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What is a Phone Extension? (Benefits & Use Cases)

It’s easy for important calls to get lost in the shuffle or for customers to get frustrated when trying to reach the right person. This is especially true if you don’t have the right call management solution in place.

Enter: VoIP phone extensions.

With this solution, you provide callers with a direct line to their desired destination. And this helps to enhance the customer’s experience and streamline internal communication.

In this article, we’ll discuss how a small combination of numbers can make a big impact on your organization’s communication strategy. So let’s get started!

What is a Phone Extension?

A phone extension is a feature that identifies a specific phone line or device within your business phone system. It typically consists of 3-5 digits and allows callers to directly connect to a destination without interacting with a receptionist.

You can assign a unique VoIP extension to individual users, teams, and departments. This feature makes it easy for employees to quickly get in touch with other internal teams. And, it saves your customers time, as they don’t have to bounce between departments to find the right destination.

How Do Phone Line Extensions Work?

The way phone extensions work is very straightforward.

After callers dial your main phone number, they can enter the extension digits for the desired department or agent. Once the extension is dialed, your system identifies the associated line or user. Then, the call is routed to the destination assigned to that extension. And if the recipients do not answer, the call may be forwarded to voicemail.

While callers can bypass your automated system by entering the extension, it’s important to note that you can also incorporate this feature within your cloud IVR. So when callers select a specific menu option, the call is routed to the assigned extension.

Here are 2 examples of a phone extension in action:

Let’s say you assign extension #011 to your support team.

If a caller wants to contact your support staff directly, they would first dial your main business phone number. When the call connects, the caller then types in the phone extension number is routed straight to the support department.

Now if one of your sales agents wants to get in touch with the support staff, the process looks a little different. Instead of dialing the entire main phone number, internal employees and teams simply have to dial the extension.

An example of phone extensions.

Cloud Phone Numbers vs Phone Extensions

Internet-based numbers and phone extensions share similarities. For instance, they both forward calls to an endpoint and can be managed remotely.

But, there are some key differences between them.

Here are the major differences between cloud numbers and phone extensions:

  • IP numbers function independently, whereas extensions are essentially an addition to your main phone line and rely on it to work.
  • While cloud-based numbers have an associated IP address, extensions do not as they operate within your business network.
  • VoIP providers charge for cloud phone numbers with prices varying from service to service. However, extensions are usually free with an IP-based number.

Why Do Businesses Need a Phone Extension Feature? [Benefits]

Phone extensions are not only beneficial for your teams, but also for customers and prospects looking to get in touch with your business. And this is because it gives callers, whether internal or external, a simple and direct way to reach the right destination.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of getting an extension for your departments, teams, and employees:

  • Allow internal teams to quickly and easily connect with each other
  • Route calls efficiently to correct destination without needing a receptionist
  • Establish a professional business image
  • Save costs since extensions are less expensive than individual phone lines
  • Lower call handling costs
  • Offer callers quick access to their desired destination
  • Reduce wait times and caller frustration
  • Help businesses manage high call volumes
  • Improve customer experience as quick access means faster resolutions
  • Provide callers with a consistent communication experience

How Can Your Business Use VoIP Extensions? [Use Cases]

You can use a phone extension in a variety of ways within your business communication system. Here are some use cases:

• Internal communication: Phone extensions allow employees to easily connect and collaborate with each other, making it a great solution for internal communication.

• Customer service: With extensions, you can ensure that customers get the help they need quickly and efficiently by giving them a direct method of communication with your employees and departments.

• Sales: Sales teams can use this feature to handle incoming calls from leads, prospects, and customers. And they can add their personal extension to pitches and emails to encourage prospects to reach out.

• Departmental organization: Using phone extensions, you can organize departments within your business phone system by giving each department its own extension to manage incoming calls.

• Remote work: This feature helps you connect remote workers to the main office phone system, allowing them to make and receive calls as if they were in the office.

How to Set Up a Phone Extension

The VoIP phone extension setup process will vary depending on your specific communication service. So, make sure to ask your chosen provider what the setup process looks like.

For Global Call Forwarding users, you’ll first need to contact our team with a list of all the users you want to set up phone extensions for. Then, our team will create 9-digit SIP pins for each requested user.

Once our dedicated reps finish, you can continue the setup process through our online control panel and IVR manager using the following steps:

  1. Log in to your Control Panel.
  2. Click on Phone Numbers.
  3. Choose a phone service line and click on Settings.
  4. Select Call Forwarding from the horizontal menu and click IVR.
  5. Then, click on the orange Manage IVR Applications button.
  6. Choose Create New Application.
  7. Select User Input. Here you can add a prompt, toggle the interruptible feature, and select the max wait and repeat times.
  8. Scroll to the bottom of the User Input window and click on the New Code option.
  9. Create and enter a 3-5 digit phone extension and hit Apply.
  10. Then, select Phone Call from the application window.
  11. In the Destination field, select the 9-digit SIP pin of the user you want to associate with the entered extension. You can also enter a landline or mobile phone number.
  12. Hit Close.
  13. Repeat steps 8-12 for every extension you want to configure.
  14. When you’re done, name the application and hit Save Application at the top.

Now when customers call your business, they can enter the phone extension of their desired destination and your system will direct them accordingly.

How to set up phone extensions.

A screenshot showing examples of the proper format for a phone extension.

An image of VoIP phone extensions.

Get Unlimited Phone Extensions for Your Business

Ready to get phone extensions for your business? Global Call Forwarding offers unlimited extensions with any of our 5 business plans. We provide local, international, national, and toll-free numbers from over 160+ countries worldwide.

In addition, you also get:

  • Access to 20+ advanced call management features
  • Dedicated account managers and 24/7 support options
  • A 99.999% uptime guarantee and a highly redundant network
  • Fast activation times, provisioning, and setup
  • Over 25 years of telecom experience and more!

Get started today by signing up online. Or learn more about our unlimited VoIP phone extension solution by either speaking with our team of experts at (561) 908-6171 or chatting with us online!

Guide to Inbound Phone Numbers

Inbound phone numbers are versatile business tools. They can help with everything from establishing a local presence in a foreign country to modernizing your current phone system.

But, what exactly are they? And how do they work? We’ll answer these questions and more in this article. So, let’s jump right in.

What are Inbound Phone Numbers?

An inbound phone number is a cloud-based number that allows you to receive inbound calls and forward them to any device or location.

These numbers go by many names including:

So, what’s the difference between regular phone numbers and cloud-based ones? The answer lies mainly in the way they transmit calls.

Regular phone numbers rely on traditional telecom networks and physical connections to deliver calls. And they are assigned to a fixed device or phone line, meaning they are typically tied to one location.

On the other hand, virtual inbound phone numbers use VoIP technology and the internet to connect calls worldwide. And instead of being assigned to one device or line, they are linked to a user’s account. This means they are not confined to one specific geographical location or device. So, you can handle calls from anywhere.

How Do These Numbers Work?

In addition to using VoIP technology and an IP network, inbound phone numbers also rely on call forwarding capabilities to transmit voice calls globally. With this capability, incoming calls are automatically rerouted to one or multiple destinations.

This can include:

  • Alternate phone numbers
  • Phone extensions
  • SIP addresses
  • PBX systems
  • Specific devices (deskphones, mobile phones, etc.)
  • Remote teams
  • Voicemails and so on.

And you can set up advanced rules to forward calls based on the time of day, the day of the week, caller ID, and more.

Here’s a quick glimpse into how routing calls can improve operational efficiency:

Now, let’s review how the international forwarding process works.

When someone dials your inbound phone number, the call first connects to your provider’s network. Once your number is identified, the provider automatically routes the call according to your configured forwarding rules and settings.

What is an inbound phone number?

This allows you to receive incoming calls from customers all around the world – including places where you’re not physically present.

Here’s an example of international call forwarding:

Let’s say your business is located in the US, but you have a growing customer base in APAC. You could get an inbound phone number from Japan and forward all incoming calls to this number to your US headquarters. So when your local customers in Japan call your Japan inbound number, the call will automatically reroute to your US branch.

This not only allows your business to easily establish a local presence in foreign countries, but also boosts your accessibility and availability to international customers.

Types of Inbound Phone Numbers

When looking for a cloud-based number, it’s important to note that there are different types of inbound phone numbers available on the market. And this is because each type of number serves a specific purpose.

To ensure you choose the right inbound number type for your communication needs, let’s break down each one.

Local / geographic numbers

  • Assigned to specific cities and geographical locations in a country
  • Includes the region’s local area code
  • Can be reached from outside the country
  • Charged at local calling rates
  • More recognizable among locals

Good for – Establishing a local presence in another country or city, increasing connection and response rates, and localization marketing strategies.

International toll-free numbers

  • Reachable from within a specific country
  • Free for callers to dial from within the origin country
  • Recipient (your business) pays for calls
  • Includes regional toll-free prefixes

Good for – Sales and support teams, help desk hotlines, boosting your accessibility, encouraging consumers to contact you, and adding credibility to your business.

National / non-geographic numbers

  • Tied to a specific country or nation instead of a specific city
  • Reachable worldwide
  • Charged the same as local numbers (local calling rates)

Good for – Developing a nationwide presence instead of a citywide one and avoiding strict documentation associated with local numbers.

Mobile numbers

  • Known as cell phone numbers
  • Reachable from anywhere in the world
  • May come with incoming SMS capabilities

Good for – Employee’s direct phone numbers and including in outreach materials to encourage customers to contact you.

Why Get Inbound Phone Numbers for Your Business? [12 Benefits]

VoIP technology and hosted phone numbers have revolutionized the way businesses communicate with their customers and prospects. And this is because cloud communication solutions, like inbound numbers, offer a wide range of benefits to users. So, let’s take a look at the top 12 benefits of investing in inbound phone numbers.

  1. Save big on international and long-distance calling fees
  2. Experience higher-quality voice calls
  3. Effectively handle inbound calls with access to call management features
  4. Receive calls at any location and on any device
  5. Maintain business continuity with improved reliability and redundancy
  6. Expand to new target markets cost-effectively and with minimal risk
  7. Easily scale your cloud phone service to reflect business needs
  8. Increase functionality and modernize existing systems, including legacy and on-premise
  9. Connect international, remote, and distributed teams
  10. Forward calls anywhere in the world
  11. Increase connection rates and inbound sales
  12. Simple setup with no additional hardware required

Advanced Business Calling Features

Most VoIP providers, like Global Call Forwarding, offer add-on services and advanced features with their communication solutions. These additional cloud tools work to maximize the functionality of your inbound phone numbers and help businesses better manage their calls.

Here are some key features to look for when browsing cloud number plans:

  • Advanced IVR – automatically handle and route incoming calls using prompts and rules
  • Outbound Callingplace outbound calls using your inbound line
  • Softphones / Web Phones – make and receive calls from any location or device
  • Caller ID Management – customize your outbound caller ID by hiding or masking it
  • Call Routing – route calls based on time of day, caller ID, number dialed, holidays, etc.
  • Call Recording – record all calls and easily play back recordings
  • Failover Forwarding – forward calls to backup destinations if first location is unavailable
  • Greetings & Voicemails – personalize your phone system to fit your brand identity
  • VoIP Integrations – connect your PBX or CRM to your inbound phone numbers.

How to Buy Inbound Phone Numbers?

By now, you’re probably wondering how to buy inbound phone numbers for your business. The great news is that the solution is intuitive, making it easy to get started.

Let’s break it down into 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Identify target countries

Consider what countries, regions, or markets you need and want phone numbers for.

Step 2: Select a phone number type

Review types of inbound phone numbers available and their differences (listed above). Then, compare those options to your business communication needs and goals.

Step 3: Find a reliable provider

This is the most important step when purchasing inbound phone numbers, as not all cloud services are created equal. The provider you choose will directly affect the quality and reliability of your global inbound phone service. And since there are many options available on the market, this step requires in-depth research to ensure you select the best solution for your needs.

So, look at each provider’s offerings carefully. Specifically, consider:

    • Pricing plans
    • Setup charges and hidden fees
    • Available services, features, and add-ons
    • Country coverage
    • Network reliability, failover strategies, and uptime guarantee
    • Activation times
    • Documentation and setup requirements
    • Long-term commitments or contracts
    • Compatibility with existing equipment and third-party applications
    • Customer and technical support services
    • Years of telecom experience and so on.

Then, select the provider that can support your communication goals and criteria.

Step 4: Sign up for your inbound phone numbers

Typically, you can sign up for hosted numbers online through your provider’s website. Simply select your desired countries, number types, and prefixes. Then, sign up for your inbound numbers and wait for your service to be activated.

Get Inbound Phone Numbers with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding provides local, international toll-free, national, and mobile inbound phone numbers from over 160+ countries worldwide. And with over 5 pricing plans to choose from, businesses of all sizes and industries can select the one that works best for them.

With our inbound phone service, we offer all users:

  • Access to 20+ advanced cloud communication features
  • Dedicated account managers and 24/7 support options
  • A 99.999% uptime guarantee and a highly redundant network
  • Fast activation times, provisioning, and setup
  • Over 25 years of telecom experience and more!

Get started today by signing up online. Or learn more about inbound phone numbers by either speaking with our team of experts at (561) 908-6171 or chatting with us online!

What are Call Logs? Benefits of Call Logging Software

Looking to optimize and improve your business communication management? Call logging provides valuable insights into your phone activity through a process of capturing, tracking, and analyzing call data.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the following topics:

Let’s get started!

Explained: What is Call Logging?

Call logging is the process of documenting your phone and call history. And this means collecting essential call data and recording all phone activity that occurs on a certain network, such as your business phone service.

So, what type of information gets collected?

The type of information that’s collected varies among providers. But, typically it includes a variety of call metadata that provides insight into how your teams and customers communicate.

This includes data such as:

  • Date and time
  • Call duration (seconds or minutes)
  • Caller ID
  • Direction of call (inbound or outbound)
  • Location of call origination and destination
  • Destination number or number dialed
  • Outcome of call or reason for call ending
  • Type of call (toll-free, local, etc.)
  • Cost per call and total charge
  • Features used (SMS forwarding, call recording, etc.)
  • Call journey (extensions, IVR, etc.)

However, one thing these records do not include is the contents of your phone calls or texts.

What are Call Logs?

While call logging is the process of capturing and organizing data, call logs are where the above-mentioned information is stored. In other words, you can access essential call details by reviewing your call logs or call detail records.

If you’re using call logging software, most providers store your records in online portals or send them to you with your monthly bill. And they remain available to administrators on your network forever, so you can access them as needed.

Manual vs Automatic Logging

Now, you can log calls either manually or automatically. Let’s break down what these methods look like.

Manual logging involves inputting call activity and info into a spreadsheet or CRM by hand. And this takes place either during the call or directly following it. As a result, this method is prone to human errors and is often time-consuming for teams. But, it may be useful for small businesses or individuals who only make or receive a few calls per day.

On the other hand, automatic logging happens passively, meaning the call logging process is completely automated. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and the possibility of human errors, making it more reliable and efficient. So, your teams can focus on helping the customer rather than reporting call analytics accurately.

You can implement this automated method by using call logging software, which is typically offered by VoIP providers like Global Call Forwarding. But, it’s important to note that even with this application you might have to manually input call data into other business tools like your CRM. That’s why you should look for a solution that integrates with your other apps.

For example, VoIP CRM integrations typically use two-way automatic synchronization technology. In most cases, customers choose how often they want their data to sync across platforms; for instance, every 10 or 30 mins.

So, you can set up phone call activity to automatically appear in both your VoIP system and CRM. This removes the need to manually input call history and data into either of these systems, resulting in a more efficient, accurate, and reliable way to track call data.

Benefits of Call Logging Software

Call logging software not only streamlines your team’s workflow but also provides valuable insights into how your network is used. With your call detail records, you can determine network patterns, customer behaviors and preferences, team performance, successes, areas in need of improvement, and more. So, your teams can better prepare for their calls and you can build a more effective service.

Here are the benefits of using call logging software:

  1. Automate menial tasks
  2. Keep track of vital data easily
  3. Improve call management and data entry accuracy
  4. Increase operational efficiency
  5. Enhance caller experience and service quality
  6. Optimize employee productivity and performance
  7. Integrate with CRMs and other business tools for maximum efficiency
  8. Measure ROI of business calls and marketing campaigns

An image with call logging use cases.

Call Logging Use Cases

How you choose to use your call logging software and records completely depends on your needs and goals. Here we will go over a few common use cases of call logging, including:

  1. Personalizing customer experiences
  2. Tracking employee performance
  3. Identifying new target markets
  4. Monitoring call center patterns and variations
  5. Encouraging team collaboration

So, let’s jump in!

Personalize Customer Experiences

Use call history and records to learn more about your customers’ needs, leading to more effective sales and support interactions. Monitor and track calling patterns, trends, behaviors, preferences, and more to deliver better experiences.

And consider integrating call logging software with your CRM to quickly access customer information, including previous interactions, purchase history, and contact details. This way, you can provide personalized support interactions and B2B sales pitches.

Track Employee Performance

Monitor and evaluate your team’s performance by reviewing data like call duration, number of calls handled, and so on. This will provide insight into call quality, areas of improvement, and more. And based on the data, you can then offer training and coaching as needed to help agents hit their goals.

Identify New Target Markets

Review your call history to see where your inbound calls are coming from. Pay attention to regions or countries your business is not currently serving. If these areas are generating a lot of calls, consider expanding your business and services there.

Monitor Call Center Patterns and Variations

Use call data to determine calling patterns and fluctuations on your network. This helps you identify peak call volume times or track your marketing campaign’s success. And more importantly, it allows you to prepare or adjust accordingly for a more effective and streamlined service.

Encourage Team Collaboration

Promote collaboration and communication across departments, remote agents, and international teams with centralized call logs and data. Using a VoIP CRM integration with call logging capabilities, your teams can share call notes, follow customer journeys, listen to recordings, and more. And this call data is accessible from any device or location, leading to improved efficiency, productivity, and teamwork.

Get Call Logging with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding offers call detail records with any of our phone number plans. And once signed up, you can easily access your business call logs through our intuitive online control panel.

Does your business use Zoho as its CRM? You can also integrate our VoIP service with your CRM and enjoy two-way data automatic synchronization.

To learn more about our call logging solution and integrations, speak with our team of experts at (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

What is Click-to-Call? (Benefits and How to Use)

Businesses are constantly trying to find ways to streamline processes both internally and externally. And this is because efficiency is a key driver of customer satisfaction, revenue, and overall business success.

As such, it continues to be a top priority among big and small companies. This everlasting need has inspired many innovations in software and technology – one of them being click-to-call.

In this article, we’ll discuss what click-to-call is, how it can help your business, common use cases, and more. So, let’s jump in!

Don’t feel like reading? Watch our Click-to-Call video instead!

Definition: What is Click-to-Call?

Click-to-call is a VoIP feature that allows users to initiate calls by simply clicking on a phone number or call button within their browser or CRM.

This capability makes it easy for your teams to contact leads and customers and vice versa.

Other names for this feature include:

  • Click-to-dial
  • Click-to-talk
  • One-click calling
  • Click-calling, and more.

You can use this feature in two ways, depending on your use case: 1) adding a “web callback” HTML snippet to your website or 2) using a VoIP provider that offers a custom solution complementing their service.

In this article, we’re going to focus more on the VoIP feature offered by most VoIP and CRM providers with their service.

How Does Click-to-Call Work?

Click-to-call typically works through a browser extension or CRM integration. As such, it enables you to make calls from any device with just one click without having to manually enter or copy and paste numbers into your dialer.

It’s also important to note that this feature may look different depending on the business, provider, and platform.

For instance, click-to-dial may appear as a:

  • Call icon or button
  • Clickable contact name
  • Clickable phone number

When you click on any of these interactive, hyperlinked elements, the feature will automatically initiate your call in real-time using a VoIP connection.

Diagram showing how click-to-call works.

Benefits of Click-to-Call

Whether you plan to use click-to-dial to improve team efficiency or to encourage customers to call, this feature holds benefits for your business and customers.

Here are the top 6 benefits of using click-to-call:

• Improve efficiency – Above all, this VoIP feature saves time by helping your agents contact leads and customers quickly. And, your teams don’t have to break from their workflow or concentration to look up or manually dial a phone number. This leads to greater operational efficiency.

• Increase functionality of your CRM – You can integrate this feature within your CRM through VoIP CRM integrations. This allows your teams to access calling capabilities directly from your CRM and streamlines the outbound calling process.

• Optimize productivity – While it may seem like this feature only saves your team minutes or even seconds during the calling process, it adds up over time. And with the time they save, reps can focus on placing more calls in a day, resulting in better productivity.

• Ensure dialing accuracy – Say goodbye to human errors that waste company time and agent energy, such as dialing an incorrect number. Click-to-dial increases accuracy as reps no longer have to memorize phone numbers or double-check the dialed number.

• Enhance business accessibility – Make it easy for customers to seamlessly connect with your business when they have an issue or concern. And offer omnichannel support by including click-to-call options on all your brand’s platforms.

• Boost conversion rates – By strategically including click-to-dial options on landing pages, ads, etc., you encourage interested customers to reach out. And this gives your B2C or B2B sales team an opportunity to close the sale, leading to higher conversion rates and more sales.

How Can Businesses Use This Feature? [Use Cases]

Since click-to-call technology makes the calling process easier on both your teams and your customers, there are a few different ways your business can use it to your advantage.

So, how do you use click-to-call?

  1. Integrate with CRM
  2. Add to your business website
  3. Learn about your audience’s preferences
  4. Support remote teams

Let’s take a look at the top use cases for this feature.

Integrate with CRM

This is one of the most popular use cases for click-to-call as it allows your teams to easily place calls directly from your CRM. So, your teams don’t have to waste time dialing phone numbers and switching between platforms. And with the time that they save, they can contact more leads and customers in a day.

On top of that, this integration also centralizes business communication; meaning, all necessary tools and customer information is in one place. This makes it easy for your teams to prepare for calls and access important information quickly, leading to better customer experiences.

Add to Your Business Website

Incorporate a click-to-dial button or link on your homepage by embedding a snippet of HTML code to the website.

By adding a clickable button or link to your web pages, you give customers and prospects a seamless way to contact your business and receive assistance immediately. This is especially useful if you have a lot of customers coming through mobile traffic. When these customers click the call button, it would take them to their smartphone’s keypad to place the call. On the desktop, it would take them to available softphone options.

This removes any roadblocks from the inside sales and customer support process and encourages engagement – leading to improved CX and higher conversion rates.

Learn More About Your Audience

Using click-to-call CTAs, links, and buttons across your website, marketing materials, and content allows you to learn more about your audience’s behaviors and preferences.

You can track these calls to gather important data insights such as:

  • Caller identity — caller ID associated information
  • Source of call — where the caller interacted with your business before calling
  • Date and time — times and days customers are actively looking for your services
  • Caller location — geographical relevances of your products and services.
  • Call detail records – view and export comprehensive data about your call activity.

And then, you can use this information to:

  • Optimize marketing and sales tactics
  • Determine the most effective lead sources
  • Generate leads and segment customers
  • Evaluate campaign performances and so on.

Support Remote Teams

Click-to-dial is a cloud-based feature and so– meaning it is not restricted to a certain device or geographical location. This makes it a perfect solution for remote teams, as they can access it from anywhere.

And remote reps can not only use this feature to easily communicate with customers but also collaborate and connect with other employees.

Getting Click-to-Call For Your Business

Getting started with click-to-call is straightforward. Simply find a reliable VoIP provider that offers this feature and sign up for an account with them. Then, work with them to set it up in a way that works for your business and teams.

To learn more about click-to-call and our comprehensive suite of features, call +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with our telecom experts online!

Guide to VoIP CRM Integrations

Streamlining your business processes not only helps you achieve greater operational efficiency but also improves the overall quality of your service. And this, in turn, can lead to a more competitive edge in your respective market.

But, where do you start?

By removing unnecessary or time-consuming tasks from your team’s workflow.

One way to achieve this is by combining your business tools into one, centralized platform. This is where VoIP CRM integrations come in. This solution helps you and your teams save precious time, so you can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your service.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about these integrations, including basic definitions, how it works, benefits, popular CRM software, and more. Let’s get started!

What are VoIP CRM Integrations?

Let’s define VoIP CRM integrations by breaking these concepts down.

A VoIP integration allows you to integrate your phone system with other business applications and software. This capability improves your team’s efficiency by combining your essential tools into one platform.

And a CRM is a software tool that helps you manage prospect and customer relationships by storing key information such as contact details, purchase history, interactions, behaviors, preferences, and so on. That’s why this technology is aptly named Customer Relationship Management. It’s typically used by sales and support professionals as a way of preparing for calls.

Now, if you combine these two concepts, you get VoIP CRM integrations, which link your cloud phone system to your CRM software. This allows for seamless communication and synchronization between these two technologies, enabling your teams to receive and place calls through their CRM.

How it Works

The main thing to note is that VoIP CRM integrations connect your VoIP phone system to your CRM to increase the functionality of both systems. It also enables automatic, two-way data syncing between these two platforms. So, you no longer need to toggle between applications to complete tasks or manually enter information into both systems.

But for this to work properly, you need a CRM tool and a VoIP provider that offers an integration solution for that specific CRM software.

So, what does a VoIP CRM integration look like in action?

  • When calls come into your VoIP system, your reps will see a screen pop displaying important caller information pulled directly from your CRM. And if you’re looking to place a call within your CRM, this integration enables click-to-call so you can initiate a call by simply clicking on the customer’s phone number.
  • On top of that, all call data is automatically logged within your cloud phone system’s control panel, even if the call occurred through your CRM. And agents can upload call recordings and notes to their CRM for more detailed customer overviews.

These integrated capabilities work together to increase operational efficiency and optimize your team’s workflow, so they can focus on providing the best service possible.

Top Features to Expect

Now every provider (VoIP or CRM) will offer different features with their integrations. So, as you shop around, you’ll need to identify what features work best for your communication needs.

Some of the top features of VoIP CRM integrations include:

  • Click-to-Call — clickable link for each phone number within the CRM
  • Customer and Call Notes — the ability to create and update notes during customer calls
  • Screen Pop / Call Pop — ‘pop-up’ that displays customer information as a call comes in
  • Call Recording — the ability to record and review inbound and outbound calls
  • Softphone / Web DialerCTI software that enables customers make calls through a web-based dialer
  • Caller ID Management — custom caller ID tool to display specific outgoing phone numbers
  • Workflow Automation — features to improve and optimize workflows.

A diagram showing the benefits of a CRM phone system integration.

Benefits of VoIP CRM Integrations

Business communication improves across the board when you combine the power and convenience of VoIP with your CRM’s valuable customer insights.

Let’s have a look at how your business can benefit:

1. Increased Efficiency & Productivity

Reduce time spent searching for essential customer information and switching between platforms. With this integration, reps easily manage communication in one place. And with the ability to create new contacts, track leads, resolve tickets, and take notes while on the phone, agents can maximize their time leading to more productivity.

2. Improved Customer Experiences

Quickly reference relevant customer information and previous interactions during calls. This way, agents have the necessary context to personalize conversations and properly address the caller’s needs. And customers don’t have to repeat themselves, leading to a better caller experience.

3. Efficient Collaboration

Encourage distributed, remote, and cross-department collaboration with the ability to read notes, follow customer journeys, listen to recordings, and more. With all this available through one centralized platform – accessible from any device – your teams always remain on the same page.

4. Optimized Team Management

Gain better visibility into your team’s performance and progress by reviewing call logs, notes, recordings, and more. This makes it easy for managers to monitor and analyze the activity between leads and reps in real-time.

5. Easy Deployment

Set up your VoIP CRM integration and begin calling within minutes. No coding or developers are required with this solution.

6. Enhanced Functionality

Integrate essential calling technology into your CRM where you can:

With all tools in one place, you can optimize your inside sales efforts from any location.

7. Automated Accuracy

Reduce human error and increase focus on high-priority tasks with automatic data synchronization and click-to-dial capabilities. No need for double-checking!

Popular VoIP CRM Integrations

To help you choose the best solution for your business, let’s review the top CRM software that work well with VoIP:

Salesforce CTI

Salesforce is a leading CRM provider with over 150,000 companies using the product. They offer a wide variety of customizable solutions and integration capabilities for cross-departmental collaboration. Among these is the Salesforce CTI that adds cloud telephony capabilities within the CRM.

Salesforce CTI Features:

  • Screen pops
  • Softphone
  • Call routing
  • Click-to-dial
  • Data synchronization
  • Lead management, and more.

Good For: Businesses of all sizes looking for industry-specific solutions.

Zoho Phonebridge CRM

Zoho is a global provider that offers web-based business tools including a VoIP CRM integration called Zoho Phonebridge. This provider also offers flexible and personalized implementations with over 800+ app integrations to choose from.

Zoho Phonebridge Features:

  • Call logging
  • Customer journey orchestration
  • Contextual calling
  • Automatic data synchronization
  • Single-click dialing / click-to-dial, and more.

Good For: Small- to medium-sized businesses with remote workforces and B2B sales teams.

Zendesk CTI

Zendesk provides an intuitive and scalable CRM solution focused on helping customer support and sales teams succeed. And, they provide a variety of integrations to choose from including project management, marketing, and VoIP integrations like the Zendesk CTI.

Zendesk CTI Features:

  • Inbound/outbound call blending
  • Call routing
  • Integrated customer data
  • Agent presence management
  • Call recording and storage
  • Low code customization
  • Ticketing and help desk software
  • Screen pops, and more.

Good For: International small, medium, and enterprise businesses.

HubSpot CTI

HubSpot provides a complete CRM platform with all the resources you need to unite marketing, sales, and support teams. They offer over 1,000 popular integrations and apps – including VoIP CRM integrations – to choose from.

HubSpot CTI Features:

  • Two-way synchronization
  • Call recordings
  • Integrated customer information
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Document sharing
  • Call logging
  • Click-to-call, and more.

Good For: Small- to medium-sized businesses.

Get Started with VoIP CRM Integrations

Connecting your VoIP phone system to your CRM is a game-changer for companies looking to streamline their day-to-day operations and achieve greater success in the modern business landscape.

Global Call Forwarding is constantly working to bring our customers more integrations to help them optimize business processes and unify communications. Currently, we offer users contact center integrations that work to improve your system’s efficiency such as cloud voice APIs and PBX integrations.

To learn more about our integrations, call +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with our telecom experts online!

Guide to SIP Numbers (and How to Use Them)

Looking for a new business phone number or interested in upgrading your current phone system? Enter: SIP numbers.

Everyone – from small businesses to large corporations – can use SIP to build a more effective phone system. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of these numbers, the benefits, use cases, how to get this solution, and more. This way, you know if this solution is right for your needs.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

What Are SIP Numbers and How do they Differ from Traditional Ones?

SIP numbers use IP telephony technology to deliver voice calls between two or more parties over a network. In other words, these cloud-based phone numbers allow your business to make and receive calls through an internet connection.

So, how are SIP numbers different from traditional ones?

Instead of using physical phone lines – like traditional numbers do – SIP numbers use digital pathways to transmit voice. Although these phone numbers differ from traditional ones, they look the same. Both number types feature the same numerals and formatting. And this is why you’re able to port your existing phone number to a new cloud-based provider.

Other names for this service include:

  • SIP lines
  • SIP trunks
  • SIP addresses
  • VoIP numbers
  • Cloud phone numbers
  • Virtual numbers and so on.

How Do These Numbers Work?

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. It’s a signaling protocol that powers SIP numbers and makes real-time IP-based calling possible.

When you place a call, this technology breaks down your voice into data packets and sends them to the receiver via a network connection. Once these packets arrive at your desired destination, they reassemble into voice. And this process happens in a matter of seconds for a seamless calling experience.

For a more in-depth look at how this technology works, check out our guide on how SIP trunking works.

Benefits of SIP Numbers

From its cost-effectiveness to its scalability, SIP has no shortage of benefits for your business. Let’s take a closer look.

• Affordability

SIP numbers are one of the most affordable communication solutions on the market, especially when compared to traditional numbers. This is because they use the internet, allowing you to make local, long-distance, and international calls at inexpensive rates.

• Reliable High-Quality Calls

These phone numbers do not rely on physical landlines. This means that you not only experience higher call quality but also improved reliability.

For instance — If a call goes unanswered at its initial destination, this technology has failover capabilities that automatically reroute calls from one location to another. So with SIP’s built-in redundancy, you can rest assured that you’ll never miss a call, even during a power outage.

• Global Coverage

Global SIP services allow you to connect with prospects and customers around the world from your current headquarters. With Global Call Forwarding, you gain access to over 160 countries worldwide, making it easy to expand your business to new markets with minimal risk.

• PBX-Compatible

SIP numbers are compatible with most existing PBX systems. Simply plug this service into your current PBX to increase functionality and modernize your legacy business communication, without replacing your entire setup.

• Mobility & Flexibility

With a cloud-based SIP number, you’re not tied to one geographic location or device. In other words, you can place calls using any IP-enabled device and from anywhere in the world.

• Advanced Communication Tools

Most providers offer users access to a suite of advanced call features that boost your system’s performance. Some popular features include international call forwarding, caller ID management, softphones, IVR, and more.

• Scalability

You can modify and scale your SIP service as needed. Add, manage, or remove lines and users based on your business’ growth.

sip trunking artwork

How to Use SIP Numbers [4 Use Cases]

Businesses of all sizes and industries can use SIP numbers to improve their service and drive growth. For a better idea of how your teams can use this tech, here are 4 examples of popular use cases:

1. Provide 24/7 customer support

With access to communication features only available through the cloud, you can offer 24/7 support to customers around the world. Simply set up location-based and time-based routing strategies or adopt a Follow the Sun model. So, when customers call your main SIP phone number, your system automatically routes them to the best available location.

2. Expand to new global markets

SIP numbers provide you with an easy and cost-effective way to enter new markets and expand globally without relocating your teams or offices. Get SIP phone numbers for each of your target countries and then forward incoming calls to your main headquarters. This allows you to access new customer bases with minimal risk while keeping overhead costs low.

3. Connect local, remote, and international teams

Since this technology provides mobility, flexibility, and centralized call management, you can use these numbers to connect teams across multiple locations (including remote and distributed employees) and encourage collaboration. Make sure to select a provider that delivers all your desired features and services in a single platform. Or, use APIs and integrations instead to develop your current system.

4. Localize your business

With a local phone number, your business can easily establish a local presence in target markets and boost connection rates with local customers. Get SIP numbers with recognizable area codes or use caller ID features to display a local number.

The great thing about cloud phone numbers is that they can be used in a number of ways because they are adaptable to your specific needs and business goals.

How to Get SIP Numbers (& Set Up Requirements)

To get SIP numbers for your business, you must find a reliable cloud phone number or SIP trunking provider such as Global Call Forwarding.

When researching different solutions on the market, make sure to review each provider’s:

  • Pricing plans
  • Setup or hidden fees
  • Available services and features
  • Country coverage
  • Network reliability and uptime guarantee
  • Activation times and documentation requirements
  • Customer support offerings, and so on.

Once you choose a provider that’s right for your business, sign up for their service and wait for the number to be activated.

Learn how to find the right telephony provider in our step-by-step guide.

While waiting, you can pass the time by making sure your setup meets the basic requirements to power SIP.

All you need to get started is:

  • Stable internet connection – we recommend using Ethernet cables instead of a WiFi connection, as it’s more reliable.
  • Adequate bandwidth – allot at least 100 kbps for each call and consider configuring QoS settings for voice traffic prioritization.
  • Any device with an internet connection – this includes IP phones, softphones, computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.

As you can see, these numbers do not require complex setups or additional equipment to work properly. And while these are industry standard requirements to run SIP and avoid common problems, talk to your chosen provider about their recommended specifications. This way, you experience the reliability and high-quality voice SIP is known for.

Related: How to Set up SIP Trunking in the Cloud

Get SIP Numbers from Global Call Forwarding

Ready to get SIP numbers for your business? Global Call Forwarding can help you get set up, so you can start reaping the benefits.

We offer a variety of cloud communication services for businesses of all sizes including cloud-based phone numbers and SIP Trunking.

And we make it quick and easy for you to get started with these options:

  1. Sign up for cloud phone numbers or SIP trunks through our website’s pricing page.
  2. Call us and speak with our experts at +1 (561) 908-6171. You can get custom plans that match your specific needs.
  3. Fill out our contact form and request a demo.

Whatever option you decide, we are here to help you every step of the way with dedicated account managers and a wonderful support team that’s available 24/7. Get started today!

Understanding South Africa 087 Numbers

087 numbers are a great way to establish a national presence in South Africa. So, if you’re looking for a phone number for your South Africa-based business or if you’re interested in expanding to the SA market, this may be the solution for you.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of these South Africa numbers, their benefits, how to get one, and FAQs.

What are South Africa 087 Numbers?

087 numbers are national numbers from South Africa that start with the country code +27.

Example of South Africa 087 number format: +27 (0) 87 xxx-xxxx.

These types of SA numbers are not associated with a specific geographic area. Instead, they are assigned to the country as a whole. For this reason, 087 numbers are referred to as non-geographic numbers and act as an alternative to toll-free and local phone numbers in South Africa.

Typically, 087 numbers are reachable from anywhere in the world. But, this largely depends on your chosen provider.

How Does 087 Service Work in South Africa?

Many 087 numbers on the market use VoIP technology to successfully connect calls. In other words, they use the internet to transmit voice calls and are not tied to physical phone lines or SIM cards.

This means your business can use cloud-based SA numbers like these to establish a nationwide presence in South Africa, even if you’re not physically present in the area. Simply forward incoming calls to any phone number, PBX, or other VoIP app. And when making outbound calls, business agents can show a local South African caller ID.

Since 087 numbers are national phone numbers, the caller (customers) and the receiver (business) share the cost of the call. So when customers within South Africa call your business, they incur local calling rates, even if your business is located overseas.

Benefits of 087 Numbers

Getting 087 numbers from a cloud phone service provider like Global Call Forwarding offers many benefits for those looking to do business in South Africa. Let’s look at the top advantages for your business:

  1. Establish a national presence in South Africa, irrespective of where your business resides
  2. Reduce communication costs by sharing local calling costs with callers
  3. Improve coverage by being reachable from inside and outside the country
  4. Expand to the South African market without increasing your overhead costs
  5. Access with less strict documentation
  6. Experience advanced cloud communication features for improved call management
  7. Invest in Africa’s growing economies with minimal risk.

Local vs Non-Geographic Numbers in South Africa

When looking for the right type of international number for your business, you’ll come across three common virtual number types in South Africa:

  • local geographic numbers
  • toll-free numbers, and
  • non-geographic 087 numbers.

Now, toll-free numbers are free for callers to call and operate differently from local numbers and 087 numbers.

But, geographic and non-geographic numbers are similar in nature. So, to better understand the difference between South Africa local and non-geographic numbers, let’s compare these two phone number types:

South Africa Local Numbers South Africa 087 Numbers
Definition Assigned to specific local, geographic areas such as towns or cities Tied to an entire nation or country
Costs Charged at local calling rates, paid by the caller Charged at local calling rates, but costs are shared between the caller and receiver
Coverage Receive calls from within the country and some neighboring countries Reachable country-wide and from anywhere in the world
Pro Allows businesses to establish a local presence Easier to obtain than local numbers
Con Requires strict documentation to acquire Less recognizable and familiar to local customers

Frequently Asked Questions About SA Numbers

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding South Africa numbers:

Q: How many digits do South Africa 087 numbers include?

A: There are 10 digits in national SA numbers. Example: (087) xxx-xxxx.

Q: How do you call 087 numbers from outside South Africa?

A: To call a 087 number from an outside country, first dial the international call prefix (or dial out code) of the country you’re calling from. Then, type the country calling code of the country you’re trying to call – in this case South Africa (27). And finally, dial the national phone number of your desired destination.

So, if you’re calling from the U.S. you would dial – 011 27 087 xxx xxxx

Q: How much do South Africa numbers cost?

A: Global Call Forwarding offers South Africa numbers starting at $12.95 per month. We offer five different cloud phone number plans for toll-free, national, and local numbers. Each plan comes with monthly minutes plus an additional per-minute rate.

Q: What documents are required to get 087 numbers?

A: Depending on your provider, you may have to submit different types of documentation when ordering an international phone number. The most commonly requested types of documentation are proof of address, proof of ID, proof of business, and a letter of intent.

How to Get South Africa 087 Numbers from Global Call Forwarding

To get a South Africa phone number from Global Call Forwarding, you can either speak with one of our representatives or purchase online on our website.

To purchase your numbers online, watch the above video or follow these steps:

  1. Visit our Pricing page.
  2. Select your new number from the left dialog box.
  3. Choose South Africa, National, 087 prefix, and number available.
  4. Then, enter the necessary information in the right dialog box to have your calls forwarded.
    Note: You can forward calls to any location or VoIP/SIP system.
  5. Click on View Rates and choose from our five different plans.
  6. Add premium services, if desired. We offer Call Recording, Outbound Calling, and Rollover Minutes.
  7. Submit your order and wait for your service to be activated.

Want to learn more about South Africa numbers and which number type is right for your business? Consult with our global telecom experts today. Call us or chat with us online!

The Ultimate Pre-Call Checklist [+Free Download]

With sales driving business growth, there is a lot of pressure to perform well on B2B sales calls. And while selling comes naturally to some people, it is always a good idea to prepare for each call.

A pre-call checklist for sales calls will help you organize your conversation and cover all key points. Additionally, it acts as a guide you can rely on to continue the conversation forward. Let’s have a look!

Need a copy to share with your team? Scroll down and download the PDF!

Preparing for Sales Calls

So, how can you best get ready for sales calls? This preparation generally starts with getting to know the prospect, both the individual you will talk to and their affiliated company.

That aside, it also involves personalizing the conversation to meet this particular prospect’s needs. For this, you’ll look at

  • solutions and services that help them
  • questions they might have
  • objections that may dissuade them from purchasing, and so on.

And since all of this happens before you make the call, they reside in your pre-call checklist.

Who Can Benefit from a Sales Pre-Call Checklist?

A pre-calling checklist will help you prepare for different trajectories the conversation may go. At the same time, you can make sure you’ve discussed everything you need to before ending the call. And so, this checklist is useful for anyone who interacts with prospects as a way of converting them; this includes:

  • Sales professionals – sales leaders, managers, and sales reps
  • Outreach specialists
  • Market research and survey professionals, and so on.

Sales Pre-Call Checklist

So, without further ado, here’s a pre-call checklist for your inside sales team, we’ll cover the following:

  1. Research Your Prospect
  2. Know Who You are Speaking to
  3. Decide What You Will Say
  4. Establish Realistic Goals
  5. Prepare Key Questions to Ask
  6. Consider Objections and Questions the Prospect May Have
  7. Keep Sales Enablement Resources Nearby
  8. Prepare to Call

1. Research Your Prospect

To pitch effectively, you need to understand who your prospect is; this means, research. Often with cold-calling sales, people tend to just call without doing their due diligence. Customers can easily tell when you haven’t done your research and nothing dissuades them faster than someone faking it. After all, how can they trust the business you represent, if they can’t trust you?

To improve your chances:

  • Research your prospect’s business and industry — What do they do? Where do they stand in the industry (experts, start-ups, newbies)?
  • Browse their website and core pages — Look at company values, mission statement, ‘About Us’ and ‘Our Team’ pages, products and services, etc.
  • Review their social media pages — What are they talking about? What is top of mind for them?
  • Check press releases and news about the company — Mergers, new features, awards, new locations, CSR initiatives, etc.

2. Know Who You are Speaking to

Next, take time to identify who in that company you are talking to. This will help you make your pitch more relatable and relevant to them.

  • Review your CRM platform, sales spreadsheet, or Sales Engagement Platforms (SEP) list
  • Understand this prospect’s relationship and past interactions with your company
  • Research the individual you will speak with — What is their job profile? Potential pain points? What do they care about? Look at social media profiles and posts
  • Determine where they land in the sales funnel — Are they aware of your product or still in the research phase? Map out their journey
  • Look for any overlap in professional networks that can connect you to the prospect.

A chart for understanding sales prospects' journeys.

3. Decide What You Will Say

Then, with all this customer information in the background, decide how you will approach the prospect and what you will say:

  • Review your script and the solution you will pitch
  • Consider adopting a “talk tracks” approach (more on that below)
  • Determine how to discuss the product or service’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Prepare your value proposition by persona — how is your product different from others for this particular prospect and industry
  • Plan out and practice your voicemail, in case the prospect does not answer.

Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Luke Genoyer recommends: “I’m a proponent of using “talk tracks” versus scripts. This is when the salesperson tries to uncover certain things in the conversation by asking open-ended questions, following a certain track, and nurturing the conversation naturally instead of adhering to a rigid script.”

He also highly recommends planning out and practicing personalized voicemails a few times before jumping in on the call.

4. Establish Realistic Goals

Next, determine what you want from this call. In other words, what are your goals for this call? This depends on where you are in the sales cycle and where your prospect is in the buying journey. Choose 2-3 goals before going into the call so you can manage your expectations effectively.

  • Understand the prospect’s company and challenges (questions to consider below)
  • Get names of important contacts to can connect with the right person
  • Qualify the lead to decide whether it is worth going after this prospect
  • Make a presentation
  • Provide informative brochures or data sheets
  • Educate the prospect and book a demo
  • Sign up for a free trial
  • Set up follow-up calls or interactions
  • Determine a sales timeline with a close date, keeping their journey in mind
  • Consider sales performance goals (duration of call block, number of calls, and number of positive outcomes).

Related: 18 Tips to Increase Call Center Sales

5. Prepare Key Questions to Ask

Another important strategy to include on your pre-call checklist is preparing questions to ask your prospect. Asking the right questions will help you better understand what is important and relevant to them. It will also show them that you understand what they do, how they operate, and their role in the industry. All of this, in turn, will help you sell your product better.

Note that these questions should work as a guide and not as a script. Additionally, they should be thoughtful questions that can start a conversation instead of simply using a one-size-fits-all method.

Here are some examples:

  • As a network engineer, what’s your most important priority right now?
  • What features do you wish [an operation] had, that it doesn’t currently have now?
  • What’s the biggest problem that you want to solve or fix?
  • From your conversations, it seems that your biggest roadblock is . . . Would you agree?

These questions differ based on the buyer’s journey, product development, customer research, and so on. However, you can always practice active listening to generate thoughtful questions.

6. Consider Objections and Questions the Prospect May Have

As you list down your questions to ask, you also want to anticipate questions or objections your prospect may have. Common reasons and types of sales objections include the lack of need, urgency, trust, or money.

With this and your research of the prospect in mind, you can be proactive in pitching the right solutions and explaining the need and relevance. Here are some ways to prepare:

  • Think of common objections your team deals with during sales calls
  • Review other obstacles such as stakeholder buy-in or undeveloped products/features
  • Determine ways to highlight credibility
  • Go over how you may negotiate contracts or pricing, if applicable
  • Create/use an objection handling sheet

7. Keep Sales Enablement Resources Nearby

Finally, you’ll need your resources and sales content to share during or after the call. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Sales deck or demo video
  • Product data sheets
  • Brochures for different stages of the buying journey — awareness, consideration, purchase, retention
  • Case studies or customer stories
  • Research reports
  • Compliance documentation
  • Relevant videos, blog articles, how-to guides, and so on.

You want to keep all these within reach so you can grab what you need quickly without having to waste time looking.

8. Setting Up Your Space

With all the above done, you’re ready to make the call. The last item on your sales pre-call checklist is setting up your space. This is a crucial step in ensuring that you’re in the right mindset to make this call. Here are our favorite pre-call practices:

  • Create a distraction-free zone — Close chat and email, and silence notifications
  • Open your CRM platform
  • Keep resources close by
  • Visualize outcomes — Generate a positive mindset and remember that your solution helps people

Start Calling with the Right Sales Tools

And with that, you’re ready to go!

Pre-call planning can seem daunting, especially with a checklist that looks this long. However, over time and with practice, this process will become second nature for you. And it will seem less tedious and more rewarding when you cover all your bases beforehand.

Remember the key takeaways: Know who you’re talking to, why your product will help them, and what you want out of the call. Everything else is there to support you and help you reach your goal.

Happy calling!

And, don’t forget to keep our handy downloadable sales pre-call checklist on hand.

Download Your Free Sales Pre-Call Checklist Here

Sales pre-call checklist download.
Download Our Free Pre-Call Checklist
Download this handy pre-call checklist for your next sales call.

Pre-Call Checklist

What is B2B Sales?

Sales are what drive B2B companies to achieve target revenue and growth. But new technology, customer preferences, and competitive markets mean that selling is becoming more and more difficult.

This is why it’s important to understand how exactly B2B sales can support your business. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss what B2B sales look like and how you can leverage various strategies to your advantage.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Let’s get started!

Understanding Sales for B2B Companies

Business-to-business (B2B) describes a relationship between two business entities. This could include professional services (like consulting or market research), digital software and services (like VoIP, CRM, ERP, project management, and cloud computing), raw materials (like steel to manufacturing companies), etc.

And a B2B business will utilize sales and marketing functions to bring in new customers along with customer service employees to support these new customers.

Let’s look at B2B sales in particular.

What is B2B Sales?

B2B sales or business-to-business sales is the process of selling products and services to other companies rather than individual consumers.

B2B sales are typically conducted between:

  • a manufacturer and a wholesaler,
  • a wholesaler and a retailer,
  • two businesses without any intermediaries.

Since these include sales between two business entities, you can usually expect:

  • Higher price points
  • More complex sales cycles
  • In-depth product knowledge and custom solutions
  • Contracts and/or recurring subscriptions
  • Inside sales at various touchpoints, and more.

B2B versus B2C: How are they Different?

B2C sales or business-to-consumer sales are made from a company to a consumer. B2C sales are usually smaller than B2B sales.

To put this into perspective, Forrester’s B2B e-commerce forecast found that US B2B sales had a record-breaking growth of 22% year-over-year (YoY) in 2021. This is mainly because B2B companies work with other businesses that make large profits and revenue. And these companies have more targeted marketing opportunities and bigger budgets.

Additionally, the decision maker in B2C sales is the individual consumer. On the other hand, in B2B sales, the decision makers are the multiple stakeholders of a business. This means that B2B buyers go through a longer sales cycle than B2C buyers.

Related: Inbound Sales vs Outbound Sales

Who is a B2B Sales Rep? Job Description and Responsibilities

B2B sales representatives engage with prospective buyers and encourage them to make a purchase by providing information, personalized demos, and more.

Currently, corporate buyers tend to do their own research before reaching out to a business for a product. This research involves understanding different solutions available, conducting a cost analysis, reviewing competitor offerings, and more.

The B2B sales rep then helps the customer understand why their company’s product is the best solution. To this effect, they work closely with the customer, identify pain points, provide solutions, and more. This is where sales skills like active listening, being respectful and goal-oriented, and building relationships come into play. And all of this encourages the customer to make a purchasing decision.

Common B2B sales rep responsibilities include:

  • Make and receive calls
  • Manage sales emails
  • Set up meetings
  • Conduct product demos
  • Prospect for new business
  • Build rapport
  • Overcome objections
  • Follow up, and more.

B2B Funnel

To sell effectively, you need to understand the buyer’s perspective and what your customer journey looks like. And using a visual tool like the funnel is a good place to start.

A B2B funnel is the visualization of a prospect’s journey from discovery to post-purchase. The different stages of the funnel depicting the B2B buyer’s journey include:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Consideration
  • Action / Purchase
  • Loyalty / Retention
  • Advocacy

With that in mind, here’s what the buying journey looks like:

  • Identify pain point(s).
  • Research potential solutions, check out review sites and social media, ask for recommendations, and find a vendor(s).
  • Talk to the salesperson to understand how the product can solve their issue and understand the implementation process.
  • Take this information back to the decision-maker at the company and evaluate the vendor.
  • (if all goes well) Make a purchase and implement the solution.

As you can see, the buyer’s journey isn’t straightforward. But, understanding how it works will help you develop your company’s sales process

The buyer's journey in a B2B sales process.

B2B Sales Process

B2B sales, in particular, is a complex process that uses various sales techniques for different buyer personas, use cases, and selling situations.

First, to lure these buyers in, the company’s marketing and sales teams do what they do best. Organizations are finding more success when their marketing and sales teams work together to boost lead generation. This involves offline and online marketing, cold calling and outreach, and more.

Once the lead is in the door, the B2B sales rep nurtures the lead.

The B2B selling journey, therefore, may look like this:

  • Preparation and research
  • Prospecting and lead or demand generation
  • Discovery and needs assessment
  • Product demo and sales pitch
  • Objection handling/negotiation
  • Follow up
  • Closing
  • Onboarding and customer success management

Keeping this in mind, the B2B sales process is usually split into the following functions:

  • Sales development — identifying and engaging decision-makers, nurturing leads
  • Closing deals — helping prospects make a purchase
  • Onboarding — bringing new customers on smoothly
  • And customer success — checking in with existing customers and helping them make the most out of your product.

Challenges to Keep in Mind

Your business can utilize B2B sales to create a better and more efficient customer journey. But part of developing a B2B selling strategy is to be aware of challenges that might impede progress. The most pressing concerns include:

  • Limited-to-no training
  • Misunderstanding or unawareness of key goals
  • Sales and marketing misalignment
  • Outdated sales culture
  • Slower adoption of supportive call center technology
  • Operational inefficiency

Keeping these in mind, let’s look at some ways your business can overcome these obstacles.

B2B Selling Techniques and Tips

About 77% of customers say that their buying journey was hard or complex — from searching for the right solution to getting stakeholder buy-in.

So, your B2B sales process must include techniques and strategies to connect with prospects effectively at all of these touchpoints — from awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention.

Here are 5 strategies to broaden your B2B sales approach:

1. Research and get to know your prospect: The most important step to any successful sale is researching the customer. Who are they, what do they need, and what are their pain points? Take time to talk to them or use available resources to understand their needs better.

2. Collaborate with other departments: Work with marketing, product development, and tech support to get a single and wholesome view of customer data. This collaboration will help you understand what messaging is important, what resolutions are useful, which features are popular, and so on.

3. Consider AI and automation: Use AI and reporting technology with key insights and forecasting to drive your sales. Furthermore, use automation solutions to help salespeople focus on more complex tasks instead of spending time on mundane ones. Also, more and more B2B customers are opting for seller-free buying. So, while you optimize your B2B sales process, consider including self-service solutions that let lower-end customers purchase your product sooner.

4. Be proactive and responsive: Nurturing corporate customers takes time and patience. So, make sure your sales reps are accessible whenever your prospect might need additional support. Train reps to proactively solve problems, make recommendations, and respond to queries quickly. Being available goes a long way in building trust.

5. Focus on building relationships: Instead of racing the clock on closing the sale, encourage sales reps to build meaningful relationships with customers that promote trust and loyalty.

20 Key B2B Sales KPIs

Another important B2B strategy is measuring performance. Analytics help you understand if your teams are close to achieving key sales goals.

You can track a variety of KPIs to measure sales performance, productivity, revenue, and more. In fact, the list of business KPIs and metrics continues to grow as new reporting software is introduced.

But let’s keep it simple.

Here’s a list of the top 20 B2B sales KPIs to measure:

Lead generation

1. Leads — number of leads coming in monthly or annually
2. Source of leads — where leads are coming from
3. Lead quality — to determine the likelihood of prospects becoming paying customers
4. Performance of qualified leads — likelihood of qualifying leads that convert
5. Lead-to-opportunity ratio — how many leads turn into sales opportunities
6. Avg lead response time — measure time needed to follow up with a prospect

Sales productivity

7. Sales pipeline velocity — time taken by a prospect to move from lead to customer
8. Sales close rate / percent of closed deals — percentage of your closed-won deals every month
9. Time spent running demos — how much time is required to demonstrate the product’s usefulness
10. Time spent on the phone — time spent on closing phone deals
11. Win-loss ratio — calculation of won deals over lost ones

Revenue tracking

12. Sales volume by location — to understand where demand is growing and/or lacking
13. Percent of sales discounts — which discounts are most efficient
14. Customer acquisition cost — how much is spent on each lead that converts to a paying customer
15. Return on investment (ROI) — effectiveness of marketing and sales activities
16. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) — understand recurring revenue
17. MQL vs SQL conversion rate — ratio of marketing leads that convert to sales leads
18. Cost of marketing — effectiveness marketing strategies in boosting sales
19. Customer satisfaction — important customer success metric
20. Customer lifetime value — how much net profit a business can make from one customer over time

The Future of B2B Selling

Since the global pandemic, industry experts are seeing more hybrid sales roles as well as customers preferring remote and self-service interactions themselves. This means that your business needs to rethink how it sells to customers in a virtual space. Some strategies to consider as we embrace a different path forward:

  • Focus on the customer and adopt customer-first strategies
  • Diversify your communication and selling channels
  • Collaborate with other departments to understand what customers want from your organization in this day and age
  • Upskill and promote your existing sales reps and provide access to resources and training
  • Include cloud communication technology that makes it easy to sell from anywhere.

Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Luke Genoyer offers his insights:

  • Salespeople have less time with buyers, so they need to make their interactions more valuable — especially since there’s a lot more “noise” for salespeople to cut through
  • Encourage collaboration with marketing and product to improve website/marketing assets and customer experience
  • Sales professionals should invest in their own online “brands” to promote credibility.

With these tips in your pocket, your business is gearing towards entering a new phase of B2B selling. Good luck!

To learn about our cloud communication solutions for B2B sales teams, chat with our experts online!