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minute read
March 20, 2020

Understanding Predictive Sales Data For B2B

Written by
David Scott

Your sales and marketing team need to be empowered to make the best decisions. If not, your business is missing out on revenue.

No matter how much intuition or experience your team may have, data will help them make smarter choices and learn valuable insights such as:

  • Which leads to be spending their time on
  • Identifying upsell opportunities
  • Sales campaign performance

This is where predictive sales analytics comes in. Rather than relying on guesswork, predictive sales analytics will help you grow in a predictable way and make decisions using data that you can trust. Predictive sales analytics has a wide range of use cases. Once you start using it, it will help your team streamline their efforts and get better results from the information they have. In this article, I'm going to walk you through what predictive sales analytics is, why you should be using it, and how you can apply it to your sales and marketing efforts in a B2B business.

What is Predictive Sales Analytics?

Predictive sales analytics is the act of extracting useful information from large data sets that you can then use to predict trends in your sales activity and behaviour patterns from your leads and customers. It goes a step further than traditional analytics. Rather than looking to the past and making efforts to predict the future, it applies statistical analysis to predict the likelihood of future events, such as a lead purchasing from you. Before I go any further, it's worth knowing that predictive sales analytics won't give you powers to be able to predict the future flawlessly. The accuracy of your results will depend on the accuracy of the data you put into it and the assumptions you go into it with. As long as you are aware of the limitations of your predictions, you can make the best decisions possible.

It's also worth noting that predictive sales analytics is highly technical and shouldn't be a task for your sales team unless they're well versed in data science. It should be a coordinated effort between sales and marketing, and the data analysis and modeling done by a data scientist where possible.

How Can You Use Predictive Sales Analytics?

There are many ways you can apply predictive sales analytics to your company. It's usually used to improve activities that often rely on guesswork and intuition. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Improve Lead Scoring Abilities

Nearly every sales team will have data on how quickly leads move through your sales funnel towards a purchase. Lead scoring is an integral part of the process as it helps your sales team identify who is purchase-ready and who they should engage with. However, traditional lead scoring is reactive, rather than proactive.

Predictive sales analytics allows you to preempt who is going to become purchase-ready. By identifying trends in leads who do convert, you'll be able to map those onto existing leads and see if they're following a similar conversion path to existing customers. Your team can then prioritise their efforts on those most likely to convert and improve their close rate.

2. Optimizing Sales Messaging

With your sales messaging stored in your CRM, you start learning more about what messages work, what messages don't, and spend time optimising how your team communicates with leads.

This could include:

  • The content of your sales emails
  • The benefits of your solution that you emphasise
  • The timing of your follow-ups

3. Monitor Sales and Marketing Performance

All sales functions need accurate information on how well they're performing, whether KPIs are being hit, and if there are other factors identifying performance. You can apply predictive sales analytics to your performance measurement to discover how well individuals are performing, whether you're on track to surpass goals and KPIs, and then make decisions on if things should change to ensure those goals are met.

Benefits of Predictive Sales Forecasting and Analytics

There are a variety of benefits to using predictive sales analytics in a B2B company. From improving your sales and marketing alignment to closing more deals, you'll be able to improve your business efficiency in a range of ways.

1. Improved Sales and Marketing Alignment

Misalignment of sales and marketing costs business up to 10% of revenue every year. Once the two departments are fully aligned, everything will improve. Messaging will be consistent. Goals will be aligned. Revenue will increase. With predictive sales (and marketing) analytics, you can identify what truly works and double down your efforts on it. Your team will be able to align their priorities and ensure that they're working as a unit, making everyone's job easier. From messaging to outreach strategies, everything will work together seamlessly to help you improve your lead generation and close new business.

2. Convert More Qualified Leads into Customers

Once you apply predictive sales analytics, your sales team will be working closely with marketing to identify and close the best deals. Companies with well-aligned teams have 38% higher sales win rates.

Companies who align their sales and marketing efforts outperform those who don't

This is a result of your marketing team being able to focus on the acquisition channels that bring in the most qualified leads and your sales team knowing the best messaging to use in their communications. From there, your sales team can focus their efforts on the prospects most likely to convert.

3. Plan for the Future with Accuracy

According to Gartner, companies lose 10% of annual sales opportunities because of poor planning. Luckily, predictive sales analytics will help you plan for the future with accuracy. Using past sales data and assumptions for the coming year, you can create accurate sales forecasts and predict revenue growth. Of course, this won't be foolproof. If your situation changes, or if your business environment changes, your models should be updated with new assumptions.

4. Improve Customer Retention

Thanks to your data-driven approach, you'll be able to reduce churn and improve retention. Companies in the US alone lose $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable consumer switching By tracking trends in how your churning customers act, you'll be able to identify new 'at risk' customers based on factors like:

  • How often they're using your solution
  • Their communication levels with your team

Once you start recognising patterns in customers who churn, you can work to ensure existing customers don't fall into those same patterns. If they do, you can reach out early, help them, and guarantee they're happy with your product or service.

Predictive Sales Analytics Software: How Internal Results Can Help

There are tools out there to help you implement predictive sales analytics in your company and improve your lead generation efforts. Internal Results can help. If you're looking to improve your sales performance, then Internal Results is for you. Our blend of intent data and B2B data enables companies to identify and engage with their ideal buyers, wherever they are in the world.

Use Internal Results to grow your lead pipeline and identify in-market buyers

Wrapping Up

Predictive sales analytics is a powerful way to improve your sales and marketing operations. You and your team will gain new insights into your existing processes, sales trends, strategy effectiveness, and customer activities. When implemented correctly, predictive analytics will move the needle in the right direction as you can make decisions with confidence. Remember, it's vital that the assumptions and data you include in your models are up-to-date and accurate. Otherwise, the reality may look different to your forecasts.

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