Marketing qualified leads are the leads that have the highest chance of conversion. Learn how to optimize your marketing funnel to generate more MQLs.
Sales | Dec 1
Elise Dopson on April 10, 2019 (last modified on July 19, 2020) • 16 minute read
But just like the majority of marketing tactics, you can’t sit around and wait for leads to blow up your phone line.
You’ll need to make a plan-of-action that actually drives inbound sales calls for your reps to close.
That’s not an easy task to conquer, though. A phone call often requires more commitment than an email or social media message, so you’ll need to try harder to convince potential customers to schedule time in their day to pick up the phone.
We thought it’d be fun to learn of the best ways to increase the number of inbound sales calls your business gets. So, we asked 26 sales experts to share their tips.
Here’s what they said.
*Editor’s note: CallRail users can download this free template to track and visualize all of their inbound call prospecting, including which sources are driving the most inbound phone calls.
…Sounds obvious, right?
“It seems simple, but a shocking number of businesses make people dig around to find a phone number,” explains Big Sea‘s Maria Mora.
That’s why she recommends to “update your local listing, all applicable directories, and make your phone number a prominent feature on your home page and contact page.”
Marc Fischer of Dogtown Media agrees: “An effective way to drive these prospects is by placing your phone number in the meta description of your website so it’s picked up by search engines, thereby enabling Google to display it to users before they visit your website and drive the desired call-to-action of picking up the phone and dialing.”
In a nutshell: You can’t drive more inbound sales calls if people don’t know how to contact you.
Research has found the most successful sales calls take place between 4pm and 5pm.
But if you’re targeting customers all over the country (or even the world!), make it easy for them to call you by expanding “the hours of coverage for the phone number on your website,” says Jeanne Hopkins of Lola.com.
She explains: “Right coast companies forget about Left coast timing. Why not have the hours roll over to another number?”
You could do this by simply stating your opening hours for each time zone your customers live in, or linking to a time zone converter for your customers to check themselves.
“I highly recommend that sales teams invest (and, it’s a very cheap investment) in both local and toll-free numbers to call in,” explains Nextiva‘s Yaniv Masjedi.
He says: “These two lines will capture two different market segments:
No matter who your buyer personas describe, there’s a high chance they’ll fall into one of the two categories Yaniv mentions. But using both local and toll-free numbers is “a minimal investment in an easily re-routable number”, he says.
You likely already have a handful of calls to action on your landing page.
But according to Will Craig of LeaseFetcher, “offering a ‘request a call back button’ on your page can really help to improve the rate of your inbound sales calls.”
He thinks this is because “most people want some kind of human interaction when it comes to committing to a product or service. It’s only natural that for one small period of time, they want to feel the center of attention and like their opinion really matters.”
“Adding the option of receiving a call back can do just that,” Will says, along with making “the process of getting a quote from your company much easier and straightforward.”
When we asked Hill Gaming Company‘s Casey Hill for his best tip to increase inbound sales calls, his answer was simple: “Provide a clear incentive or pathway for ‘Why.'”
“If it’s a more complex service being sold, position free consultative time to help with adoption. If it’s an eCommerce product, highlight a discount/promotion that can access if they call in. If it’s a consultative service being sold, offer a free evaluation from someone on your team.”
Regardless of what you’re offering, Casey recommends giving people a reason to pick up the phone.
Ollie Roddy of Catalyst Marketing Agency seconds that advice, and says: “Offering a free advice service is one great way to reduce the level of commitment people call you with and open those initial communication lines.”
He recommends starting with ” rebranding your ‘Contact Us’ page as a ‘Free Consultancy’, ‘Helpline’ or ‘Free Advice’ line” because “you open yourself up to receive more calls.”
However, Ollie’s advice comes with a word of warning: “There’s a slight risk of course that you end up giving too much away for free, so be sure on your calls to make that more formal meeting or demo the main goal.”
When we surveyed sales experts, we asked which call tracking software they’re using to manage inbound sales calls.
But Survicate‘s Tom Smyk favors Intercom, purely because his team “have found Intercom auto user messages immensely useful in scheduling effective sales calls with leads who’ve registered with us on a Free plan.”
He explains how that process looked in-practice:
“People actually did show up on the majority of calls. Over the span of 3 months, approximately 80% of all scheduled calls resulted in the demo itself,” Tom says.
Yet the best part is “the success rate of these calls was 18-25%, meaning approximately a quarter of all calls ended in leads upgrading to a paid plan.”
*Editor’s note: Download this free Intercom template and see how effective your messages are in engaging visitors or users, which members of your team are engaging visitors the most, and more.
The buying journey is the typical process people flow through before becoming a customer.
It varies wildly from company to company, but Best Company‘s McCall Robison think it’s important to “understand your buyer’s journey and support them through every step.”
“Consider the awareness, consideration, and decision states of your buyer’s journey and determine what your potential buyers need throughout each step,” he explains.
McCall also references HubSpot’s “four-part framework for inbound sales representatives to help users in their sales journey:
Can you spot where customers are most likely to pick up the phone to chat with your sales team?
Think about the webpages they’re visiting throughout the “connect” or “explore” stage, and push them towards a sales call using the content on that page.
A huge part of understanding your customers is getting to grips with their pain points. These challenges are something they’re struggling with, that your product or service can help to resolve.
“One way to increase your inbound sales calls that we use is to ensure our online persona matches what our customers are looking for,” explains Corey Dugas of Momentum Canada.
“Ensuring that your content is directed at your audience is important but even more important is what call to action you choose. When you create content you need to make sure you truly understand the pain points that the client you want is suffering. You want to be their cure so ensure you clearly showcase how you understand them, how you can help and how they can reach you.”
Remember: People picking up the phone to chat with you are likely close to converting. They want their pain points to be eased in the near future.
The simplest (and most effective) way to do that is to aggravate their pain points and direct them to a phone call to help solve it.
Summarizing, Zeenath Kuraisha of Asia Pacific Sales & Marketing Academy Pte Ltd says: “If you have authentic offerings connected to address real pain points with true differentiated values for the right personas, you will be able [to] increase your inbound sales call easily through targeted outreach via digital tactics e.g. search, social, email campaigns, pr, online & offline initiatives.”
“If your marketing is attracting the right people, they’ll call. If your marketing isn’t working the way it should, or could – then those great fit leads will just go to the next company,” explains Trygve Olsen of BizzyWeb.
…But how do you attract the “right” people?
Strategic IC‘s Fes Askari thinks it’s by running “a multitouch campaign that maximize [s] the value of your inbound leads.”
He says: “Working channels such as email and social helps build brand and proposition awareness with inbound leads. With multitouch campaigns – adding layers of personalization and account intelligence (such as from intent-data insights) – helps to shape relevant messaging into prospects that generate increased responses and meetings bookings.”
Think about it: If you’re only relying on one channel to encourage inbound calls, it’s easy for people to turn a blind eye.
Tie that into the fact platforms like Facebook are making it tougher for brands to reach their audience, and you’ll see why James Green of OfferToClose “find[s] it works best to use multiple channels together to drive a single powerful message.”
He puts that into practice: “Running search ads to target searchers and then using retargeting on Facebook or Instagram to show those same people a relevant video ad.”
Still not convinced? Consider this: Just 14% of organizations say they are currently running coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels.
If you’re able to pip them to the post with messages that reach customers through a variety of channels, you’re bound to beat your competition to the inbound call.
“Publishing content relevant to your niche online is a great way to drive traffic and find high-intent leads, says True Recovery‘s Milad Hassibi.
He explains: “For instance, create a blog post answering a niche question in your field. Answer the question in your blog, where you should place ads and call-to-action buttons asking consumers to call and learn more about your services.”
Aurelien says their team at La Team Web use eBooks to increase inbound calls because this type of content is “directly connected with our blog articles in order to help our visitors to answer their questions about digital strategy. Our inbound sales calls mainly come from organic research, but we also use ads and emails to promote our campaigns and blog articles.”
Putting this into practice requires a full content marketing strategy–something Growth Hackers‘ Jonathan Aufray says starts with “creating content such as blog posts, social media posts, infographics, emails, video content and more.”
But “you don’t want to stop at content creation and curation,” he says. “Content is king but distribution/promotion is queen.”
“For instance, you want to promote the content you created via social media and emails. If you created blog posts and landing pages, make sure your content is SEO-optimized. Thanks to content creation and distribution, your target audience and prospects will discover it. If your content is high-quality, you will generate leads and get sales calls from them.”
Kenneth Burke of Text Request also recommends to “improve your organic search results for targeted, high-value keywords.”
But no matter how you’re driving people to your website, Kenneth says: “You don’t just need more traffic, you need a higher percentage of the people who are searching for your specific solution coming to your site.”
…That’s how you encourage more inbound calls.
“The most effective way that we’ve increased inbound sales calls at Online Optimism is through paid search,” says Patrick Rafferty.
He explains: “Although we incorporate a number of different digital marketing strategies to lead people through our sales funnel, paid search is easily the most valuable method of increasing conversions and getting people to call.”
Fancy taking Patrick’s tip a step further?
Tommy Landry of Return On Now recommends to run call-only campaigns: “Yes, you can build PPC campaigns on Google Ads that are focused on driving calls directly to your business, as opposed to how most people use keywords and text ads to drive clicks to their website instead.”
“Think about it – if you take out the requirement to click through to the website, mobile users, in particular, can call you right from the SERP. This is where we see it work the best – smartphone searches.”
Tommy explains that “this type of campaign isn’t very difficult to set up. You need to first set up your phone number as a conversion action in AdWords. Then create a campaign set to ‘calls only’. And don’t forget to create a call extension just to be safe.”
Then, the main call-to-action of your new Google Ads campaign will be click-to-call–allowing you to catch the 88% of local searchers who call or visit the business within 24 hours.
But before you create a brand new campaign, Tommy has a neat trick to make reporting more accurate: “You can set the call conversions to only count after the calls last a pre-specified amount of time, perhaps 90 seconds. That way, you pay for the click on all calls, but don’t miscalculate conversions for silly things like accidental dials, requests for directions to your location, etc.”
Happy customers are a business’ best asset.
Not just because they drive revenue, but happy customers tend to spread the word to nine of their friends–making it a great source of new leads.
Referral Rock‘s Megan Mosley says you can capitalize on these happy customers by “creating a referral program.”
She says: “Your customers are basically setting you up with someone they know who needs your service, making it a fairly easy way to increase your inbound calls.”
The experts we surveyed also voted referrals as the most effective source for driving inbound sales calls:
Megan thinks this type of campaign takes the top spot because “referrals are twice as likely to convert to a sale. They are also a higher value of customer, so they are less likely churn.”
“Today’s marketers have gone gangbusters on digital marketing and so everyone’s inbox is flooded with promotions,” says Derek Marin of Simple Selling.
Take a look at your inbox to see this in-practice. Chances are, you have hundreds of promotions delivered to your inbox every week.
But instead of joining the army of marketers using email, Derek recommends to “take a step back and go the opposite way to garner attention and by this, I mean trying direct mail.”
You could deliver:
…via traditional mail, making sure you’ve included your contact number on the item you’re delivering.
That’s bound to help to multiply the number of inbound sales calls you’re getting from potential customers.
Sales Development Representatives have a job to bring more leads into your company’s sales pipeline.
CIENCE‘s Eric Quanstrom thinks this team of SDRs is “the most effective way to increase the number of sales calls for an inbound marketing team” because their sole responsibility is to “follow-up with and book appointments for your sales team.”
He explains: “Not only can you regulate quality (through SDR qualification processes), you perform an important function for prospects who are all busy and expect to hear back from a company quickly after expressing interest (form fills, chat, contact us emails). The ability to book effectively largely depends on the immediacy of reply.”
That’s a great way to catch (and please) the 82% of consumers who look for an immediate response from brands on marketing or sales questions.
“Plus, by giving sales only qualified calls on their calendar, you enable them to focus on their main job of selling,” Eric summarizes.
After using the techniques we’ve mentioned here, you should see a steady stream of inbound calls making their way to your sales team.
Don’t let your hard work go to waste by failing to convert them.
Lisa Chu of Black n Bianco says: “People have different personalities and needs by relying on a sales script it will hurt your chances of converting a sale because it feels disingenuous. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t be prepared with a strategy or plan.”
She recommends to “listen more than you talk and take the time to understand their perspective and needs.”
That’s always the sign of a successful sales rep.
Confused as to why we’re recommending to ask your customer for their phone number? They’re meant to be calling you, right?
BOOM Marketing Hungary‘s David Balogh has a “psychological trick” to encourage more inbound calls–and it starts with collecting the phone numbers of your hot leads.
He says: “When someone submits a form on our website and claims their free 30 min consultation from us (which is the first step in our sales process), we always ask for their phone number. This is to be sure that the prospect is serious enough… but the thing is, we NEVER call them.”
…So, what does David’s team do with the phone numbers they’ve collected?
“After someone submits the form we have a manual pre-check to segment the prospect based on their company. We then determine how could we help them, and send them an email with a meeting link, so they can book the time for the call,” he explains.
“If they don’t respond to our email series and/or don’t book a time with us, then we let them go. This way they call us, so in their mind we become the professionals whom they reached out to (instead of being the salespeople, who just called them to sell something).”
Since using this trick, David’s team have achieved a close rate “close to 70%, while before (when we called the prospects) only 2 out of 4 people got to the next stage.”
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