Can you determine the future demand? Or can you identify the unseen trends?
I am not talking anything fictitious but in another 5 minutes I will make you understand what predictive analytics is and how it can be used to make predictions about unknown future events.
Predictive analytics is a branch of advanced analytics and data mining that extracts information from data and uses it to predict trends and behavior patterns. It uses many techniques from data mining, statistics, and artificial intelligence to analyze the current data and make predictions about future events.
Predictive analytics is one of the trending topics at all major sales conferences but is mostly underestimated by sales leaders. The sales leaders have actually very less number of tools on their run to get the bacon home and even fewer that can immediately help them to close a deal.
When talking about the sales funnel, it is the marketing’s job to get the prospects added into the funnel but the sales team has huge responsibility to convert these prospects into customers. They need their troops to get the results in next 90 days without any efficient tools in place. Thus, the sales team is left out with questions like:
- Which deals will attain the closure status in this quarter?
- Which prospects should the reps focus on?
- What steps should reps follow to close more deals?
- What is the best method to attain the maximum closures?
As we know that in B2B, the buyer’s control most of the buying process and wait for sales reps to get in touch with them, thus leading to an unpredictable sales funnel. So the challenge here is how to develop a strategy that can lead to better results and thus higher ROI? The answers to all the questions are stored with Predictive sales analytics with a single goal to help organizations make better and informed decisions.
Predictive Sales analytics helps in recognizing those leads that are most likely to turn into customers and ultimately hit the revenue chapter. It also helps in setting priorities towards the actions which must be taken by a sales team in order to close more deals. Being able to deliver results on a consistent basis for all sales team irrespective of their organizational structure is nothing less than an eye-opening technique.
Let us understand more about the predictive sales analytics and how it is making a big shift in the Sales Pipeline strategy:
Predictive Forecasting: Even with an intelligent CRM in place, organizations are unable to create a holistic sales forecast. Previously, organizations used to rely on the gut feeling of the the sales leader, which mostly delivered unfavourable results. Organizations understood that this was not among the smart ways to take decisions on the basis of assumptions. But the predictive forecasting tool helps in making intelligent and informed decisionson the basis of:
a) Historical sales performance
b) Current state of the sales pipeline
Thus, the predictive forecasting uses the previous performance of the sales rep over a period of time and then applies the algorithm of the current status of Sales Pipeline to accurately depict what will happen to the current deals in the pipeline. These projections help the sales rep in understanding which prospects to follow immediately and which all to follow in the coming days.
Sales Enablement: Analytics technology not only helps an organization in achieving their goals but also aligns the sales and marketing making the process more efficient for an organization. Marketing’s job is to provide the maximum possible leads to the sales team. The technology helps the marketing team to identify what methods to follow and introduce them in the sales funnel. This further helps the marketing team to generate the relevant content for the leads based on their buyer personas (methodology to depict the buying pattern of a B2B buyer) and then takes the engagement to the next level.
Predictive Lead Scoring: Organizations aim to identify the best leads and prospects with the help of predictive lead scoring as this is a complex as well as an accurate methodology. Mind you that this method cannot work without the efforts of the marketing team. Thus the alignment of sales and marketing is a must to hit the best results possible.
The process starts by examining the various trends in previous customer journey, based on which the tool identifies the journey duration of current leads in the pipeline. These leads are now transferred to the marketing team which prepares specific nurture programs to segment the leads based on their requirements, priority, behaviour pattern etc. Finally, the marketing team based on the results achieved from their nurturing campaigns depict the stage of these leads and explains where these leads are positioned in the customer journey.
With more and more campaigns the results get more accurate and provide useful insights to sales team. The results are accurate because the marketing team is able to identify their industry, company, sales engagement challenges. Thus, making it easy for the sales rep to identify best leads to target on an immediate basis. These scores are updated on a regular basis and thus the sales manager are informed about the buying prospect as well as the prospects who are most likely to defect.
In a nutshell, the analytic software has to be seamlessly integrated with your CRM, lead management tools and most importantly with your sales and marketing tool to catch the big eggs in your kitty.
Sales Performance Monitoring: To get ahead in the race an organization should always measure and analyze their performance as well as results. Imagine a sales manager sitting on his seat and asking his reps “Can you achieve this target in next quarter?”. What do you think, will anyone say “No”. It is the job of the sales manager to monitor his/her troops and identify the loopholes.
Once he/she identifies the shortcomings, the predictive analysis tool will further reduce the problems and help sales reps to achieve their targets. The analytics tool will further provide real insights on the performance of each rep based on which the manager can tailor their coaching strategy helping them to overcome the shortcomings in their path to success.
Thus, sales managers need to dump the old methodology and adopt the new analytics technology to welcome more efficiency and revenue gain. If you have more points to add, please mention in the comments section below.