By Peter Mollins
Predictive technology for sales and marketing is hot right now. At SAVO, we know it — we live and breathe predictive every day. Why’s it so valuable? Because predictive technology and processes can identify where a company’s go-to-market resources will likely have the most impact, and so sales and marketing teams can concentrate investment where it will win. And that can have a dramatic impact on revenue growth.
Let’s start with a definition of predictive technology for sales and marketing. Basically, it uses data (‘big’ data or otherwise) about the past behavior of units like companies and people. It makes connections between their actions, related signals, and attributes. And then uses that data to predict what future behaviors are likely to be.
That can help you to determine which leads are hottest, which campaigns will influence certain accounts, and which content will resonate best with a prospect. Let’s look at that last case in more detail.
Right Sales Enablement Content Resonates with Prospects
The saying that “content is king” is often, but not always, true. Yes, prospects and customers are hungry for the information and insight that comes through sales enablement content. And sales people want content to share with their prospects. In fact, up to 95% of sellers surveyed by SAVO said they demand more content from their sales enablement and marketing teams.
But randomly shared content, old content, or content that’s not tuned to a specific recipient is just not going to support a sales process. In fact, that kind of poorly thought-through sharing might set a sales process back.
Instead, if you knew which material a prospect wanted to read, if you knew what content advanced similar prospects in similar sales situations, then you could be more confident about what to share with a prospect.
80% of buyers think that sellers don’t add value in a sales conversation. If they don’t add value, reps are going to be ignored and deals aren’t going to advance. The sellers that do add value — what happens to them? They are treated as key resources by buyers and are substantially more likely to be taken forward in the buy-process.
After all, wouldn’t you yourself prefer to read material or engage in a discussion that specifically matched to what your interests and priorities are?
Getting the Most Out of Your Predictions
Sounds great. But how do you know what content will resonate with the buyer? That’s where predictive comes into play. Predictive technology can identify which resources will engage and advance your prospects. And it does it best when it’s built around these three key notions:
- Build predictions around signals that matter
- Treat predictions as something to be acted on
- Adapt your content creation going forward
Building Predictions around Signals that Matter
A great prediction of what to say or share with a prospect is only as good as the inputs into that prediction. For some situations, it may be the buyer’s role in the organization that predicts what will resonate. For others, it’s where they are in the sales process. Or maybe which products they’ve bought. Or where they are in the buyer journey. Or some combination of many elements.
A good predictive approach will progressively identify all of the elements that influence the resonance of content. It will get smarter over time, helping sellers to get more and more attuned recommendations of content. That means that predictive is not just successful at the beginning. It gets better over time as more data on success and failure are gathered.
This increased relevance of content has significant impact on sales team effectiveness. We’re seeing companies that get the right content into sellers’ hands dramatically boosting their deal sizes. Welch Allyn, for example added $4.5 million in business because their sellers had material that best matched their sales needs.
Treat Predictions as something to be Acted On
Predictive is more than a report. It’s about action. When your system suggests great content to sales reps, it shouldn’t be simply hidden away in a report. Reporting is critical, of course, because it helps to fine-tune predictions. But ultimately, you want your sales team to better engage your prospects.
To do so, you should make predictions actionable. How? By pushing content that’s predicted to win for a given sales situation into the workflow of sellers. Even if sales people want content that’s suggested for a given contact or account, they’ll only use it if they know it’s there and it’s easy to share. So, push recommendations into workflow via mobile, email, CRM, and via a portal-like experience that reps want to return to because of the value they get.
By coming to reps where they work or providing sales people with a rich experience in their sales portal, sales people save significant time. We’re seeing companies adding double-digit percentages back to core selling time. A major win for productivity — and the top line.
Adapt Your Content Creation Going Forward
As we’ve seen, predictive content recommendations get better over time. But your content creation team also needs to know what sales enablement assets they should build for the sales team. A good recommendation engine will not only predict which content should be used, but it will also help identify what should be built. That helps the team to produce more of the right content and in turn means that the content produced is actually being used. In fact, we’re seeing companies that use predictive getting 3 times more content used by their sales organization. With many companies getting 100% content utilization.
Predictive technology is more than a buzzword — provided you know where to focus it. Using predictive to push suggested content to a sales team is a great way to get real results quickly. Learn more.
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