In today's digital world, the roles that the human voice and the phone call play in marketing and sales success have never been bigger. Calls have re-emerged as the most effective channel for generating high-quality leads and closing business.

Some 30 billion inbound sales calls were made to businesses in the US alone last year, and that number is expected to reach 70 billion by 2016, according to BIA/Kelsey. The surge in mobile device adoption and the continued growth in mobile advertising are partly responsible, driving an influx of sales calls into businesses. A 2013 study by Google found that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results. It makes sense: Tapping a click-to-call link on your smartphone is much easier and more natural than trying to fill out a Web form on your device's tiny screen.

That same Google study also found that 61% say it's important that businesses give them a phone number to call, and 33% would be less likely to use and refer brands that don't. Consumers see phone numbers as a sign that a business is trustworthy.

The data continues to mount. According BIA/Kelsey, 61% of businesses consider inbound phone calls to be excellent leads, more than any other type. It's why marketers are spending $68 billion annually on ads to generate those sought-after inbound sales calls: Phone calls mean revenue.

A Two-Fold Problem

The re-emergence of voice is forcing marketing and sales teams to acknowledge that they have a critical blind spot that is costing them business.

The problem is two-fold.

First, CMOs don't know what marketing programs are making their phones ring, and they can't attribute sales opportunities and revenue from those calls to the right sources. Without that data, marketing teams struggle to optimize campaigns, content, and marketing ROI to generate more of the phone leads that sales managers value most.

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image of Irv Shapiro

Irv Shapiro is CEO and CTO at DialogTech, a voice-based marketing automation company. He is responsible for overall business strategy and corporate leadership.