The Role of Predictive Analytics in Sales

The Role of Predictive Analytics in Sales
Casey O'Connor
Casey O'Connor

Casey O'Connor

8 min read0 reads

Predictive analytics in sales describes the software and/or processes that analyze current and historical sales data to predict sales outcomes and improve performance. 

The increase in digital marketing over the last decade has given sellers access to a huge amount of first-party and third-party customer/prospect data. 

There’s so much data, in fact, that sellers and marketers often feel overwhelmed about how to best use it to drive results.

Predictive analytics in sales takes care of that problem; these artificial intelligence platforms help sales reps make sense of customer and sales pipeline databases.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about predictive analytics in sales.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Are Predictive Sales Analytics?

Predictive sales analytics refers to the software and/or the set of processes that analyzes current and historical sales data to make future sales predictions.

Predictive sales analytics software uses AI and machine learning to collect data on prospects and customers and study their behavior throughout the sales process. The predictive analytics software then applies those insights to sales forecasts and pipeline performance.

Predictive sales analytics

Although the task sounds simple, do not underestimate how powerful most predictive sales analytics software platforms really are. 

Predictive analytics software is able to run and manage several sophisticated and challenging data-related processes “in the background,” so to speak, so that salespeople can focus on what they do best. 

To enhance the effectiveness of predictive sales analytics, incorporating an annotation tool for top-quality training data is crucial. This tool enables the precise labeling of data, which is essential for accurately training AI and machine learning models.

Businesses can significantly improve the accuracy of sales forecasts and pipeline performance predictions by ensuring that the data fed into predictive analytics software is well-annotated and of high quality. The seamless integration of such an annotation tool into the predictive analytics process ensures that the data used is comprehensive and meticulously prepared for optimal model training.

Take a look at the many tasks that are delegated to and easily automated by predictive analytics software:

predictive analytics phases

In other words, predictive analytics in sales helps salespeople turn an otherwise overwhelming amount of data into clear, easy-to-understand actionable insights that:

  • Help salespeople anticipate how to best reach and connect with future customers
  • Predict business and market trends
  • Drive the goal-setting process for sales teams

Predictive sales analytics platforms also help salespeople and marketers determine how to optimize their current pipeline by analyzing and answering questions like: 

  • Which products are selling the best?
  • Which products didn’t sell as well as forecast?
  • And which kinds of leads move through the pipeline fastest? 

Overall, predictive analytics in sales helps salespeople use historical and current sales data to stay one step ahead of prospects and customers.

databaseData that helps you sell smarterDaily activity, engagement data, and outcomes

Benefits of Predictive Sales Analytics

The big-picture benefits of predictive sales analytics software platforms are obvious. The software removes much of the risk of human error and overwhelm from the process of collecting, storing, and analyzing sales data.

It also helps sales organizations come to a better understanding of how their performance measures up against the overall goals of the company. 

There are also, however, a number of specific, tangible, and measurable benefits to adopting a predictive analytics platform. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Generate and Score Leads

A pipeline that’s full of poor-fit leads is all but useless. 

Great predictive sales analytics tools can help sellers use their current customer data to build highly targeted ideal customer profiles (ICP) and buyer personas.

This means that salespeople can spend less time working on bad leads.

Predictive analytics in sales also helps salespeople score their leads more accurately by easily analyzing prospect data and behavior.

predictive analytics in sales: lead scoring

Lead scoring allows sales reps to prioritize the leads that are most likely to close.

Tailor Your Messaging

With accurate lead scoring, sales reps can segment their leads and adjust their messaging accordingly.

Predictive sales analytics: segment leads

Predictive sales analytics also helps sales reps create strategies for nurturing leads that need more time to consider your offer. The software helps sellers pinpoint the exact content and sales strategies that are most likely to move the needle for buyers at any stage of the sales funnel.

Not only does this create better relationships with your many prospects, but it also shortens the sales cycle. 

Tip: Interested in the latest sales data and stats to help tailor your outreach? Check out our free sales engagement data trends ebook below.

Sales Engagement Data Trends from 3+ Million Sales ActivitiesLooking at millions of tracked email activity over the past few years, this ebook is filled with our top studies and findings to help sales teams accelerate results.

Maximize LCV

Predictive sales analytics software doesn’t just help with future customers — it can also make a huge impact on the value your current customers can provide to your business.

With its powerful data analysis tools, predictive sales analytics can help sales reps identify great opportunities for cross-selling and upselling to your existing customer base.predictive analytics in sales: cross-selling vs. upselling Too many people treat cross-sells and upsells as a “nice to have” — something that’s great to aim for, if there’s time. But don’t sleep on this source of revenue — cross-selling and upselling can have huge impacts on your bottom line.

predictive analytics: up-selling and cross-selling

All of these things will lead to a significant increase in your maximum lifetime customer value (LCV).

Launch New Products With Confidence

For too long, sales managers and product teams have relied on a hazy mix of partial data and gut instinct when it comes time to launch a new product. Predictive sales analysis tools remove the guesswork from this scenario.

Combining data from current and potential customers, predictive analytics software uses a data-driven approach to help your team predict how well a new product is likely to perform in your market. 

Provide More Accurate Sales Forecasts

Along those same lines, predictive analytics plays a huge role in accurate sales forecasting.

predictive analytics in sales: sales forecasting

Not only are accurate sales forecasts crucial for optimal sales performance, but they also go a long way in securing confident and enthusiastic investors. Predictive sales analytics tools are especially valuable in creating forecasts within multivariable markets.

Predictive analytics in sales is quickly transforming from a luxury to a necessity; if you haven’t already adopted a platform to suit your needs, now is the time to start the search.

If you’re already using a predictive analytics tool in sales, the most important thing your team can do is ensure their data is clean, thorough, and consistent. The software is only as good as the data that goes into it.

Does your team use predictive analytics in sales? How has it improved your performance?

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