How do I track offline phone sales?

4 tools that give you a fuller view of your online marketing spend

If your business receives a high volume of inbound sales calls referred from your website, then tying your telesales function into your marketing metrics is absolutely crucial to ensure you understand the overall performance of your online marketing spend. This key marketing requirement has led to different call tracking measurement tools being created and made available to marketers which I'll introduce in this post.

Why integrate call tracking?

Call tracking measurement has often been something restricted to a sales manager giving them an understanding of volume of inbound calls and then looking at the conversion rate to sale, generally broken down by agent. However as marketers, we need to understand what made a customer call in the first place. When we understand this we can make (more) educated decisions on marketing spend.

Without call tracking in place, if we look purely at online sale (or leads) we can very easily leave the wrong type or level of spend running, or turn the right spend off. Such tools and data have become an even larger requirement as the budgets in channels such as Pay Per Click increased, leaving marketers with a huge gap in what would otherwise be solid online analytics. Such tracking tools can be configured to tell you right down to the keyword what has generated inbound calls and even which keywords that generated call also became a sale too.

Image courtesy of Infinity Tracking

How do these call tracking tools work?

In short, these systems work a little like Google's campaign tracking within Google Analytics. The software appends links to your website with a particular piece of code which will swap a unique phone number out across your website (or part of the site) for different media channels. When this specific phone number is called it will trigger various counts & tracking devices within the call software to give you, the marketer, the information you require. If you then append this information to your CRM the data can be attributed to a specific person and all their previous, and future actions. The tools are now extremely sophisticated and link to various online tools whether that be the paid search channels or CRM software the data can be used to great, great effect.

Some of the most widely used calling tracking tools on the market

Things to consider

When choosing which platform, or indeed if you even need a platform you should consider the following items.

Cost vs Benefit

Each platform comes at a cost, as does the integration into your systems. Depending on how simple or complex this becomes and the level you want to track to will determine your setup and ongoing costs. You should always reflect on these from an ROI point of view. Do you have the resource and knowledge to make good use of the data and therefore generate better ROI in marketing as a result. My sense would be to start small and build up as needed.

Google Analytics Integration

A hugely popular analytics package for all types of websites, a lot of call tracking tools integrate their reporting to Google Analytics meaning the ability to have all your "online" performance metrics in one place. Just a small way to reduce the amount of admin.

CRM Integration

A single view of the customer is crucial for any volume, repeat purchase businesses. Having marketing / call related data against a customer profile which should have basic demographic information as well as previous purchase and contact history against it is a must have. Couple that with the ability to see which page a person was viewing when the called as well as the advert or keyword they came to the site on means your team are armed with data to engage with the customer. Most call tracking software now integrates with the larger CRM platforms and if not have good API's so you can build your own.

Offline Marketing Tracking

Offline marketing such as billboards, magazine, brochures etc can all be a crucial touch point in a consumers journey and will trigger website visits or phone calls. Both can be tracked (online) and through intelligent call tracking software. Assigning a unique phone number to an advert or brochure as well as assigning a unique URL will give you visibility on the touch points that have traditionally been harder to track.

Attribution modeling

Anyone who works (even a little) in Analytics will have undoubtedly gone through the first heard, last heard media reporting questions and even arrived where most of us do which is to assign a % of each sale to the related touch points. The more sophisticated call tracking software will help you understand the consumers touch points to purchase which when aggregated up will allow you to make better marketing channel decisions. This nifty overview from Google will help you understand attribution modeling a little more.

I hope this post helps, particularly if you were unaware these tools exist - we still get questions about them. If you've used other tools you can recommend, please call them out in the comments.

Share your thoughts

  • Chuks commented on June 3, 2015

    Call tracking has been around for quite some years now although many companies are still hanging on to using it. It allows companies to add phone numbers to specific online or offline marketing campaigns and utilize them to their needs so that they can accurately track calls, evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns in real time and make informed decisions to maximize ROI. Ringostat, which helps businesses optimize their revenue generation through call analytics and automation, currently offers a one year free start-up program for start-up techs.

  • Hi – I’ve worked with AdInsight for a couple of years – like the technology and the company. It works well and can be customised to pass data back to the tracking system regarding whether the call a lead / sale etc. If someone reuses a phone number (ie offline) then it’s naturally not tied back to a visit but it is a good proxy for the original channel used (ie PPC numbers are only recycled for traffic from PPC and not display etc).

    It’s great to test what number formats work (0800 vs geographical); what media drives higher exit rates and higher / lower call rates; what content is effective (or not) at driving online or offline sales etc.

    Naomi – I’d be keen to hear more about your solution and how it captures data from campaign source to page views (for each Visit) whilst keeping the original phone number.

  • All of these solutions are missing 2 very important features: 1. Keeping the branded phone number and 2. What happens after the call.
    My partner and I developed a solution that enables the advertiser to keep it’s original number and also send data to Google Analytics if the call ended in a sale (so you can see the results of each call on Google Analytics)

  • Guest commented on October 18, 2012

    Integrated marketing approaches need integrated tracking and analytics capability. Call tracking has matured so much over the last 5 years it really is a very viable opportunity for marketing to analyse and define ROI of both online and offline.

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