One aspect of the messaging automation world that has changed most since we started our company is the content of the actual phone number itself.
Three years ago, numbers on texts that came in from your phone’s same area code were more likely to be opened.
However, today there is a prevalence of robocallers that can expertly spoof those digits and make you think a hometown friend, family member or acquaintance is calling you.
If you read the most recent State Of The Phone Call Report, spam calls grew to 54.6 billion in 2019, up 108% compared to the previous year. People receive 14 spam calls per month, on average.
And as this trend has escalated, consumers are now less conditioned to answer calls, even from their own area codes.
Apple has tried to combat this. Iphone users have the benefit of something called the maybe feature. If you receive a text, but something doesn’t look quite right, it says “maybe” next to the name of the contact.
This means your iPhone has connected the contact name with a previous message or email from the person trying to contact you now. Users can delete that contact, turn off the feature, add the contact to their address book, and so on. Pretty cool. I wonder if that’s what Carly Rae Jespen was singing about in her song Call Me Maybe.
This is a subtle, nuanced feature. Some users appreciate it, some users don’t notice it, while others find it a tad creepy. Either way, it speaks to a larger issue that brands can’t afford to ignore:
Your phone number is an important part of your identity. It’s one of the many downstream effects of organizations who have strong brands.
You have to think of it as your username. Because in sales, consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. And if your company is aligned with its state, brand, name, and other key details, then you’re likely to show up as potential contact on that feature, and more likely to actually connect with your leads.
We’ve been thinking about this concept of numerical branding at our company for a while now. Customers have asked us for years, “What happens when a lead calls my FranFunnel phone number?”
Well, by default, every new FranFunnel user has call forwarding set up such that all inbound calls are forwarded to a dedicated number of their choosing. That way, leads are never aware that the phone numbers that they are receiving texts from are only for texting.
Now, if our customers want to know what phone number they’re sending texts from and/or what call forwarding number we have on file for their account, that’s no problem. We’re happy to provide it for them.
But follow our logic here and think about how it applies to your business.
We want our customers to get a phone number that’s closest to what they use for their outbound calls. The last thing we want is for salespeople to start changing their numbers.
This recommendation applies for other businesses too, not just our customers. If your company is using tech automation partners for texting and other services, and they aren’t giving you a dedicated number, that can destroy your contact rate.
Sharing isn’t caring when it comes to closing deals.
If your outbound sales efforts don’t all thread back to a specific phone number that's yours and yours alone, you might be missing out on potential buyers.
To paraphrase the aforementioned pop star, “And all the other salespeople try to chase me, but here's my number, so call me maybe.”
Scott Ginsberg is the Head of Content at FranFunnel. He made his first successful sales call in 1996 to Noble Roman's Pizza in St. Louis, MO.