Does “Intent” Data Live Up to the Hype?

Originally posted on VentureBeat

With all the talk about predictive-driven sales and marketing, a new question is emerging – which data is most valuable? Many B2B businesses are achieving unprecedented customer insight by leveraging all kinds of external demographic and firmographic data to see if a company is a good fit for their product. Some are pairing that with signals from their marketing automation systems and web analytics to predict whether a prospect might be ready to buy soon.

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Now, another breed of “intent data” has emerged. External data providers like Bombora, The Big Willow, IDG and TechTarget are aggregating information about web visitors on B2B publisher networks to help businesses figure out when certain prospects might be in the market for their product. This kind of insight presents an exciting new frontier for data-driven marketing.

SmartBug Media Q&A with Infer’s Sean Zinsmeister

Inbound marketing agency SmartBug Media does a great job of educating its clients on new ways to increase marketing ROI and grow their business. Recently, the company’s director of marketing, Dolly Howard, sat down with our own Sean Zinsmeister to talk about the value HubSpot customers can enjoy by adding predictive scoring to their technology stack

What is predictive lead scoring

 

Here’s a an excerpt from their Q&A:

How is predictive lead scoring different than custom lead scoring in HubSpot? There are two big differences between predictive lead scoring and the kind of custom lead scoring in marketing automation platforms (MAPs). The first is that predictive uses both internal data from your CRM and MA systems plus thousands of external signals from a variety of data sources outside your company. The second major distinction is that predictive scoring solutions use machine learning to look at all kinds of combinations in the data that humans could never grok on their own. Whereas MAPs require you to manually come up with points-based calculations formed through your gut instincts, predictive solutions take the guesswork out of the equation and do all that work for you in order to better predict higher converting leads.

3 Ways Startups are Disrupting the Enterprise

Last month, venture capitalist and leading Internet forecaster Mary Meeker produced her 20th annual Internet Trends report, yet again encapsulating several valuable insights on the current state of technology. Now a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, her latest publication includes all kinds of great observations, but what really caught my eye were her points about “re-imagining” enterprise computing (check out slides 28-45).

 

She talks about changing business process one segment at a time vs. trying to overhaul everything all at once, which makes a lot of sense. But the presentation also got me thinking about the broader approaches startups are using to entice companies to change their ways. If you look closely at the disruptive startups Meeker highlights in her presentation – from Gainsight, Slack and Zenefits, to Square, Stripe, Domo, Anaplan, etc. – you’ll notice some clear similarities in the methods they’re using to re-invent business processes.

The Game-Changing Potential of Predictive Analytics

Jeremy is Director of Marketing at Ambition, friend of Infer and guest blogger.

For sales professionals, time and money are one in the same. Ask any successful sales organization, and they’ll tell you that efficiency is the ultimate ally of a good sales process.

Matt Heinz preaches it. Lori Richardson preaches it. Dionne Mischler preaches it. Just yesterday, I spent a solid hour speaking with a Sr. Account Executive for an Enterprise SaaS company. The topic: Sales process adjustments his company made to increase efficiency, which cut his average sales cycle length in half.

Bottom line: If you’re not aggressively pursuing greater efficiency in your sales organization, here in 2015, you’re falling behind the curve and placing yourself at a disadvantage.

Take a Listen to “Moneyball for Marketing”

This week our CRO, Jim Herbold, got a chance to sit down with B2B marketing thought leader, Glenn Gow, for his popular Moneyball for Marketing podcast.

Jim Herbold

Jim and Glenn talked about all things predictive – including marketing use cases for predictive intelligence, real world success stories, and four B2B barriers to predictive analytics adoption that are rapidly disappearing. Check out this excerpt from their lively discussion…

Glenn: Tell us an example of what companies are doing in the real world and how they’re taking advantage of predictive analytics.

Jim: Well, there’s an easy example I can speak to. I was the first customer of this company Infer when I worked at Box. When I was running sales at Box, I had the luxurious challenge of dealing with very large lead flows. We had a freemium aspect to the business. We also had a very vibrant free trial aspect to allowing people to get into our service pretty quickly. So, very large flows and leads, we’re talking tens of thousands and I could never afford to apply a lead qualifier to plow through all of those leads systematically over time. I needed a way to find the proverbial needle in a haystack and I started working with Infer.

Predictive Will Be Abuzz at SXSW

Predictive is well on its way to becoming one of the hottest technologies of 2015, so it’s not surprising the topic will be featured at one of the biggest tech conferences of the year – the SXSW Interactive Festival, which kicks off this Friday. On Saturday, we’ll be facilitating a session titled “All Signs Point to Yes – Predictive is Here.”

SXSW Predictive

The panel will be moderated by Ryan Sarver, formerly an early Twitter employee and now a Redpoint Ventures partner who’s making big bets on intelligent applications in the B2B and B2C space. He’ll lead a discussion with our own Vik Singh, as well as Jonathan Foley, vice president of science at Gild, and Karl Rumelhart, vice president of products at Gainsight, about how predictive is making its way into every part of the enterprise.

Ever Tasted Grilled Unicorn? Lessons Forged In Hyper-Growth Fires

Originally published on TechCrunch.

Have you ever heard of a Silicon Valley unicorn? I rode one with Box for a number of years, and I’m so proud that my startup unicorn made it past the gates of the IPO with flying colors. Box’s exciting milestone (and my new start at Infer) have led me to reflect on the mindsets, strategies and playbooks that are most important when setting the stage for unicorn-like rapid growth.

To organize my thoughts about driving hyper-growth, I hacked the image at left below. Gone are the following cuts of unicorn meat: magic, wishes, giggles, rainbows, kisses, sunshine, surprises, hugs and hope. My new and improved creature (at right below) starts with the horn, the most special and integral part of the beast:

Silicon Valley Unicorn

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

How LinkedIn Could Take On Salesforce

Originally Posted on TechCrunchlinkedin-salesforce-collide

Today’s B2B sales and marketing folks struggle with the overwhelming number of channels for finding and reaching new leads. The customer “funnel” continues to expand as buyers do more of their own research before raising their hand to connect with a sales rep. But imagine if you could make the funnel wider by identifying leads when they’re just browsing your site and haven’t yet filled out your “contact me” form, or leads who haven’t yet visited but are likely to be a good fit for your product?

That’s hard to do with the primitive tools that are available for sales and marketers today, unless you bring together some very rare assets — which just so happen to all exist at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the only company with… Continue Reading on TechCrunch

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.”