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The Crystal Ball for Sales: Find Your Best Prospects Faster with Predictive Scoring

JamieGrenneyToday's post is by Jamie Grenney, VP of marketing at Infer.



Salespeople do not want to spend valuable time weeding through questionable leads or following up with prospects who will never convert. How can you reduce the grunt work needed to qualify leads without risking pipeline opportunities? And wouldn’t it be nice if your best leads magically bubbled to the top?

JamieGrenney_blog_picThere’s a new crystal ball that forward-thinking sales teams are using to accelerate the process of finding qualified leads. It’s called predictive lead scoring, and it helps sales managers figure out where to focus the team’s energy so that the best reps are pursuing only the best opportunities. If good reps can typically work 100 leads in a month, predictive lead scoring can help ensure that every prospect they call is a good fit for your product.

What Is Predictive Scoring?

Imagine having a search box where you could enter an email address, and it returns an accurate prediction of whether or not that person’s company is likely to buy your product. That's what predictive lead scoring is all about. It works like this:

  1. First, it looks at historical information from your sales and marketing applications (data on, for example, converted leads, wins and losses, account profiles, and purchase history) to understand what a good customer really looks like.

  2. Next, it adds to any information you already have about your new leads (inside Salesforce or any other system), by grabbing from the Web valuable data points about the individual and the organization for which he or she works, e.g., relevant job postings, employee count, patent filings, social presence, Website traffic, and even the company’s preferred technology vendors.

  3. Then it uses sophisticated techniques such as data mining, statistical modeling, and machine learning to make sense of all this information about prospective buyers and assigns each lead a score that indicates likelihood of converting.

Rather than just rely on human intuition to weigh hundreds of variables, predictive scoring automatically creates the optimal model for your product and continuously returns accurate predictions to your CRM system in a format that’s easy for anyone to interpret, not just data scientists or IT people. 

Keep Up with Your Data-Driven Competitors

The value that predictive scoring brings to your top line is mind-blowing. You can gain major lifts in win rates and lead conversions by predicting outcomes, prioritizing your flow of leads, and focusing on your best prospects. It lets you put your resources where you’ve got the best shot at winning and eliminate wasted energy at each stage in the sales funnel.

What percentage of your time is currently spent on prospects who don’t convert? Fifty percent, maybe more? And on the flip side, how often do you give up on a prospect one touch too soon? Whether you’re selling to existing customers, prospects, or a totally new market, predictive scoring will uncover opportunities you may never have seen otherwise.

One of the coolest things about this method is that folks like us at Infer can use it bring the power of predictive data science (think Google PageRank or Amazon recommendations) to all companies, so anyone can operate with the same data-driven intelligence as Google, Facebook, or Amazon. Instead of looking in the rearview mirror and waiting to see which leads convert, with predictive scoring, you can place the right bets and get to qualified prospects faster than your competition.

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