May 28, 2018

4 Ways to power up sales growth with marketing analytics

4 Ways to power up sales growth with marketing analytics
BY Peggy Nordeen

B2B | Data Science | SFBJ

Reprinted from South Florida Business Journal.

Advances in predictive modeling and marketing automation tools armed with machine learning are ending the sales forecasting guessing game and helping companies grow. No longer is your sales force the only go-to source of information on who potential customers will be, where they will come from, what will influence them, how much they will likely spend and when they will purchase.

While modeling prospective customers and their behaviors has been the stuff of researchers and direct marketers for years, marketing automation tools that both draw from and feed information into these models in real time, using algorithms that learn from the individual actions of prospects, are changing the game. It’s important for successful companies to update their sales and marketing operations to include these powerful tools.

Companies that take this seriously have realized their marketing goals with 20 percent or more reduction in spend. Those saved dollars can make your marketing efforts more robust, drive more sales and help pay for investment in your marketing analytics.

Predictive model all media

The good news is that any modeling you have done so far can give you a head start in updating your processes. Because the first thing you should do to implement these new advances is to predictive model all of your direct response media (including digital) as it applies to your prospect models. The richer the historical data and data sources you have used for your model, the more prepared you are. More good news is that, when used in combination with the following analytic functions, your model should become more accurate.

Attribution model your media

There are many quality vendors with advanced software to do this work. With attribution modeling, they assign a value through an algorithm or statistical model to each touchpoint a prospect encounters on the path to conversion or the sale. For example, they attribution model your cookie data for all media to understand the impact of each touchpoint.

Then they apply your predictive model to your web lead forms and customer relationship management (CRM) files to integrate this intelligence with your prospect data. Applying attribution modeling moves marketers beyond focusing on a touchpoint such as “last click attribution,” which is a valley so many get stuck in because it’s easier to understand and report.

And with objective algorithms recording prospect behavior at all touchpoints, prospects can be scored more accurately than by a basic formula or what someone “thinks.” This puts the sales force in a position to focus on highly desired prospects.

With some automated marketing tools, the application to your CRM and prospect model can happen in real time through machine-learning algorithms. Real-time updating of this information keeps your data clean and your decision tools sharp.

Integrate powerful ‘call analytics’

While it sounds self-explanatory, phone tracking or “call analytics” is more powerful than you think, especially given the ubiquity of smartphones and mobile advertising. Call analytics can capture not only the metadata – such as call timing and area code – but can attribute every call back to the campaign that generated it, whether online or offline, and even identify sales and conversions through automated voice recognition and transcription. So, a third and important addition is to apply call analytics to all your owned, earned and paid media, and apply your predictive model to your call center for inbound calls. Once you know the phone number, you know the prospect. And the same number tracks business texting and chat, leaving an important data trail.

Incorporate real-time data into your dashboard

All of your prospect predictive and media attribution models need to be incorporated into your results dashboard. (Learn more about dashboards in the May 2017 Competitive Advantage column.) The important thing is to make sure that you can get, not just media “last click” numbers, but updates to your predictive models, media attribution models and call analytics in real time.

When you have fully updated and implemented these three marketing analytics functions in your company, you will power up your sales and end the forecasting guessing game – definitely a competitive advantage.