In any business, as analytics is applied with successful outcomes, the appetite for more data, more analysis, and more success quickly increases and new challenges arise. This was exactly the case when Jim Novak, Leader of Predictive Analytics on my team, was approached by Jaime Keeney, Director of Lead Development Marketing. The business question at hand was “How do we route leads to the right individuals in sales and marketing?”
Answering the Question With Analytics
Fifty-six percent of business to business marketers believe that analytics is critical to marketing success, according to a Dun & Bradstreet and Forbes Insights study we conducted over the summer. But how can a savvy sales and marketing team use analytics practically? As we thought about our business question, we realized that there are many elements in this case that could be addressed using analytics. As we dug into the problem, we wanted to understand the opportunity value and complexity of need for a specific type of lead to align it with the right sales and marketing expertise. Previously, we had been using company size to route our leads and to determine which ones should be pre-screened by Lead Development Reps (LDRs). Using analytics, we can know a lot more about a lead than just the size of the company it represents and subsequently route it with more precision.
Additionally, we wanted to maximize our resources. As most companies do, we have a finite number of (1) LDRs in marketing and (2) highly skilled sales reps with deep solution expertise (Solution Advisors). However, we know that conversion rates are always higher when the LDRs are involved, and deals close at a higher average selling price when the Solution Advisors are involved.
So how do we use analytics to send the highest opportunity leads to the LDRs and Solution Advisors to maximize sales?
We used three analytics to identify the universe of high opportunity leads among smaller companies that previously would not have been considered for the LDRs or Solution Advisors. The first analytic was propensity models, which I have explained in How Analytics Can Help Sales Teams Close More Deals. Propensity models analyze existing customers to predict the best lookalikes for a specific product or line of business. The second was Decision Headquarters (DHQ), which is a Dun & Bradstreet proprietary analytic asset that tells us if a specific company location has decision making or buying authority. The third was our Peer based Demand Estimators (PDE), which estimate the dollar value of an opportunity based on a company’s peer group.
Putting the Lead-Routing Strategy Into Practice
“With this analytic approach, we were able to score and identify the companies most likely to purchase, prioritize those by the greatest spend potential, and effectively allocate the Solution Advisors’ time by sending leads with purchasing power,” says Jim Novak. “Additionally, to increase confidence in the approach and allocate the necessary resources, we applied the methodology to leads that came through three months prior. This validated that the analytics were able to identify high opportunity leads, and the volume was in the acceptable range.”
We decided to test this analytic approach to lead routing in 2017 with our Trade Credit line of business, and if it performed well, expand it to other areas. Jim created the high potential universe, and any leads that came in from that universe were routed to our LDRs and highest skilled sellers.
As the year came to a close, we were incredibly pleased to see that we achieved a conversion rate of 7.4 percent (Lead/Inquiry to Sales Qualified Lead) for this group of high potential leads, which is well above the industry best-in-class rate of 4.9 percent. Beyond that, the qualitative feedback from the LDRs was that these are truly high value opportunities. That feedback means more to me than the quantitative results (strange for an analytics leader, I know).
“By partnering with the analytics team, we are able to identify and route potential high opportunity prospects to Solutions Advisors who can help deliver a more holistic solution to meet the multiple needs of these companies. This routing has resulted in bigger and more complex solutions being positioned and ultimately sold to new customers,” says Jaime Keeney.
This is one of my favorite success stories to share. It shows once again that best-in-class analytics, strong relationships, and targeted applications deliver impact time and time again. I’m excited to continue deepening our relationship with the Lead Development Marketing team, and I have no doubt we will find many more exciting business challenges to solve together.