Many decades ago, the arrival of the telephone in the office was a radical step. But now, many debate as to whether we still need a landline.

The answer is yes, and here’s a couple of ways that you can use that archaic piece of equipment to improve your marketing’s performance.

As we all move the majority of our business operations and marketing online, the telephone has earned somewhat of a whimsical, old-fashioned reputation, seldom used by today’s ‘hip’ marketers.

But in reality, the telephone continues to be the frontline of many businesses and plays an integral role in closing sales.

The reason for this purely because prospects prefer picking up a telephone and making a call rather than going through an online form filling-in process, simply because for them, it is a quicker and easier way to get specific information and the answers that they’re looking for.

In many instances, even if a prospect has engaged with a piece of digital advertising pointing to an online enquiry form, they’ll still want to pick up the telephone and talk to a human being.

This is especially true for businesses who offer complex and higher priced services and products as a prospect is far more likely to call to talk through any anxieties or reservations they might have before parting with their cash.

So if the telephone plays an important role in the path to purchase, why aren’t more businesses tracking this form of consumer response?

What tools are available to help businesses extract information from their telephone calls and how can this data boost their overall marketing’s performance?

Here I’ll identify three core tools for improving your online and offline marketing activities.

1. ROI evaluation for offline and online marketing

Call tracking is the only software out there that can tell you how your offline marketing is performing. By placing unique trackable phone numbers across your spread of marketing, both online and offline, you’ll achieve a fair comparison of the performance of every single channel of marketing.

For instance, if a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign is generating less leads than a print advertising campaign, you might consider adjusting spend on your PPC or revising your choice of target keywords. You could even consider apportioning more of your budget into print advertising.

Plus, call tracking software can easily be integrated with Google Analytics and Google AdWords making it much easier to analyse the full picture of conversions and see where ROI is being achieved.

2. Call recording: improve your sales conversations

Call recording will benefit any business of any size.

By listening back to calls, managers can identify problems in the sales language, lack of knowledge about products or services and therefore whether staff training is needed.

Ultimately, call recording captures two core elemnts: the quality of the conversation and the lead’s source.

This valuable information tells marketers whether a lead is worth pursuing and if the lead source is producing quality leads. As a result, marketers will know whether certain channels are working, are worth the continued investment or whether their sales messaging needs improving.

You shouldn’t view call recording as an invasion of privacy. It’s helped many businesses use first hand sources to see where they’re going wrong with their pitches.

3. Accurately attribute leads

Measuring where every single lead comes from is a huge challenge for most marketers. But being able to attribute which keywords are leading to phone calls, and more importantly which of these calls are converting is extremely important.

Most website call tracking software will collect data such as the source of the lead, pages visited, keywords, ad campaigns and the phone calls themselves and attribute them to the right conversion path.

This will ensure that you apply the correct lead and sale to the correct inbound or outbound marketing method.

Plus, by building up an accurate picture of data along the path to conversion, you’ll be able to understand your consumers behaviour which in turn can be used to assess where advertising and marketing spends are best placed to generated high quality leads that really convert.

The data can also reveal important insights about demographics – one example might be which advertising campaigns perform better or worse in different areas of the country – as well as more detailed information such as whether radio adverts perform better in city or suburban environments.

Advanced call reporting across all channels turns raw data into clear signals and signposts to a successful marketing solution.

So the next time you close a sale over the phone, think about the valuable information you could have learned from tracking that call.