Predictive marketing analytics technology can lift conversion rates and increase deal sizes, says a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

Business-to-business marketers are seeing measurable results from predictive marketing analytics technology. Improvements noted by early adopters include better leads, higher conversion rates at various stages of the buying process, shorter sales cycles and larger average deal sizes, according to a new report.

Predictive marketing analytics “is an emerging market that’s crowded with many early entrants originating from academic or government backgrounds, enjoying piles of VC (venture capital) money and lauding sophisticated new technologies,” write analysts Allison Snow and Laura Ramos, co-authors of a Forrester Research Inc. report titled “The Forrester Wave: Predictive Marketing Analytics for B2B Marketers, Q2 2017.”

The report is based on a survey of B2B customers of predictive marketing analytics software vendors. 70 companies responded to the Q1 survey.

Predictive marketing analytics software enables marketers to compile information on a customer’s past purchasing activity and other characteristics to predict how he will respond to particular marketing messages and the likelihood he’ll make a purchase.

The report identified key benefits of predictive marketing analytics:

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Higher-quality leads. Lead scoring, the traditional process of ranking sales leads based on the perceived value of the prospect, still requires a considerable amount of guesswork, the report says. “Using a broader range of demographics, business-buying activities and social cues, new-generation predictive analytics helps marketers identify the specific combination of behaviors” and characteristics that make a lead more promising to pursue, the report says.

Better conversion rates. Predictive analytics vendors consistently delivered quantifiable results to all reference customers in the survey. “When comparing deals identified by our PMA partner against baseline accounts, conversion-to-opportunity rates were 3.25 times higher,” says a Dell Inc. marketing executive cited in the report. “Purchase-stage opportunities scored with predictive analytics converted at 50%, while non-scored opportunities converted at only 17%.”

Balance the efforts of marketing and sales. Predictive marketing analytics can yield higher-quality leads that sales reps can qualify faster, marketing-sourced insights that help reps engage in more relevant dialogue with prospects, and better understanding of and commitment to sales priorities, says a marketing executive cited in the report from InsightSquared, a sales intelligence software firm. 15% of leads developed by InsightSquared’s marketing department generate 80% of sales, but with PMA technology “we now suppress 40% of that volume but still deliver more high-quality leads,” the executive says.

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