Companies that use predictive analytics save a lot of money that they would otherwise have wasted on sales forecasting. Accurate sales projections are especially crucial to B2B firms because they can help a business run smoothly. A company that employs predictive analytics can significantly reduce costs.
Today, the problem is not that there is insufficient information out there. In fact, companies can now access information and intelligence through mobile devices and laptops. The art of analytics can only be achieved by combining various sources and filter crucial information from billions of data into money-generating outputs effectively and quickly.
Importance of Sales & Marketing Alignment
In 2017, the ‘State of an Inbound’ report published by HubSpot indicated that 22 percent of businesses said that their sales and marketing teams are aligned. In addition, 81% of the respondents felt their marketing strategies were effective. On the other hand, 25% indicated their sales and marketing teams were either aligned or misaligned.
There is often a breakdown between sales and marketing, partly because one group is responsible for realising goals, strategising processes and identifying income-generating opportunities. Sadly, the group in charge does not share the information with the other group. As a result, both groups work under unfounded assumptions about their roles in the company.
So, how can the sales& marketing team take advantage of predictive analysis to achieve goals?
Analysing Target Market Information
It is vital for every B2B marketer to have a clear picture of the target market and examine any other source of data. There are three primary sources of target market data: technographic information, firmographic, and look-alike modelling.
The latter takes information about the target market and analyses the most useful features among them to find prospects with the same characteristics. The best approach would be to check the current customer base. For example, if 35 percent of the existing customers were manufacturing customers and healthcare companies, it would be wise to focus with firms that show those traits.
Lookalike modelling relies on both technographic and firmographic data. Firmographic data represents behaviors of prospects including industry, geographic location, and the size of the organisation such as small, medium-sized companies or enterprise and midmarket firms. Conversely, technographic data takes into account prospects behaviors concerning technology purchases including the data center.
Once all the data is analysed and combined, marketers can easily identify highly informed prospects and make sure money invested in marketing is not wasted on firms that may be on the wrong location, too small or unideal vertical.
Focusing on the target market can yield incredible results, more so if they are aligned well with the sales department goals, and the company at large. However, target market information is always changing, and in an ever-evolving world, gathering real-time information on prospects is critical to securing a competitive edge.
Having a particular target audience in mind and knowing its basic traits is the first place for creating a powerful marketing tool. However, understanding when and what potential leads are interested in your products or services, and where they stand in the buyer journey are the fundamentals to a strong marketing strategy.
Intent information is as it is. It comprises some signals of a particular account’s interests and behaviour. When intent data is analysed over a period, it helps to know if there is a readiness to buy. While many martech sellers believe intent data is extracted from a handful of external sources, it is coming from a large variety of data. Common intent information of a company includes intent data from marketing automation systems and internal website traffic.
Experts believe that if a potential lead visits a website and is downloading information from a marketing automation system, then it means the customer is on the buyer journey. Including third-party information such as information, potential leads are checking from external sources or B2B web intelligence, improves the sales and marketing teams know about the prospect. Combining subjective intent data with external information creates a vivid image of a buyer’s intention to purchase.
Notably, most companies overlook marketing tactics results because of failing to produce immediate traction. Companies spend millions of dollars annually on different demand generation activities such as inside sales, direct mail, emails, and programmatic display efforts.
Irrespective of whether these efforts were carried out internally or externally, they usually produce excellent results and revenue. However, most of the investment is disregarded: all potential leads that appeared not to be worthy or ready to enter into the pipeline or CRM. Companies need to manage this ‘marketing exhaust’ to be able to fuel future efforts.
Improving Data Credibility with Machine Learning and AI
As aforementioned, data and artificial intelligence tools are always available, and they come different sizes and shapes. However, the problem lies in how to align everything in a way marketers will understand a potential buyer’s journey, and employ the right strategies to convince the potential lead to convert.
Machine learning sound and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are quite challenging, but if used the right way, it can solve this issue. Analytic platforms that are powered by AI make it easy not only to acquire customers but also to retain them by automating all the internal and external data that are used in decision-making, allowing the marketing team to focus on the best strategy and focus less executing actions.
However, machine learning techniques and AI are only as useful as the available inputs. Therefore, the sales team must refine the target market and create a well-thought approach to gather purchasing intent from different sources; the models used have a higher chance of being successful.
Any modern marketer should know the importance of measurement- an essential discipline determines inbound, outbound and other factors that are important in understanding the effectiveness of marketing and its impact on a company’s sales performance.
According to a report published by Fournaise Marketing Group, approximately 73 percent of managing director think marketers don’t have business credibility because they cannot prove how they contribute to business growth.
How can CMOs align sales and marketing tools?
They can do this by measuring the impact of marketing on sales and revenue via predictive analytics.