Predictive Marketing Analytics (PMA) enable B2B sales and marketers to harness unique customer and prospect insights for competitive advantage. Marketers utilizing PMA will be more successful at finding, reaching, attracting, engaging and converting prospects and in-market buyers.
Below are the things best-in-class B2B marketers are doing to deliver unprecedented program efficiencies and generate significant returns on the marketing investments their organizations both need and demand.
Move Beyond Lead Scoring
The best-in-class scoring products should be based on account and contact scoring, evaluating customers and prospects on fit, gauging engagement, and determining intent.
B2B marketers who are truly aligned with sales do not use lead scoring to “prove” to sales that marketing generated an MQL. Because sales and marketing must agree upfront on the target companies and contacts (keywords and titles), there should never be a need for B2B marketers to prove they generated a lead worthy of a sales person’s time (based on right company and right contact.)
Scoring products should also be used for opportunities in the sales pipeline and also to find those customers that sales can upsell or cross-sell. Scoring is also a must for B2B sales and marketers to help identify customers at risk, which should decrease customer churn.
Many predictive marketing analytics solutions now incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into scoring. These technologies analyze internal and external data to create insights for gauging interest and intention to purchase.
Improve Conversion Rates in the Marketing & Sales Funnel
Improving conversion rates is quantifiable, measurable and directly correlated to revenue. That’s why it is key for B2B marketers to communicate these metrics to the management team as it “justifies” marketing spend.
Specific outcomes attributed to PMA include improvements in lead quality, better conversion rates at all stages of the sales funnel, shorter sales cycles, and larger average deal sizes.
While some B2B marketers focus on generating more leads and driving down the cost of leads, seasoned marketing practitioners focus primarily on lead quality, while quantity is driven by capacity and financial targets. Here, B2B marketers filter out the junk or leads outside the sweet spot. This helps ensure that scarce and limited marketing and sales resources can focus on the best leads and opportunities.
Marketing Becomes Part of the Sales Process
In order for predictive marketing analytics solutions to be successful, sales and marketing must sit down and develop a mutually agreed upon Go-to-Market plan (objectives, strategies, tactic, systems, processes and terminology). With this as a backdrop, sales can then delegate the top of the marketing and sales funnel to marketing — and be confident that by assigning accountability and providing support and resources, true alignment will result.
PMA clearly provides one common goal for marketing and sales – revenue – a derivative of the number and activity of customers. To become a customer the sales team needs to efficiently and effectively move qualified sales opportunities through the sales process. With this is mind, the marketing mind-set shifts from generating leads to creating opportunities with a high propensity to purchase.
CMOs are Now Being Held Accountable for Sales Pipeline & Revenue
In traditional demand generation, approximately 10% of marketing leads result in net customer acquisition or existing customer expansion. However, marketers have struggled to identify the 10% that are productive and the 90% that are unproductive — without investing a great deal of time, money and cycles.
CMOs that are revenue-centric tend to key in on:
- Fewer, higher quality leads
- The use of marketing automation to increase the speed at which sales follows up
- Providing sales insights that help salespeople engage in more relevant dialogue with prospects and customers
- Focusing on the sales pipeline and key metrics
Eliminating “bad leads” reduces expenses, increases productivity for marketing and sales and results in more revenue, faster. This is because scarce sales and marketing resources are able to react quicker and allocate more time on the right leads.
PMA brings a managed, repeatable, objective process to marketing attribution issues by helping B2B marketers attribute marketing program spend to revenue, resulting in tremendous impact on marketing budget determination.
Predictive Marketing Analytics Helps B2B Marketers Become Relevant to Sales
Predictive analytic solutions also assists marketing and sales to better understand the real size and scope of their total addressable market (TAM), served market and target market. In addition, PMA solutions embrace third party data to drill down into the companies and contacts that make up each of the above mentioned markets.
Sales Intelligence (SI) enables marketers (and especially sales people) to be better prepared before they pick up the phone to engage a prospect in a relevant and meaningful conversation. SI does this by possessing a full overview of the market, technology, competitors, the company and specific contacts involved in the buying process. It’s important for B2B marketers to automate the access, updating and usage of firmographic, technographic, transactional, behavioral and intent data into integrated sales and marketing campaigns.
Prioritizing leads is now a table stake, and best-in-class B2B marketers need to step their game up to support sales at the next level. Ideally, PMA solutions will evolve to recommend what accounts to approach, how sales should engage with an account, which individuals to approach, what topics to discuss and when to do so. These are some of the promises of AI and machine-learning analysis of how ideal customers buy.
Predictive marketing analytics is an essential solution for creating sales and marketing alignment and for directly and significantly impacting the bottom line. PMA helps BtoB marketers identify net new prospects that are ready, willing and able to buy via enhanced segmentation, better prioritization of sales-ready leads, and proactive upselling, cross selling and customer retention. These are the key promises of PMA that will ultimately drive its widespread adoption.