There’s a rib place I love that has the most amazing sauce. It has an unexpected ingredient that makes it stand out from the rest:  anchovies. Yep, those little salted fish that typically end up on pizza. To be honest, don’t care for anchovies, but for some reason when they’re combined with the other ingredients in this barbeque sauce, it makes the flavor pop. What does this have to do with phone sales? I’m getting to that…

In this digital age people still pick up the phone and want to talk to people when they’re ready to do business. Answering your phone is like the anchovies in the sauce, and there are plenty of statistics to back this up:

A Consumer Reports survey revealed that almost 9 out of 10 people said their biggest gripe is not getting a human on the phone when they call and nearly as many expressed frustration that there were often too many buttons to push when they got an automated phone system. People want to talk to people not to machines and many won’t even leave a voicemail because they don’t think they’ll be heard. Imagine how pleasantly surprised your potential callers will be when they actually talk to a real person!

Our friends at InsideSales found that 35-50% of sales go to the business that connects to an inbound lead first. That means if a lead is calling, and you answer the phone, your chances of landing that sale go up considerably!

There’s a lot of interest in digital marketing and lead generation, and for good reason. It’s the best way to generate tons of leads cost-effectively. The digital age has helped advertising agencies zero in on their target audience with more precision than ever before. Digital tools like SEO, retargeting, lead tracking, and social media have revolutionized the ability to stay in front of your potential customers and keep tabs on shifts in interests and cultural vibes.

Digital marketing and advertising finds and attracts customers to your business, and companies like CallRail can provide instantaneous insight about when and where your customers are responding, but what happens when they want to talk to somebody? Are you ready for them?

Here’s the deal: all of this data tells you lots of things about your customers, but you need something more to land them. For most businesses that something is actually a someone. People want to do business with people, and when they’re ready to do business more and more people are stepping out of the digital stream and doing something very ‘old school.’ They pick up their phone and call you. Smartphones have become the new norm for doing online searches, but people have started to do something strange and unexpected with those small screens and keyboards once they get their search results. They click and call the business, and very often those calls are made after your normal working hours.

Recent information from Google indicates that 70% of mobile searchers have used click to call to connect with a business directly from the search engine results page, 57% of those people called because they wanted to talk to a real person, and 61% said it was extremely/very important to be able to call the business during their purchase decision. It’s clear that people want to do business with people, and if you don’t answer your phone they’ll find someone who will. Guess who’s more likely to get that sale?

As a marketing or advertising company you owe it to your customers to discuss what happens when you’re successful at finding and attracting new leads into your customer’s sales funnel. Is your client ready to handle the call traffic to capture and qualify these leads when your efforts actually work? If not, then way too many of those great leads will be wasted, because all sales funnels leak. You need to offer them solutions to stop, or at least minimize, those leaks.

To be honest, most businesses don’t have the ability to hire people to answer the phone or handle inbound lead interactions 24x7x365, so wasted leads happen all the time. It doesn’t have to be that way. With companies like HelloSells, any business can be ready to say “Hello” whenever the phone rings. And nothing sells better than human interaction. As part of your team they can provide you with skilled Lead Interaction Agents to represent your business with a warm and friendly voice to screen and pre-qualify your leads and then seamlessly live transfer those leads, or set a follow up appointment for your sales team. Then, with the click of a button, push that lead information directly into your CRM—all in one call.

When your marketing strategies work and the leads start flowing make sure there’s someone always there to respond. That’s the secret ingredient that will make sales pop!

Jerry Stitzel is the Customer Solution Hero at HelloSells, a multi-channel lead capture and qualification service that applies the human touch to grow your marketing ROI.