Big Data coupled with predictive technologies are now able to forecast what has not been possible up to now: buyer intent. This should help reduce the gap between Sales teams’ need for customer leads generation and what their Marketing colleagues currently actually deliver.
Companies in all sectors have been setting higher revenue targets recently, but this optimism seems to have been somewhat misplaced. In 2012, less than two thirds of all sales people made their quotas and less than 57% of companies hit their targets. A survey carried out by CSO Insights, a leading sales and marketing effectiveness research firm, among more than 1,200 corporate and sales executives worldwide, has now shown that using a combination of Big Data and predictive analytics to help firms increase revenue could be the way to go. Using these technologies, firms should manage to bridge the 70% lead generation gap between sales and marketing, reckons CSO Insights. Progress has been made over the last two years in aligning sales with marketing, but there’s still a long way to go. Barry Trailer, co-founder of the research firm, believes that “Big Data has the potential to begin closing this gap by providing Sales and Marketing people with buying signals they may not even know exist.”
Predicting buyer intent
Predictive analytics technology, together with marketing automation, enable data collection from both internal sources, such as CRM and purchase history, and external sources, including social media. Once the data has been analysed, firms can quickly predict which customers and prospects have the greatest propensity to buy. Big Data therefore seems to be a more promising tool than those which have been used so far by companies’ Marketing departments. Survey results show that at a large number of firms, despite investment in CRM, the Marketing department supplies only 30% of the leads. Shashi Upadhyay, CEO of Lattice, a US-based provider of predictive analytics tools, believes that “Big Data and predictive analytics are the next frontier for marketing,” i.e. these are the technologies which should be used when looking for new prospects.
Quality and quantity of leads needs improvement
Some 65% of those surveyed identified new customer acquisition as their top priority, yet 68% reported struggling to generate enough leads. They blame Marketing for not providing enough quality leads despite investments made in marketing tools and nearly half believe that the quality and quantity of Marketing-generated leads needs improvement. The study finds that “Sales reps at some organisations are carrying out their own ‘rogue’ activities, including lead generation with one-off email campaigns, building micro-sites and leading webinars.” It’s no real surprise this is happening, because 42% of sales reps feel they do not have the right information before making a call. They therefore waste an estimated 20% of their time doing their own research when they are supposed to be selling.