As a supplier of collaboration software designed to inspire innovation, especially among teams that may not always be working face to face, the 15-year-old Mindjet offers 30-day free trials of its products, which 40,000 to 75,000 people take advantage of each month. But despite the high exposure, only 4 percent of the leads the marketing department was passing on to sales were converting. "We were exposing all the leads to the sales team, hoping they would get to them, when in reality they didn't get to seventy percent of them," Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Mindjet's chief marketing officer, estimates.
Mindjet had two data scientists in house, and considered tasking them with improving the quality of leads passed to sales. But the company also wanted a solution that was quick to roll out. Lattice Engines'Predictive Lead Scoring outperformed its competitors in early Mindjet tests. It took only a few weeks to get the model up and running.
The company used the Predictive Lead Scoring tool to divide its leads into five quintiles. It revealed that the top decile of leads had a predicted close rate over 20 percent. The bottom 60 percent were barely converting, with a success rate just under 3 percent. The best leads in the top quintile had a conversion rate 4.4 times higher than those in the bottom. With this data in hand, Mindjet passed only the top two quintiles to sales. The rest would go back into marketing's nurture program.
With the salespeople now focused on the best-quality leads, they were able to close more deals. Their 4 percent conversion rate increased to 12 percent. The improved results also helped boost the confidence the sales team had in the marketing organization, Kaykas-Wolff says. "We've got a much tighter relationship with the sales team. They're more willing to spend time in areas we feel would be more efficient for them."
Predictive Lead Scoring uses Bayesian analysis, the same math that powers recommendations on Netflix or Amazon, Lattice Engines CEO and cofounder Shashi Upadhyay offers. These models had been used on Wall Street trading desks and among insurance brokers, "but it just hadn't happened in the world of traditional selling," he explains. That idea, of "using all the data in the world to drive value for end users," led to the genesis of the product four and a half years ago.
The algorithm's findings depend on having a rich amount of data to draw from, and that's one area in which Lattice distinguishes itself. In the case of Mindjet, Lattice drew on internal data it found in the company's CRM and marketing automation systems, as well as external data, such as intelligence about how many offices a company had or the presence of high-end notebooks and tablets.
Finding out what factors predicted closes confirmed hunches the Mindjet team had about its customers and influenced how sales teams approached prospects. One of the highly predictive factors for sales of Mindjet's products turned out to be companies that were decentralized, with more than one office. "Now one of the first questions the sales team asks is 'Do you have multiple office spaces?'" Kaykas-Wolff says.
"It was a way to find value for customers out of the gate."
With such strong results, Mindjet plans to expand its use of Predictive Lead Scoring. The recent acquisition of Spigit, an enterprise-level offering, has already prompted the company to think about applying Predictive Lead Scoring to prospects for that product as well. "We think there is a different buyer [that is] going to interact with us differently, and therefore the signals should look different," Kaykas-Wolff says. He's also looking ahead to how predictive analytics will change the marketing landscape.
"This investment has made a lot of strategic and tactical sense," he says, but cautions that "it's shown strong results because we've set ourselves up to be ready for it" technologically. Noting that Mindjet already uses Salesforce.com for CRM and Eloqua for marketing automation, Kaykas-Wolff maintains that "on top of this, applied predictive analytics is where you are going to see investments in marketing made over the next several years. The predictive analytics space is right at the beginning of a really exciting investment period."
After implementing Lattice Engines' Predictive Lead Scoring tool to find high-quality leads, Mindjet:
- conversion rates jumped to 12 percent from 4 percent;
- discovered that leads in the top quintile have a 4.4 times greater likelihood of closing compared to those in the lower quintiles; and
- determined which prospects have a greater than 20 percent likelihood of closing.