Where are You on the Path to Predictive?

Going into 2015, experts agree that predictive analytics will provide differentiation to companies in increasingly competitive markets. Now that these tools are readily available to businesses of all sizes, salespeople and marketers need to make the leap from being simply data-driven to being fully predictive-driven. So, where are you on this path?

As any organization grows, it naturally progresses towards greater data sophistication, which increases the efficiency at which you can operate. In sales and marketing, we typically see five levels of customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation (MA) maturity, and at each stage customer insight grows and automation increases:

Predictive Intelligence

The Rise of the B2B Predictive Marketer

Marketers have always been a curious bunch. Since Nielsen started conducting formalized surveys in the 1920s, there has been a long history of consumer-based market research that helped explain buyer personas, identify propensities to purchase, and explore the psychology behind the overall journey. Much later, and driven by the advent of the web, companies like Amazon, Target, Netflix, and Google took advantage of the explosion in new data-points to create robust recommendation engines using predictive analytics. The idea was to use statistical models examining historical behaviors to anticipate possible future actions. So if Pandora can suggest which musical artists a user is likely to enjoy based on listening patterns, why is the equivalent in B2B sales and marketing only coming into recent fruition?

PredictiveMarketer

Infer Raises $25 Million to Fuel Leadership in Predictive Intelligence

Press Release: Series B Funding from Redpoint Ventures Will Help Infer Meet Exploding Demand for Predictive Marketing and Sales

Infer Inc., a leading provider of predictive applications that help companies win more customers, today announced a $25 million Series B funding round led by inside investor Redpoint Ventures, bringing the company’s total financing to $35 million. Infer will use the funds to aggressively accelerate its mission of bringing predictive analytics to all types of sales and marketing organizations. Since the company’s launch just eighteen months ago, it has signed an impressive roster of enterprise customers – including AdRoll, Cloudera, New Relic, Optimizely, SurveyMonkey, Xactly and Zenefits – and grown revenue bookings 150 percent quarter over quarter.

Infer - Model Overview

“We’ve sparked a data revolution that goes way beyond lead scoring. Our predictive platform is helping enterprises achieve the same consumer-grade data intelligence as companies like Google and Amazon, and delivering big wins for our customers — like 4X conversion rates and 3X deal sizes,” said Vik Singh, co-founder and CEO of Infer. “Given our growth and leadership in the market, we were very fortunate to receive considerable VC interest from both outside and inside investors. We couldn’t be happier to further align Infer with a great partner like Redpoint so we can help every company out there drive its next phase of growth.”

Infer Joins New Salesforce Analytics Cloud Ecosystem to Advance Predictive-First Sales and Marketing Intelligence

Press Release: Infer’s predictive intelligence platform harnesses the power of Salesforce Analytics Cloud to give business users accurate, forward-looking sales and marketing insight on any device

Infer Inc., a leading provider of predictive applications that help companies win more customers, today announced it has joined the Salesforce Analytics Cloud ecosystem. Infer helps businesses predict and prioritize the highest potential sales and marketing prospects by using advanced data science and external signals from the web. Many fast-growing companies – including AdRoll, Box, New Relic, Optimizely and Xactly – already use Infer Scores inside of their Salesforce Dashboards to unlock revenue. Salesforce Analytics Cloud now empowers Infer’s customers with a whole new level of insight across the sales and marketing funnel.

Salesforce Analytics Cloud cropped

Your Dreamforce 2014 Reading List

DreamforceArguably one of the hottest cloud events of the year is quickly approaching, and like many folks we’re gearing up for another exciting Dreamforce in San Francisco this month. With lots of Salesforce-related buzz going around, including rumors of an Analytics Cloud announcement, we thought we’d share a reading list to help everyone get up to speed. Here are a few articles that will get you ready for some quality Dreamforce networking:

Marc Benioff’s leak of the imminent Salesforce Analytics Cloud announcement probably peaked your interest. Check out these thoughts from our head of marketing, Jamie Grenney, about whether this move will shake up the predictive space.

“Salesforce is putting the spotlight on the data-driven sales and marketing movement, and asking companies to re-imagine how they operate based on data. While rear-view analytics are great, they can be even better when complemented with forward-looking predictions.”

Salesforce’s recent acquisition of RelateIQ is sure to be another hot topic at Dreamforce. Read what our CEO, Vik Singh, had to say about it in VentureBeat. Feel free to share your thoughts below about whether Salesforce is really ready to integrate predictive capabilities.

“As the world moves to predictive, the big question is if these automation players can integrate predictive properly. Is Salesforce.com ready to make the hard trade-offs to support predictive-first by designing a system around data intelligence? Or will third parties be able to innovate faster outside the core?”

Vik also recently expounded upon the Predictive-First” revolution in TechCrunch, addressing how this new era of applications is changing enterprise software. His article is a great read for anyone following this space.

“By focusing on predictive as your key product differentiator, you can more easily prioritize a minimum viable product that is intuitive and powerful.”

Top 10 Data Science Thought Leaders Who Are Influencing Predictive Scoring

Top 10 Data Science Thought Leaders Who Are Influencing Predictive Scoring

In tandem with our recognition of the many experts contributing to today’s discussions around CRM, marketing technology and general marketing and sales best practices, we’ve compiled the following list of influencers in the world of data. We always enjoy hearing what these brilliant data science and predictive analytics thought leaders have to say.

  • Keith Bigelow, Salesforce SVP – Keith has a wealth of knowledge to contribute from his many years in the business intelligence space, so it’s no surprise that Salesforce has tapped him to lead its big data and analytics group.
  • Allen Bonde, Digital Clarity Group – And early proponent of data-driven marketing, Allen is a data scientist turned CMO turned analyst. He now works with clients to gain better market insight through what he calls “Small Data,” i.e. timely, meaningful insights derived from big data.
  • Jeff Hammerbacher, Cloudera founder & Chief Scientist – After building the first formal data science team at Facebook, Jeff is now a powerful advocate for bringing consumer Web data innovations like Hadoop into mainstream businesses.

Examples of External Signals Infer Tracks

Sales and marketing folks have been talking about lead scoring for years, so we often get asked “what’s different” about Infer’s way of doing things. One of the reasons Infer’s models perform so much better than traditional lead scoring is that our system pulls in several thousands of external signals, going well beyond what most organizations track in Salesforce.com or other CRM and marketing automation tools.

Signals

Broadly speaking, Infer gets these signals from three sources: crawling the web, purchasing data, and inferring signals from raw data sources. The last of these is the most subtle, and it’s our equivalent of Google’s secret sauce for web search.

Using Predictive Scoring to Bucket and Align Your Sales SLAs

A Sales SLA (Service Level Agreement) ensures that all of the leads marketing generates are followed up on by sales in a timely fashion. Most companies will create a tiered SLA based upon lead type — i.e. Contact Me Requests and Free Trials are top priority, while Webinar attendees and eBook downloaders may only warrant a single phone call.

Tarditional SLA

Does Predictive Scoring Work if You’re Trying to Enter a New Market?

Cracking New MarketsThis is a question that often comes up in conversations with our prospects and customers. What happens when you want to push into a new market where you haven’t had a track record of success? Does predictive scoring offer any value? Or does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy that limits your potential?

The short answer is yes. Predictive Scoring can be extremely helpful in breaking into new markets. Here are some things to think about…