinity Dish.  “Not only do we track new calls, but we let our customers know their calls will be recorded for quality assurance. We want out customer service tactics to be top-notch, so tracking and recording customer service calls is the easiest way to receive fast and reliable data. Additionally, tracking the number of inbound calls lets us know how successful our marketing strategies while providing an indicator for our number of future sales.”

Mark Hall of BusinessWaste.co.uk adds, “We do this so we always have full transparency and can immediately copy in and update the customer via email so nothing ever gets missed.

It’s very important both from a sales perspective (so we don’t miss any opportunities) and from a customer care perspective so we always have a log and anyone in the business can pick up the phone and be fully informed immediately.”

You can also use call tracking to improve your sales process. 

“We track inbound sales calls through our CRM,” says Keesjan (Case) Engelen of Titoma. “This is important for recording sales data. This allows us to track the details of the sales process and maneuver toward the most effective methods. It also allows us to track the acquisition of sales leads through various channels. This allows us to plan accordingly, and prioritize our investment in these channels.”

9 Ways to Track Inbound Calls

A whopping 94.3% of our respondents track their inbound calls. And out of those people, 40.4% work at marketing agencies, while 21.3 are in professional services. 

what best describes your business

The bottom line is that these folks know what’s needed to track inbound calls successfully. Here are some of the most common ways they track calls, including their most preferred call tracking tools.

  1. CallRail
  2. HubSpot
  3. CallTrackingMetrics
  4. Google Ads
  5. Close
  6. Google Voice
  7. Google Tag Manager
  8. Salesforce
  9. Invoca
  10. Manual processes

1. CallRail 

CallRail was by far the most popular solution for call tracking.  In fact, 43.4% of all the respondents we surveyed use CallRail for tracking inbound calls. 

What software are you using to track inbound calls

“Our business uses CallRail to track inbound calls,” says Emily Griffin of SERVPRO of Westport/Fairfield. “This is important to accurately report ROI for Google Ads and see what campaigns actually are converting customers, along with the top sources of qualified leads from customers who call into our business. As a service-based business, call tracking is hugely important to see what avenues deliver the most qualified leads.”

Chris Wilks of BrandExtract says, “It’s an incredibly valuable source of information. Not only does it allow us to track which of our marketing efforts are driving calls to our business but listening to recordings of the calls provides us with content ideas and ideas for website updates.”

Damien Knight of Workever adds, “Call monitoring software gives you a good picture of your customers’ calling patterns as well as the outcomes of your marketing campaigns. Call tracking entails giving each of the marketing efforts its own phone number. Inbound calls to the number are then monitored and tracked using special software that can be tailored to your specific requirements. Both online and offline marketing strategies will benefit from the software’s in-depth analytics.

Marketers can save money by eliminating underperforming campaigns, advertisements, and keywords. Call monitoring offers concrete data that show which campaigns are converting phone calls. You can use call monitoring to get exact output data instead of wondering which ad campaigns are offering you the best return.

I use CallRail to accurately monitor the attribution of leads created by phone calls and forms. It enables me to demonstrate ROI to my customers even when their tracking software is inoperable. 

Furthermore, since I mainly work with mental health practitioners, a HIPAA-compliant kit is needed. Marketers who depend on quality inbound leads to fuel development and enhance growth will benefit from CallRail’s complete visibility. It is a primary concern for CallRail to provide its users with a good picture of their digital marketing activities. Its focus on the possibilities in surfacing and linking data from calls, forms, talk, and helping its users achieve better outcomes.”

Editor’s Note: You can use this CallRail Overview Dashboard to see where your incoming calls originate and the responsiveness of your sales team. 

CallRail Overview Dashboard

“CallRail is our go-to inbound call-tracking software,” says Max Harland of Dentaly. “It gives us a bird’s eye view of our marketing efforts and helps us sketch better results. I love its lead-focused analytics platform that allows us to connect calls to vital data. Plus, it gives us a great overview of our ROI and overall strategies. CallRail has surely been conducive to our growth in recent years.”

Tanya Wigmore of CRO:NYX Digital explains, “We use CallRail call tracking for all phone numbers. Our website uses dynamic number swapping for detailed call attribution info and we use different numbers for our off-site initiatives including ads, directory listings and even our Google My Business listings. This is SO important as we were completely missing how effective our GMB listing was at generating new business for us. For every new visitor that came to the site via GMB we had FIVE unique phone calls. Without call tracking, we would have been missing attribution data for over 70% of the contacts and leads generated via our GMB listing.”

Niles Koenigsberg of Real FiG Advertising + Marketing adds, “At our marketing agency, we rely on CallRail to keep track of inbound calls. This tool does a phenomenal job of tracking calls and helping us understand where those contacts are coming from. We leverage this call tracking software not only for our agency but for all of our clients too.

It’s important to track inbound calls for several reasons. 

First off, call tracking helps identify the marketing channel that was responsible for that call. How can you figure out if your ads in the local newspaper were cost-effective? Call tracking software will identify which calls came in from that newspaper ad, so you can make better-informed decisions about how to best use your marketing budget.

Call tracking software can also help improve your customer service capabilities too. In CallRail, there is a feature that allows the system to record certain phone calls. You can then go back at a later date to listen to those recordings and determine whether or not your customer service reps could be improved.

In addition, call tracking can help your business sift through your monthly phone calls to identify which ones were legitimate leads and which were spammy calls. This way you have a better idea of the actual real number of leads you are generating each month, so you can better measure the ROI of your marketing strategy.“

For example, Sarah Ederer of Candor says, “Candor tracks inbound calls to optimize lead generation campaigns for our clients. Similar to link tracking, tracking phone calls through CallRail allows us to know which marketing channels are resonating with potential customers so we can further optimize to increase conversations and ROI.”

Editor’s Note: You can use this CailRail Source and Keyword Performance Dashboard to compare inbound calls from specific sources – like Google Ads and organic search – as well as new to returning calls, call duration, etc.  

CailRail Source and Keyword Performance Dashboard

2. HubSpot 

The second most popular option for call tracking was through HubSpot.  

“We are currently using HubSpot CRM to be able to track our inbound calls to our offices for our services,” says Ethan Taub of Wealthry. “It is important to us that we do this as it can be a great way to see which days we are busier, and why that could be. 

If we send a newsletter out that day and get a lot of calls, we know that those newsletters are enticing people to call. If there is no correlation to our other marketing attempts, we know to work harder on those marketing attempts to be able to make those days busier with calls too. 

Getting feedback from engagement can be very telling, and helpful in knowing what we could be doing better for our customers.”

Abby Ha of WellPCB says, “Here at WellPCB, we use HubSpot to help us track our inbound calls. HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that helps us manage our contacts, track our conversations, and generate reports. We use the inbound call tracking feature within HubSpot to measure the results of our marketing efforts. The goal here is to keep an eye on how many calls we are getting from specific content pieces. From there, we can identify which piece is driving the most traffic, and tailor our future content marketing strategies accordingly.”

Andrea Kuznak of GoVisaFree adds, “Inbound calls are tracked by the marketing department to evaluate the performance of any marketing campaign. By tracking customer calls and lead generation, the team is able to identify the success of any marketing campaign in a geographical area. 

We are able to classify the preferences of customers from specific areas, which helps us make decisions when planning future campaigns. This also helps us customize our marketing campaigns uniquely for different locations, consequently improving the conversion rate.”

Editor’s note: Track inbound calls from HubSpot CRM with Databox. Get started by checking out our HubSpot CRM integration or browse through HubSpot CRM dashboard templates here.

3. CallTrackingMetrics

CallTrackingMetrics is another dedicated call tracking software. 

“At PTPioneer, we track inbound calls with CallTrackingMetrics,” says Daniel Adams of Cosier.  “It is essential because it helps us identify which campaigns generate the best quality leads and their geographic location. Another reason is to identify the keywords driving the calls and then further rank for these keywords.”

4. Google Ads 

If you are looking to track inbound calls from PPC campaigns, you can actually do within Google Ads. 

“We track inbound calls using the call tracking features offered by Google Ads,” says Devin Ahern of Florida Material Handling. “Unfortunately, this means that we only get information from callers that have clicked through a Google PPC ad. It’s critical to see the ROI on our paid advertising efforts, but we don’t get any insight into organic or referral clicks.”

Editor’s note: Connect Google Ads and Databox to enjoy the power of combining data from multiple sources into a single report, which will ultimately lead to making better decisions for your business.

5. Close 

If you use Close as your sales CRM, they have built-in features for call-tracking. 

“Inbound phone calls are the lifeblood of our business,” says Robert Dow of Remarkable Land.   “Over 75% of our inbound leads are phone calls we receive in response to our USPS direct mail campaigns. Using Close.com, with its native telephony features, we have instant access to all of our leads and a multitude of call reports. We can track any and all activity by our users (e.g. inbound, outbound, calls, text messages, duration, etc.) and track our response rate and conversion rate for each mail campaign. Nothing gets lost, and nothing is hidden.”

6. Google Voice 

You can also do some basic tracking within Google Voice. 

“All my inbound calls are handled by Google. Google voice is actually a very good tool for logging your incoming customers,” says Jerome Williams of JWorks Studios. “You’ll immediately collect their phone number and the time of day they are active and ready to do business. You can even screen calls before allowing them through. This can cut down on robo calls and scammers. Additionally, you can get an audio recording and are emailed transcripts, that way you can have a log of the topic and specifics. Finally, you can send and receive texts/MMS. This allows for flexibility instead of always needing to have a phone line clear. You’ll be able to track the entire history of your relationship, from inquiry to invoice.”

7. Google Tag Manager 

If you are looking for more control and customization, then setting up call tracking via custom events in Google Tag Manager can be helpful. 

“We use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to track calls from client websites,” says Ken Lee of Method and Metric. “It’s fairly simple, all you have to do is install GTM on your website, then create a tag that fires every time a link to one or more of your phone numbers is clicked. Once you link GTM to Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see inbound calls under the “Events” section.

Google My Business is also a great way for local businesses to track inbound calls.

Depending on how one’s business captures leads, weekly or monthly calls from the website or Google listing is a useful KPI for measuring growth. Best part? It’s all free.”

8. Salesforce 

Just like HubSpot and Close, Salesforce also has the ability to track inbound calls. 

“We use Salesforce Cloud as our CRM to track all communications with potential leads and clients,” says Jenny Winstead of LA Tutors 123. “This increases the productivity and the number of clients one person can manage by 2x-3x. Salesforce also allows us to track marketing campaigns, revenue generated, and much much more.”

Editor’s note: Seamlessly track all inbound calls from Salesforce CRM with Databox. Get started by connecting your Salesforce CRM account with Databox or downloading one of our pre-built Salesforce CRM dashboard templates or

9. Invoca 

Solomon Thimothy of Clickx says, “ClickX optimizes our inbound calls by defining them as one of our key performance indicators. We are trumping the notion that incoming calls must only be handled within the realm of the contact center — inbound calls are crucial data that must be analyzed and used to improve other functions within the business. 

Our company uses Invoca to accurately keep track and analyze our incoming calls. We specifically favor this program due to its active conversation intelligence which is able to study every bit of information shared by consumers via conversations. It enables the company to break down the consumers’ feedback and issues regarding our marketing, sales, and customer experience services which fuels the company’s future projects.”

10. Manual processes 

For some teams that need more flexibility and control, the best route is more manual processes. 

For example, James Edge of Crush the USMLE says, “Whoever is on duty in the customer service team at the time takes a detailed note about the nature of the call. They then are charged with directing the caller to the best team. This is done either with an email or a call-back. We have educated our customer service team to not try and resolve the issue if it is not to do with the general website and course questions. This is counter-productive and takes up the time of both the agent and caller. We want satisfied customers so putting them on the correct path for a full resolution is the best way.”

And, Ben Wallington of Designerwear adds, “We add different numbers to our different campaign strategies. We do this to easily identify which campaigns are more effective when it comes to sharing our brand and reaching out to our clientele. People call for many reasons, not just complaints. Often we have a promotion so we will get calls about stock numbers, how long the promotion will run for, can we hold items, and so on.

If we get a lot of calls after sending out a marketing campaign then we judge that campaign successful. We analyze the components and add them to our brand book so they are repeated in future campaigns. This can be a color scheme, images used, amount of copy, type of copy! The time sent, day sent, so many different aspects to a campaign.”

Most Important Call Tracking Metrics

There are a handful of inbound call metrics that everyone should track, including inbound call volume, call length, inbound call rate, and sales.  

  1. Number of inbound calls
  2. Sales
  3. Inbound call rates

Number of inbound calls 

This is almost too obvious to include, but it is worth mentioning that you should monitor call volume on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis. 

Joseph Scaduto of Floor Shields explains, “Since our business relies on calls and networking,  we have to monitor them regularly. PPC call tracking records calls on a regular basis and we don’t have to manually track inbound calls. Also data won’t be intertwined from social media calls.

In addition, we monitor call length. The length of a call holds much importance in the call tracking department. Longer the call the hotter the lead is assumed to be. Keeping in mind the spam call factor, it is important to understand the difference between leads and telemarketers.

We also note time and day of location. Campaigns now have the enhanced option to give advertisers the ability to change bids by location, place or time. Now that we know which calls to convert, we can balance out the bids based on the quality of the calls received, may they be from different time and locations.It is extremely important to track inbound calls as they give more coverage than web leads. To make reports on the data collected we need to know where the calls are coming from to establish potential customers.”

Jason Brown of ApprovedCosts adds, “All of our digital marketing activity is tied back to call tracking so all inbound calls are traced back and we can use attribution modelling. This allows us to quantify our paid media efforts and calculate ROI.

We track all inbound calls to monitor analytics within our sales team for internal use. This allows us to track KPIs and allows us to forecast and set goals.”

Sales 

Another crucial metric to monitor is sales.  

“I have set up call tracking and recommended it for many of my consulting clients,” says Allison Chaney of Boot Camp Digital. “It’s most important in businesses where the conversion happens as a phone call, and you want to track the success of your digital marketing effort in driving the call.”

Inbound call rates 

A third metric to keep an eye on is your inbound call rate. 

“EasyMerchant considers our company’s inbound call rates as a crucial metric for determining the performance of several of our company’s functions such as marketing and sales,” says Stacey Kane of EasyMerchant. “Information about all our inbound calls is a critical and potent informational resource that can power and influence all our future marketing campaigns and sales strategies.

We collect this information through the use of our inbound call tracker software HubSpot CRM, analyze its trends, and ensure to take the discussion of our findings mainstream so the whole organization is involved and aware of our customers’ pulses and awareness of our brand, company, product, and service.

Tracking and analyzing our inbound calls equips the company at a cross-departmental level as it gives us light on what we’re doing right so we can continue doing it or enhancing it, as well as points where we significantly need to improve and/or transform.”


In sum, there are many use cases to set up call tracking. This can range from optimizing your Google Ad campaigns to providing better support for your current customers. 

About the author
Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik is a content strategist and copywriter for SaaS and productized service businesses. Her writing has appeared on The Next Web, Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, CMX, Help Scout, Convince & Convert, and many other sites.

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