• Melanie Foster

Using Analytics to Focus Marketing Activity and Cultivate Your Sales Pipeline

Analytics is a great way to improve results and anticipate future performance so that you can act accordingly. You can use past and present data to analyse the trends and behaviour of your ideal customers. This will allow you to be proactive, anticipating results and future behaviour based on data, not assumptions.

That said, analytics terminology such as AI, predictive analytics and machine learning can be mind-boggling. Explanatory articles are often not clear on how the implementation of any new system or processes will deliver better outcomes. We all think we know what these terms mean and how they might apply in various situations, but what is the benefit for your business?

Let us start with marketing at the top of the sales funnel.

Simple data analytics is the key to unlocking the most value you can extract from data about your customers and prospects. When analytics is used to segment customers, marketers can make more informed decisions about how to target new opportunities. Segmentation might be based on buyer need, organisational demographics and more.

Identifying competitor activity, market patterns and trends will help you to assess future buying patterns. In other words, analytics, combined with business intelligence, can help you evaluate which customers are most likely to buy your product or service.

The middle of the funnel

Lead scoring and performance against best practice models can be used by both marketing and sales to decide on the communications that will achieve the highest interest and encourage loyalty. It enables better sales performance by highlighting the past trends in customer behaviour and allowing marketers to plan their campaigns accordingly.

On customer retention, marketing teams can use analytics to consider data collected about past customer behaviour to anticipate the next best action for customer communications.

Bottom of the funnel/sales forecasting

Very few companies nowadays exist without some method of sales forecasting. Historical data, combined with an understanding of forthcoming marketing activity, can be used to assess how much revenue a relationship is likely to generate.

Tying your marketing activity to the sales effort and analysing performance against key metrics will lead to an end-to-end focus on the sales funnel. This might include, for example, marketing keeping selected prospects ‘warm’ with loyalty communications. At the same time, sales focus on closing out the immediate opportunities.

An end-to-end approach will help to reduce risk, improve outputs, and increase revenue.

Advanced solutions

All analytics can, to a greater or lesser extent, help you to predict what might happen next. Introducing computer-based algorithms (predictive analytics) moves the focus from what has already happened, to real-time calculations on future performance and unexpected problems. It removes the ‘gut feeling’ solution and allows marketing and sales to agree on a united way forward.

In B2C industries, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning take this form of analytics to the next level by learning critical aspects of customer behaviour and individual preferences and better predict purchases and interactions. For B2B organisations, where the sales cycle is often longer and reliant on the quality of individual relationships, the benefits of AI and machine learning are, in my opinion, still to be proven.

In summary

Analytics can help you:

  • optimise existing marketing and sales processes

  • understand customer behaviour better

  • identify prospect opportunities, and

  • anticipate any problems with the sales funnel before they occur

All organisations can benefit from collecting data on customers, markets, and prospects, and then using that data intelligently to predict the next best steps. Where data analytics provides conclusions from past events, with experience or with more sophisticated technology solutions, it can also provide actionable insights so that you can serve your customers and prospects better.

If you want better control over the future of your sales pipeline, contact us for a no-obligation chat about where to start. Every organisation is different and needs to adopt a bespoke solution. Still, we guarantee to find some low-hanging fruit to get you started.

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