Act-On Improves Marketing Efficiencies by Embracing Predictive Marketing

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At Infer, we’re fortunate to work with forward-looking marketers around the world. As more companies join the predictive revolution, we love sharing their great success stories — and marketing automation innovator Act-On is no exception. To support its focus on the mid-market CMO, the company’s marketing team adopted Infer Predictive Scoring and gained a better understanding of how closely each lead fits Act-On’s ideal customer profile.

In a recent conversation with Act-On CMO, Kevin Bobowski, he discussed why his team adopted predictive, how it has changed their workflows, and several benefits that they’ve realized in just their first year of using Infer.

Sean Zinsmeister Discusses All Things Product, Predictive, and ABM

Flip the Switch podcast

Sean Zinsmeister recently joined Hana Abaza from Uberflip for “Flip the Switch,” which is a great weekly marketing podcast series that interviews growth-oriented marketing leaders about how they get results, approach problems and drive growth. Sean and Hana chatted about why product marketing should be the core of your content marketing strategy, the underlying truth about ABM that no one talks about, and how businesses are using predictive analytics help companies determine where to spend their marketing efforts and identify valuable untapped whitespace.

You can listen below, or on our podcast channel on SoundCloud.

Predictive Analytics: Why They Make Your Content More Impactful

This byline by Infer’s Sean Zinsmeister was originally published on the Salesforce blog.

Customers today have an insatiable appetite for information, making content a vital part of how sales and marketing teams communicate, educate and influence prospects throughout the buying cycle. But, there are some clear indicators that we need to get smarter about how we view content marketing and its relevancy to our customers and businesses. The stats are sobering: a recent study found that 50% of content gets eight shares or less; another uncovered that 60-70% of B2B content goes unused; and Forrester discovered that 90% of content is ignored by B2B sales teams. It’s clear that there’s misalignment between the content that’s being created and its intended audience.

Introducing Infer Form Monitor: How a Simple Marketing Challenge Sparked Internal Innovation

As it’s often said, necessity is the mother of all invention. Recently, we decided to re-architect our Pardot Marketing Automation, and as part of this project, we began looking for a way to test all of the forms on our website in order to make sure they were working properly. Any Marketing Operations person will tell you that the last thing they want to worry about is whether they are forfeiting leads because of a broken form.

As we looked to the market for a solution to this problem, we were surprised that none existed — and, certainly not one that worked easily with WordPress and Pardot. So, we kicked off an internal project to find a better way to monitor the health of website forms. The result was our brand new Form Monitor, which is a simple WordPress plugin that comes fully integrated with Pardot and can be downloaded on the WordPress marketplace.

In the spirit of idea generation and innovation, we want to share our learnings with our friends in the broader marketing community. So, we sat down with our Senior Director of Product Marketing, Sean Zinsmeister, to learn more about the inspiration for the plugin, how it takes a big load off MOPS, and lessons learned along the way.

3 Growth Hacks to Boost Revenue Upwards of 10%

This byline by Infer’s Sean Zinsmeister was originally published on the Salesforce blog.

Every sales leader, in every company, is searching for a killer growth angle. We all want to know how to squeeze more out of our pipeline. The best go-to-market managers differentiate themselves by pinpointing key segments where they can close deals quickly. However, this isn’t a code many people can easily crack. Whether you know it or not, your company is sitting on at least some “white space” of untapped opportunities that are already in your funnel. Few businesses realize how much potential revenue they’re actually leaving on the table, but we’re seeing more and more elite sales and marketing shops figure out how to turn pipeline gaps into revenue growth upwards of 10% – and I’ve had the privilege of learning from several of them.

One thing I’ve noticed in top-notch Sales VPs is that it all starts with how good they are at forecasting pipeline. But even when management is great at predicting how much revenue each rep and each channel will bring in, high-growth companies are never quite on target. That’s why identifying gaps is crucial to meeting sales goals. Once you determine where your team is missing the mark, you need to make adjustments quickly to address those gaps. This could mean reassigning territories, changing the makeup of the team, mandating training programs, etc. Good managers go through this cycle again and again to optimize and perfect sales motions until they hit or exceed their number.

The second stage in that sales management cycle – identifying gaps – is the toughest to nail, especially as a company evolves. But I’ve found that the gray area of discovering hidden gems already sitting in a CRM or Marketing Automation system is actually one of those variables that can have a large impact on the topline.

4 products Microsoft should build with LinkedIn

This byline by Infer’s Vik Singh was originally published on VentureBeat.

LinkedIN

Last week, Microsoft stunned the tech world with the largest ever software acquisition – the purchase of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. While early news coverage has addressed plans to keep LinkedIn independent, there’s been little discussion about what exactly the two companies will do together. As someone who’s entrenched in the LinkedIn and Microsoft ecosystems, I thought I’d share four exciting products this acquisition makes possible:

1. Redefined business email

The quickest and broadest impact Microsoft can make with LinkedIn is to redesign its Outlook interface. The companies could easily bring LinkedIn insights, profile photos, etc. into the email experience (similar to whatRapportive offers today but with a seamless, actionable approach). Outlook could even show recent updates and thought leadership pieces from a particular profile as talking point suggestions to automatically populate in an email when selected.

Microsoft could also add automated email filtering and prioritization features with folder recommendations that improve email productivity. Imagine if you could get emails that meet certain criteria — say they come from a particular job title and are second-degree connections with at least 500 connections themselves — to stick in the top of your inbox until they receive your attention.

2. Universal identity

There’s no doubt that LinkedIn’s biggest asset is its social graph with data about virtually everyone in the business-to-business (B2B) world. Ask any salesperson — it’s the business data they trust the most. Social proofing goes a long way. More importantly, when someone moves from one company to another, their LinkedIn identity remains intact. By rethinking the sense of a “user” in theMicrosoft Graph (a focus at the company’s Build 2016 developer conference a few months ago) around their LinkedIn profile, Microsoft could capture more activities about that individual from before and after they joined their current company.

As a result, the Microsoft Graph would become richer, blending LinkedIn information and updates with corporate activities like emails, calendar events, etc. Companies could also leverage LinkedIn credentials for single sign on (albeit there are enterprise security challenges here). This would ultimately be a better experience, because rather than needing new credentials every time you start a new job, you could use the login you already remember (and won’t forget, as LinkedIn will always be a key part of your career). We might even see an evolution in messaging, and the approach of sending emails to corporate addresses that may no longer be valid will become old school. Instead, Outlook integration could make sending messages to each other’s LinkedIn accounts feel seamless.

LinkedIn’s social graph could also spruce up Microsoft’s bot framework, which got a lot of attention at the Build conference as well. More apps that enable personalized, compelling conversations on top of Microsoft platforms would help accelerate the company’s “conversation-as-a-platform” strategy and boost adoption and lock-in for Microsoft’s cloud platform. If the social graph was hosted in the Azure Marketplace and offered convenient API hooks that played nicer with Microsoft’s platforms, developers would want to host their apps on Azure.

For example, a developer could build a bot that analyzes email activity (via the Microsoft Graph), as well as which employees in the company are updating their LinkedIn profiles, and then models that data with Azure Machine Learning to notify managers which of their employees are likely to churn. Of course, this raises major privacy issues that Microsoft and LinkedIn would need to address. Protecting users’ privacy is paramount for a consumer service like LinkedIn that touts “members first,” and this will get more challenging as it moves into the enterprise space.

Predictive Analytics for B2B Sales and Marketing has Certainly “Crossed the Chasm”

This Q&A with Infer’s Sean Zinsmeister was originally published on MarTech Advisor.i1916_575e6510c2543

Predictive analytics for B2B sales and marketing has certainly “crossed the chasm”, but it’s still in the early adopters phase of the product development lifecycle, and will continue to mature. MarTech Advisor spoke to Infer’s Sean Zinsmeister about the predictive space and Infer’s product strategy.

Consolidation Versus Integration of Predictive Intelligence Platforms

I expect that we’ll see some consolidation, but even more integration as the industry evolves. The reality is that today’s marketing clouds are still fairly immature and cobbled together vs. providing one cohesive cloud. When you look at the predictive movement, there has been a lot of hype and a lot of vendors chasing shiny objects. Our strategy is not to build an all-in-one solution or a walled garden, but rather to deliver an open architecture that can share data, predictions, recommendations and action triggers across any marketing cloud, system of record or other specialized tool (i.e. AdRoll, Outreach, Pardot, Act-On, etc.).

Open architecture is especially important because martech is getting increasingly balkanized by salestech, and the go-to-market stack is expanding. Our approach is to build deeper hooks into engagement systems. This will in turn increase the predictive power of our models and allow us to drive more targeted segmentation, recommend appropriate next-best actions, and ultimately make all of a company’s systems run more efficiently.

Predictive Analytics: A Content Marketer’s Secret Weapon

We had a great time co-hosting a webinar with Uberflip last week about why predictive analytics matters for content marketers. Research shows that most B2B content just isn’t living up to its true potential. With a predictive-driven content marketing strategy, however, B2B marketers are able to leverage historical data from their content to produce more effective materials by relying less on educated guesswork and more on data.

Uberflip + Infer Webinar

 

In this webinar replay, you will learn:

  • Why content marketing and predictive analytics go hand-in-hand
  • How to drive more value from content using effective targeting and segmentation from predictive analytics
  • How top B2B organizations are leveraging predictive analytics to boost their B2B marketing results

We hope you enjoy the webinar, which you can watch here.

For more details on how predictive is helping businesses create more effective marketing organizations, request a free demo or start a free 14-day trial of Profile Management now.