Written by Rebecca Smith, Marketing Coordinator – Heinz Marketing Inc.

Would you like to take the guesswork out of your sales campaigns? Would you like to see more leads convert to deals?

These questions and concerns might not be new, but if you answered yes to one or both of them, and haven’t yet tried predictive intelligence to increase sales effectiveness and drive ROI, it might be time.

Imagine what ROI your sales programs could produce if you knew exactly who to target, who would respond to your efforts, and who would convert to a sale.  This is what predictive intelligence does. With predictive intelligence, you can find buyers before they find you. As Nick Panayi, director of Global Brand and Digital Marketing at CSC, says:

“Predictive intelligence allows you to extract the most value from the hard work of building a digital ecosystem and studying the digital body language of customers and prospects and gives marketing and sales teams an advantage to gracefully enter the buyer’s digital journey earlier and better-informed than their competition.”

Focus your marketing efforts

Predictive intelligence makes it possible to focus your sales and marketing efforts in two related ways: First, as a marketer you are more equipped to identify the right leads to pass on to sales; and secondly, both sales and marketing teams spend their time in smarter ways focusing on engaging the most important prospects.

The right prospect

Not everyone with a spine is a potential customer for a chiropractor, and the same principle can be applied to B2B sales. With 54% of sales reps reporting they struggle to meet their quotas on time and that, on average, sales reps are spending 24% of their time on research alone, it’s time to make processes more efficient and let data do more of the work. Predictive intelligence lets you zero in on the smaller segments that are more likely to buy, based on individual activities that demonstrate buyer intent.

The right channel

Using the same communications channel for each prospect is also risky and could be an inefficient use of time. While some might prefer email, others might prefer social media or SMS, for example. When making a choice on where to reach out to a prospect, the most important piece of information you need to consider is where that person spends their time. Best practices may tell you social selling on Twitter is a great method, but if your prospects aren’t already there, it will be completely useless. You’ll see an exponential increase in your chances of being heard if you use the channel your prospect prefers. Predictive intelligence helps you discover what this channel is.

The right time

With over 185 billion results in Google for “timing in sales,” it’s safe to say timelines are something all smart salespeople consider and weigh very heavily in their strategy development.

In sales, there are many things that can happen if the timing is off or not considered at all:

  • A competitor wins the deal
  • The prospect is not in a position to purchase
  • The prospect is not in need of your solution

Ultimately, when a prospect isn’t ready to buy, they aren’t going to buy, and there’s little you can do to change that. However, for each prospect who isn’t in a position to buy, it’s highly likely there are multiple others who are. Predictive intelligence helps you identify those early buying signals and distinguish between those who are in the market to buy and those who are not, and therefore focus your efforts properly and efficiently ahead of your competitors.

The right offer

There are a few companies in the history of business who have succeeded with a single product, but most B2B companies today have multiple offerings. Smart salespeople do everything they can to gather information on what they can provide to solve the need of each individual prospect, and predictive intelligence adds depth to these efforts. For example, you and I might both want to buy a car, but perhaps you want a red convertible and I want a blue pickup. Any sales efforts to try and sell you the blue pickup will be in vain.  Having this information as early as possible will keep the sales process efficient and to-the-point.

Predictive intelligence leads to increased profitability

Gartner predicts organizations that use predictive business performance metrics will increase their profitability by 20% by 2017.  That’s because predictive intelligence helps businesses spend their marketing budgets more wisely, by focusing on the right audiences with the right timing, channel, and offer. This kind of specificity can only increase the success rate with a faster sales cycle, more productive sales force, improved performance, and higher ROI on marketing expenditures.

Want to dive a little deeper and learn more about predictive intelligence?  

Check out the INmarket event July 8 in San Francisco.  It’s the place where executive-level marketing strategists, big data visionaries and digital practitioners come together to share insights on how B2B companies can use customer intelligence and data to improve their business.  Matt will be speaking along with a number of other leading B2B influencers.  Seats are extremely limited at this venue so take a minute to reserve your spot now – use promo code “HEINZ” to save 25% off your registration.  Hope to see you there!