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:
Level 1: Group Contact Management
Once you have a shared database with all of your customers and prospects, you can pull lists and view activity history. This helps your organization reduce operational inefficiencies, but doesn’t usually produce deep insight into who your best customers are.
Level 2: Sales Force Automation
By deploying an automation system like Salesforce, you can standardize your processes and capture transactional data. This allows you to report on the status of your leads and opportunities, and begin to identify trends across your customer base by looking at converted vs. archived leads and wins vs. losses.
Level 3: Marketing Automation
Bringing in a Marketing Automation solution like Marketo or Eloqua is a good next step because it allow you to capture behavioral data from your website, email campaigns, and social channels. This provides a fuller picture of the customer, but the manually configured lead scoring in these systems have their limits, and you often end up with scores that reps don’t trust.
Level 4: Predictive Intelligence
Companies that reach level four have a huge leg up on their competition. They’re able to accurately predict which prospects are likely to become great customers. In the past, only the most sophisticated companies achieved this kind of data maturity because it required data scientists, a software stack, lots of external data, a testing framework, and integration with CRM. Today world-class predictive scoring is available to companies of all sizes, because vendors like Infer have solved the problem end-to-end with solutions that can be implemented in a matter of days.
Level 5: Data Scientists
While most companies will opt for predictive-as-a-service, some may also hire their own team of data scientists in-house. However, building something like a proprietary predictive scoring model for your own use is a bit like writing your own CRM software. It can be done, but you’ll lose the economies of scale from tapping into a service.
If you’d like move up the predictive maturity curve, download our Guide to Predictive Lead Scoring to find out about all the great predictive plays that are benefitting real companies today, and check out some powerful frameworks for measuring lead scoring ROI.