With 89% of B2B marketers using or planning to use predictive analytics, big data has now become an even bigger strategic asset.
At most companies, improving lead volume, velocity, and value falls squarely on the shoulders of marketing teams. They must be smarter about zeroing in on the prospects most likely to turn into qualified leads.
What’s more, those leads must then be ranked. Marketers should think of themselves in this instance as talent scouts looking for big-league talent. No matter what, the importance is forecasting how that player—or lead—will do at the next level.
Lead Scoring: No Longer Just a Hunch
Leveraging predictive analytics takes the guesswork out of qualifying those leads. Various data points come together to help identify who will be the best target. You’re pulling in everything from responses and transactions to growth and revenue as a way of evaluating the unknown. The likelihood that a prospect will turn into a qualified lead now increases exponentially.
By that same token, the culmination of those data points help predict the next best action for that particular lead. It tells you which channel to use, what to say, how to say it, and when it should be said; it improves the potential level of engagement.
Instead of sifting through a broad range of prospects, you’re qualifying them before ever making contact—and you know exactly how, when, and where that contact should take place to illicit the best response.
Practice Makes Perfect
Predictive analytics hold incredible promise for your brand. But like any tool, it only performs well if used properly. The following can help focus your strategies:
1. Focus your marketing dollars.
Targeting anyone interested in your services is the definition of impractical. It’s just too costly to target an audience as broad as small business owners, tech firms, or smartphone users.
Predictive analytics allow you to identify your best customer traits and create a set (or even a subset) of prospects with similar attributes. These commonalities can indicate who’ll most likely be receptive to your marketing efforts and open to a purchase.
With such highly targeted campaigns, chances are you only speak to the prospects who matter most. Sales then convert at higher rates, and you lower the costs associated with acquiring new business.
2. Prioritize your sales efforts.
Prioritizing sales efforts was once an act of speculation and experimentation. The squeakiest wheel would often get the most grease, leaving the can empty for those who had yet to make noise.
Predictive analytics applies science to the process of qualifying and scoring leads. Those with the highest probability of closing move to the top of the list. No questions remain on which prospect sales should contact first.
Besides filling the pipeline with better leads, predictive analytics can help prioritize any existing accounts for expansion. Your sales team knows which customers to approach to upsell or cross-sell new products or services.
Sales becomes more efficient, proactive, and productive.
3. Route incoming inquiries.
Each salesperson has a set of strengths. Some will excel at building and nurturing relationships, while others knock closings out of the park. You’ll also find those skilled in consulting, scouting, or prospecting.
With predictive analytics, you can route incoming inquiries to the right member of your team. Our company calls the process “expert matching.” We take the speculation out of assigning leads with predictive scoring.
As soon as the inquiry comes through the door, it’s routed to the person most likely to convert the prospect to a customer. In theory, sales would then spend less time on each opportunity. Conversion happens at a much faster rate.
4. Refine your marketing message.
The more you know about your prospects, the easier it becomes to tailor outreach efforts. You can speak to their pain points and personalize the messaging. Communication just becomes more strategic.
You also have the opportunity to look at prospects from many angles, allowing for more sophisticated segmentation. The right message is more likely to hit the right lead at the right time, improving the success of any given campaign.
Take a display ad, for example. Predictive analytics ensures you get the right ad in front of key decision makers. If a contact clicks through, the system doesn’t just capture his or her information—it also tracks the behavior.
Your marketing and sales team can then devise more personalized campaigns around that information.
The marketplace gets more competitive by the day, and predictive analytics provide tremendous opportunities to gain the insights necessary to maximize your resources. Marketing aligns with sales, making the most of everyone’s time.
As the demand for talent increases, the most talented portions of your prospect pool are going thin out. Your team must identify the best ones and go about bringing them in.