Data-driven recommendations for salespeople have been attempted again and again, and again by dozens of tech vendors for the better part of the last decade. Those companies all sell the same story: deeper insights, more qualified leads, and more sales.
Lattice Engines, the dominant market player in the predictive analytics space for B2B — on the heels of a significant $28 million round — is launching a core app this week at Dreamforce called Buyer Insights, to clearly demonstrate the value of predictive analytics in the modern sales cycle.
“Predictive marketing and sales is based on a simple idea,” Lattice Engines CEO Shashi Upadhyay told me in an interview. “Calculating who will buy, what they’ll buy, how much they’ll spend, and when they’ll do it finally brings machine learning to marketing and sales in an impactful way.”
Lattice started out as a consulting company in 2006 and later developed technology around the data-science models they were deploying in customers’ sales and marketing operations. Their legacy in market may have something to do with their scale and impact, as Lattice is around five to ten times larger than the next largest company in this space (Fliptop or Leadspace, for example). Other predictive lead companies include Infer, Mintigo, and 6sense.
They’re all working toward the same problem: The rise of real-time web is launching the volume of available customer data northward amid an already complex buying process. Corporate Executive Board’s hallmark stat rings more and more true: 57 percent of the B2B decision process is already complete before a sales rep first engages with a prospective buyer. With as many as eight people sharing responsibility for a B2B purchasing decision, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for sales people to be effective. Essentially, they have to become marketers, and doing that requires some serious data crunching.
“If you really want to impact revenue, you really need predictive marketers working with predictive sales people. Marketers need to be able to put good recommendations in front of sales people,” Upadhyay said.
That’s where it gets tricky.
If you’ve ever worked in a fast-paced B2B sales and marketing organization, you’ve probably experienced one of the following frustrations: Either your marketing team isn’t getting credit for the hot leads you’re sending over the wall to sales (thus stalling your budget on sales acceleration tech like Lattice) — or, on the sales side, you’re fielding a near-constant supply of crummy leads from marketing.
Lattice’s new Buyer Insights can potentially serve to smooth that organizational friction and provide huge value to B2B marketers and sales teams. Some highly sophisticated clients (Dell, Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, among others) who have armies of data scientists to track, test and verify solutions, are reporting up to 35X return on the tool, which certainly points to its potential.
Lattice generates predictive scores, along with insights into leads and accounts, using thousands of data points on millions of companies (including intent indicators for each company). The new release of Buyer Insights makes these scores and insights available to sales in a very consumable way.
The new app embeds predictive insights about buyers within a customer’s lead, account, and opportunity workflows, making it easy to prepare for sales calls. It also creates a feedback loop via reports and dashboards that shows which leads scored by Lattice convert and how well they converted. Other key features include:
- Native integration with Salesforce or other CRM (as well as being a mobile-first app). As Upadhyay puts it, “Sales people won’t be able to tell where Salesforce ends and Lattice begins.”
- Leads aren’t just scored by their likelihood to buy — deep recommendations are presented to sales reps based on underlying data attributes that make up that score, as well as information about the products that lead/account is likely to buy and the corresponding estimated revenue.
- Talking points are provided based on company history, marketing campaign activity, executive changes, and even prior purchase history and other transactional data – all in one place to streamline the call-prep process.
While the story behind sales acceleration tools like Lattice’s new Buyer Insights isn’t exactly new (‘better leads, more sales’), the deep integration with CRM and ease of use for sales reps could provide a major win for the company.
To see a demo of the new Buyer Insights solution, visit the Lattice Engines booth at the Dreamforce event in San Francisco, September 15-18, 2015.