Marketing Metrics That Matter: Lead Score for Inbound Phone Calls 

Blair Symes Senior Director of Content Marketing, DialogTech

At its core, the idea behind data-driven marketing is simple. You measure the performance of your marketing channels and activities, then you optimize for what drives the best results while eliminating tactics that aren’t working. That’s really all it is.  

But where data-driven marketing gets complicated is with the data itself. There is just so much of it available to marketers now, it can be hard to know which metrics matter and how best to use them. We all look at performance metrics like website traffic and KPIs (key performance indicators) like cost per lead. But are there other data points that you aren’t leveraging that could help you improve your marketing ROI, grow revenue, and gain a competitive advantage?

This blog explains one marketing metric — lead score for inbound phone calls — you may be overlooking and how you could use it to drive better results from your marketing. 

What Is a Lead Score for Phone Calls to a Business?

Most marketers are familiar with the concept of lead scoring for website-driven leads. It’s the process of assigning a value to each online lead you generate from your marketing channels and ad spend. Often a lead score is reflected as a numeric value, where a higher score indicates a higher quality of sales lead. But some marketers prefer to use categories like Hot, Warm, or Cold for online leads to keep things simple. 

A lead score for the phone calls your business receives works the same way. It is a score assigned to each call that indicates how valuable a sales lead they are and how likely they are to convert to a sales opportunity or customer. The difference is that while an online lead is often scored based on if the contact has the right job title and works for the right type of company, a phone lead score uses AI to analyze actual conversations and provides a far more accurate measure of a lead’s intent and value.

AI unlocks a wide range of marketing insights from phone conversations

Why Does Getting a Lead Score for Inbound Phone Calls Matter?

Chances are phone calls from consumers play an important role in the customer journey for your business. For industries like automotive, insurance, healthcare, home services, travel, tech, and financial services, consumers often engage by calling to ask questions, book appointments, and finalize purchasing decisions.

And while those calls are often the most valuable conversions your marketing can generate, not every call is a qualified lead. Many will be calls for customer support, solicitations, spam, and other non-sales-related inquiries — not the type of conversion you want to allocate marketing budget to drive. 

Also, for most businesses, not every legitimate sales lead is valued the same. For example, many marketers would rather generate sales leads from consumers that are further along in the buying process and ready to convert right away. Or perhaps your business offers products or services for a wide range of prices — in which case, it makes sense that you would value calls for the higher-priced offerings more and would want to know what channels and campaigns are best at generating them.  

So while many marketers use call tracking to understand the number of phone calls their marketing generates, valuing each of those calls the same can still lead to misleading metrics — perhaps even grossly inaccurate data. And having inaccurate data can be as damaging to data-driven marketing as no data at all. 

That’s why getting a lead score for each call your marketing delivers is important. Lead scoring helps marketing teams determine what activities drive the most valuable phone leads, so you can more accurately prove your marketing’s impact on business results and make smarter optimizations to drive growth. Your call center, sales teams, and locations answering calls can also benefit from phone lead scoring, as it enables them to prioritize callers for follow-up and improve the rate at which those leads become customers.

How Does DialogTech’s Phone Lead Scoring Work?

If you are interested in capturing phone lead scores, a conversation intelligence platform like DialogTech can help. It uses AI to analyze phone conversations from every call generated by your marketing to detect hundreds of potential insights specific to your business, including caller intent, product or service interest, purchase urgency, conversion outcome, and much more. 

DialogTech will work with you to select which of these insights matter to your marketing goals and how much each one should be valued compared to the others. Then, when they occur on a call, DialogTech assigns the right positive or negative numeric value to each one and adds them all up, providing a lead score for the call ranging from 0 to 10 (the minimum and maximum lead scores, regardless of the individual sum of the points from the call).

Sample DialogTech report showing phone lead score and other metrics

For example, if you run paid search marketing for a hospital or healthcare system, your goal might be to generate appointments from first-time patients. You might also care more about appointments for certain higher-value services. So for your lead score, you could assign positive values to first-time callers looking to book appointments for those preferred services and assign negative values to callers who were not potential new patients. 

Or if you were in charge of marketing for an auto dealer group, your goal might be to generate leads for both vehicle sales and service appointments. But you might value leads for vehicle sales the most — especially those for new, higher-priced vehicles. You would therefore assign higher scores to attributes indicative of these insights.

Sample of insights DialogTech detects from conversations and their potential lead score

How Can Marketers Use Phone Lead Scores to Improve Results?

Once you start capturing phone leads scores, there are many ways marketers can use them to drive better business results. Here are 5 examples to illustrate.

1. Prove How Well You Are Driving Valuable Phone Leads

“Marketing isn’t sending us good leads.” We’ve all heard that before. It’s a gripe marketers face at every business and agency. Your call center agents, sales teams, franchise locations, or customers (if you are an agency) claim you aren’t sending them enough leads — or any leads at all.

Proving them wrong, however, can be a challenge if you don’t have accurate data on both lead quantity and quality. Being able to use phone lead scores to show your executives, sales agents, locations, franchisees, or agency clients not only how many calls you are sending them, but also the quality of those leads, can go a long way to establishing your credibility and value. 

Plus, if there really is a problem with lead delivery for a particular location or customer, you can verify that too and take corrective action to improve results. 

Sample DialogTech report showing phone lead scores and other metrics for locations receiving calls

2. Compare the Value of Your Marketing Channels and Optimize Accordingly

It’s important for marketers to understand what channels, campaigns, ads, keywords, webpages, and other sources drive high volumes of valuable leads. A phone lead score can help you see what sources are providing the most valuable engagements — and which aren’t. You can then make smarter optimization decisions to drive more high-value conversions at the lowest cost per lead.

Sample DialogTech report showing what website pages drive the most valuable phone leads

3. Use Phone Lead Scores to Improve Results from Google Ads Smart Bidding

If your business values inbound calls, you can also use Google Ads Smart Bidding to optimize for offline conversions like phone calls. By passing phone lead scores into Google Ads, Google can take into account each call’s value and optimize for what drives the more valuable conversions. For example, if you are using Google’s “Target ROAS” strategy, Google can include phone lead scores in its algorithms as a factor in determining the value driven by your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. It can then make better decisions to drive more valuable conversions (such as calls for higher-priced offerings or leads that convert on the first call) for your target ad spend. 

Sample Google Ads report that includes conversation intelligence data from DialogTech

4. Have Phone Lead Scores Determine the Next Best Action for Each Caller

You can use each caller’s phone lead score to help automate how best to market to them next. For example:

  • For leads at the bottom (lead scores of 0 through 2), you can suppress them from seeing any more of your ads. They aren’t the type of engagement you want to spend budget to generate.
  • For leads on the lower end (lead scores of 3 and 4), you might decide to only put them into email nurture campaigns. That way you don’t ignore them, but you also don’t spend more budget advertising to them until they indicate they are more ready to convert.
  • For leads that score in the upper-middle (lead scores of 5 through 7), you can retarget them with search, social, and display ads for the product/service they called about to get them to re-engage and convert. 
  • For your best leads — the ones that score high (lead scores of 8 through 10) and most likely most converted on the call — you can add them to your lookalike audiences in Google Ads, Facebook, and display. It’s a great way to extend the reach of your marketing to target new and potentially high-value customers likely in the market for your offerings.

5. Use Hot Lead Alerts to Help Sales Teams Recover Lost Revenue Opportunities

Phone lead scores can be used to help your sales teams and locations close more of the leads you send them — which in turn helps your marketing ROI. If a shopper calls and has a phone lead score indicating they are a great lead — but the location or call center agent failed to convert them on the call — DialogTech can send your sales managers or locations an email alert providing that caller’s information. That way, the call center or location can call the lead back and hopefully recover what is otherwise a lost sales opportunity. 

Example of a phone lead alert from DialogTech

Learn More About What Marketing Metrics Are Available from Phone Calls

Download our ebook, The 10 Call Analytics Reports That Will Change Your Marketing, to see examples of AI-driven conversation intelligence reports you can use to make smarter marketing decisions.

Download our ebook, The 10 Call Analytics Reports That Will Change Your Marketing, to see examples of AI-driven conversation intelligence reports you can use to make smarter marketing decisions.

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