CRM’s Next Biggest Trend: Predictive Analytics
A significant development has been uncovered in our 15th annual CRM Market Awards—the emergence of predictive analytics.
Instead of simply focusing on the historical buying behavior of existing customers, organizations can use predictive analytics to identify which customers—and prospects—are most likely to buy. This is a big deal as these solutions not only help organizations retain and sell more to existing clients but they also enable companies to more easily acquire new customers.
This year, our Rising Star awards recognize three up-and-coming predictive analytics companies: Bullhorn, SalesPredict, and Infer. Bullhorn enables organizations to gain insight into email interactions to see whom you’re communicating with and the quantity and quality of those interactions to determine which lead is most interested in buying.
Other predictive analytics vendors, such as SalesPredict and Infer, take a very different approach to predictive analytics. They search a company’s marketing automation and CRM systems to find its most successful accounts, then they search the Web and third-party databases to find similar companies. Additionally, they use predictive lead scoring technology to rate the quality of each lead. This enables sales and marketing professionals to focus on the most highly qualified leads first.
Infer takes it a step further with next-best-action analytics for sales and marketing professionals. With Infer’s Profile Management platform, “you can build your own profiles, your own strategies, and we can provide recommendations on what to do with those profiles,” states Vik Singh, Infer’s CEO and cofounder. “We can recommend new profiles to build. And you also get a Facebook-like newsfeed that tells you what you should be doing next on every profile.”
It’s like having a personal guide who tells sales and marketing professionals “‘this profile is one of your best. Put your best energy on it. You have $100,000 up for grabs that you should be closing right now. Go after it,’” Singh says. “So, it’s actually giving you recommendations. That’s where we think the future is. Scoring is a piece in a bigger platform story. The thing that’s missing in today’s world is a guide. There’s no guide that’s telling you what you should be doing next to improve your sales and marketing.”
The predictive lead scoring market is still pretty young. In fact, the oldest vendor in this budding industry, Lattice Engines, is only 10 years old. However, these vendors—which also include 6sense, EverString, and Mintigo—will likely help redefine the CRM industry in the coming years, much like the marketing automation vendors did in 2012 and 2013, when Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot, Oracle acquired Eloqua, and Salesforce.com acquired ExactTarget (which had acquired Pardot the previous year).
Already, one CRM provider has quietly acquired a predictive lead scoring vendor. As part of its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft acquired Fliptop, which as a stand-alone offering had a reputation as a low-priced, high-value predictive lead scoring solution. Whether Microsoft integrates Fliptop into Microsoft Dynamics CRM remains to be seen, but the connection would be a smart one.
Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s CRM Market Awards. Thanks to their recent moves and developments, the industry is shining brighter than ever. And, as much of a supporter as I am of predictive analytics solutions, I don’t need one to tell you that the CRM industry will continue to shine even brighter in the coming years.
David Myron is the editorial director of CRM magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @dmyron on Twitter.
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