Call Generation: Acquiring Quality Leads at Scale

By EventNotesApril 9, 2019

Call generation can be confusing, can’t it?

Inbound leads, average call duration, TCPA compliance, live transfer leads —

If you’re thinking about using call generation in your business, you’re probably getting a ton of info and jargon thrown at you. It can be hard to understand what it all means, and harder still to figure out which strategies will work best for you.

Even the experts know how overwhelming it can be, which is why 4 of them came together on a panel to break down the basics.

Together, they came up with 9 winning strategies.

But first, some definitions.

There are 3 major types of calls:

  • Inbound calls (when a lead calls you): The holy grail of leads. These tend to be high-quality, high-intent (meaning they are interested in buying your product or service), and convert very well. The problem is they’re expensive, and therefore hard to scale.
  • Outbound calls (when you call a lead): These are cheaper, more scalable leads. They tend to be lower-quality because they have low intent and don’t convert as well. They can also be risky, because you have no control over how your partner sources them.
  • Live Transfer calls: This is when you partner with another call center to qualify your leads first and then send them over. The advantage here is that you don’t waste your team’s time on unqualified callers. However, as with outbound, you have less control over how these leads are sourced.

Great. Now that we’ve got the basic definitions out of way, let’s dive into it.

HOW TO: start and scale your own call generation campaign

1. Let customer behavior drive your call capacity

For example, people aren’t super-proactive about getting life insurance, so you’ll tend to rely on outbound calls. Upgrading internet services, on the other hand, generates more inbound calls. First, understand your consumer’s behavior, then build out your call center network to match.

Most likely, you will need a mix of all three — but be warned, call centers are either good at outbound calls or inbound calls, rarely both.

2. Choose multiple source channels based on where your customers spend their time

Never put all your eggs in one basket. Drive your calls from multiple channels that offer high-traffic, high-intent leads. Here’s a quick breakdown of the top channels:

  • Search: Generally high-intent, converts well, but not cheap. Over time, you can link keywords to call duration and optimize for duration, not just traffic.
  • Social: High-intent, but there’s an added challenge of monitoring compliance across your entire social media presence.
  • Offline (radio/TV): Highly scalable, but big up-front investment and heavy competition. Added challenge of attribution — if you start here, partner with an experienced agency.
  • Digital display: better for visual and/or experiential products, eg. games.

Most important factor: where will customers actually spend their time and see your offer? If you’re not sure, trace your callers back through their customer journey →


3. Metrics are critical to measuring success, but don’t forget that it ultimately comes down to margins

Metrics are important, but with too many you can lose sight of the ultimate goal. That being said, the basic strategy is to optimize for average call duration and hold the percentage of long-duration calls steady as you increase volume.

Top call generation metrics include:

  • Average connected duration — how long do the calls last? Theoretically, higher duration = higher quality
  • Average billable connected duration — the average duration of the calls the advertiser is actually paying for
  • Call to billable call rate — if you send a publisher 100 calls, how many convert?
  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA) — good partners will share this data with you so you can track which campaigns, channels, and partners are the most cost efficient

4. Use lifetime value to set different CPAs for inbound, outbound, and live transfer leads

Companies often mistakenly set a standard CPA for all calls; but not all calls are created equal. Inbound leads have higher conversions and lifetime value, so be willing to pay more for them.

Set price points for each call based on the average lifetime value of those customers.

There are ways to shift leads from outbound to inbound before they get on the call. One is SMS messages →


5. Use tech to automate everything up until the moment your sales rep gets the lead on the phone

The ultimate goal is inexpensive, scalable, consistent lead generation, right? That’s pretty much only possible with technology finding, qualifying, and connecting your leads to you.

You still need a human to close the sale, but leverage technology for everything else →

6. Instead of just generating leads, generate calls directly to lower your CPA

You have to follow up with leads on an outbound call, 65-75% of which you’ll lose when they don’t pick up. Or, you can just generate the call directly. This is especially helpful in expensive markets.

Of course, your leads can’t all be calls, but aim for a mix →


7. Overcommit to TCPA compliance, especially when outsourcing lead-gen and call centers

Make sure partners are finding your outbound leads legally, that you have TCPA consent on your landing pages, compliant scripts in your call centers, etc. Any one of these things could blow back on you. Compliance is expensive, but way less expensive than a class-action lawsuit.

Require your call centers to give you access to their calls so you know what is said to customers before they get transferred to you. If they refuse, that’s a warning sign.

Check all inbound lead data for CRM duplicates, valid email, phone number, addresses, etc.

8. Closely monitor call quality from your partners and offer regular feedback

One panelist listens to 10% of the calls himself, another has a quality assurance team.

Look for red flags — deviations from the script, high CPA, etc. Once you identify a problem, offer direct feedback to that partner.

Remember, launching a campaign is like having a baby: it’s not done once it’s born. You need to be proactive about nurturing it toward success.

9. Align your sales and marketing teams under the governance of data

Alignment is key — your teams need to be working towards the same goals & strategies, while customers need to hear a consistent narrative throughout their journey.

Whenever making a decision, go back to the data. It’s expensive, but data will drive the right decisions and prevent fighting over differing opinions →


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