Predictive analytics are taking sales measurement to a whole new level.
We were running our Salesforce.com CRM just like everyone else. We used “Stage” and “Probability” to guesstimate our sales pipeline. Sure, we were pretty solid at keeping important statistics like Opportunity Source and Dates for each change in the buying process, but we hadn’t taken it seriously until Kevin Thomas Tully on our team suggested we move to a Predictive Sales Analytics model.
What Are Predicative Analytics?
According to Wikipedia, predictive analytics uses “statistical techniques from modeling, machine learning, and data mining that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future, or otherwise unknown, events.”
Basically, it’s using data points from the past to better predict your future.
How Is This a Different Form of Sales Measurement?
In the past, sales reps would use their best judgement of B.A.N.T (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) to present a case to their leadership on the Probability of closing. We’re all used to looking at Salesforce.com reports that show a ton of deals >50%.
The problem with this model is it assumes that all >50% opportunities are created equal. The reality is that if you data mined your past deals, you’ll find subtle common denominators or glaring gaps in your sales process.
Can You Give Examples of “Predictive Analytics” for Sales?
Sure, here’s what we did. First, we made 4 categories to classify characteristics of the buyer, then created questions related to each category.
- The Company
- The Champion (the main person at the organization that has been your central contact)
- The Entire Team (the rest of their influencers, champions and decision-makers on the deal)
- Their Buying Journey
Then, we started asking questions in each of these categories, and made these questions part of filling out a new opportunity in Salesforce. Below we list examples of the questions.
- “Do they have an existing Sales Enablement / Effectiveness department”?
- “What is their internal experience levels with Social Selling?”
- “What is the age of the Champion on this deal?”
- “Which sales departments does the client THINK Social Selling is best suited for?”
- “What was their lead score on the day of our first conversation, and how much did the score rise until winning the opportunity?”
- “How many days does it take to close the deal from the date of our “Hour of Power” with the client?”
What are the results?
We discovered some amazing patterns about our clients. For example, we thought we always sold to the VP of Sales. Yet, 68% of our deals included the VP of Marketing as part of the decision-making process. That means we need to completely change our content to reflect our new buyer.
We know that if a deal don’t close in 45 days from the “Hour of Power”, the probability of closing the deal begins to evaporate! Social Selling training is something that buyers really want NOW.
We’re now moving to a Predictive Model, and will no longer be relying on “Stage” and “Probability”. Rather, we will be focusing on companies that CLONE our past deals.
Are you using any predictive sales analytics techniques right now? I’d love to learn more if you are.