• June 9, 2014

C9 Launches OppScore to Drive Sales Forecast Efficiency

C9, a predictive sales and marketing applications provider, has introduced OppScore, a sales opportunity scoring and ranking service that can predict upcoming conversions with 80 percent accuracy. The tool relies on previous deal data to build its predictions, and performs with double the forecast accuracy of similar tools, according to Justin Shriber, C9's vice president of products.

The "high-definition" data that OppScore relies on for its predictions is the differentiating factor for C9's technology, Shriber says. OppScore works by analyzing its vast data set through a machine-learning approach, and using waves of hierarchical models to understand what drives opportunity scores. "I like to use football as an analogy, because when you talk about creating plays for upcoming games, you use past information to plan them," Shriber says. "From our standpoint, there's a major difference between just taking a photo of the scoreboard at the end of each quarter, and taking a snapshot of each play at field level. Our tool zeroes in on a much deeper level, and that's what makes it unique," he explains.

OppScore is equipped with three key capabilities—Score, the predictive function at the core of OppScore, which evaluates hundreds of data points to score every opportunity; Cues, the analytics arm within OppScore that determines which factors are contributing to the predicted success or failure of each opportunity; and Embedded Data Science, the glue that integrates OppScore with C9's other solutions, including its pipeline, forecasting, and sales execution applications. OppScore also includes a visualization component to help sales teams and executives see the predictions in a clearer way.

The Cues feature is a particularly powerful element within OppScore because it puts each opportunity evaluation that the Score tool makes into context to not only highlight the deals that are at risk, but also explain why, according to Shriber. Cues can capture actionable attributes that contributed to the score, such as the number of meetings with the lead, as well as inactionable items, such as where a lead is physically located. For actionable elements, the Cues allows salespeople to identify the most influential factor plaguing a given sale and take corrective measures. When it comes to inactionable items, the insight can be significant as well.

"Some factors you just don't have control over," Shriber says. "Maybe your sale doesn't look like it's going to close because the lead is in Japan and it's just unrealistic to schedule meetings. On the other hand, maybe your product is just wrong for Japan in general, or maybe you need to send a specialty team out there to do on-site selling. Even inactionable items can hold a ton of valuable information," he adds.

Already embedded into each of C9's predictive sales forecasting applications, OppScore is the culmination of two years of research and $30 million in investment, according to a company statement. "This is a tool that can essentially look into the future with eighty percent accuracy, and we're talking about multiple quarters, not just one. That's powerful stuff," Shriber says.

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