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Predictive intelligence software helps align marketing, sales teams

By compiling digital footprint and using predictive intelligence, software company 6Sense looks ahead, not back.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Being able to find potential leads is the foundation of sales. Being able to predict which leads will turn into customers is starting to look like the future of sales.

Predictive intelligence software is gaining traction as marketers and sales reps turn their attention to collecting data and predicting if it indicates a potential sale.

"Digital screens and the interactions on them are leaving a trace of what customers need and who they are," said Amanda Kahlow, CEO of 6Sense, a predictive analytics company based in San Francisco. "If we can listen to that trace, we can learn more about our buyers than ever before."

Kahlow led a case study session with NetSuite Inc. executive Joan Fitzpatrick at the SiriusDecisions Summit this week. They highlighted NetSuite's conversions across marketing to sales, which have resulted in twice the amount of accepted leads, opportunities created and sales closed.

Using predictive analytics software, NetSuite's marketing and sales reps managed to locate active buyers, rather than companies that looked like a potential customer.

"By looking at the digital patterns, we could predict if similar customers would buy," Kahlow said. "The power of predictive is to get in front of buyers before they become a lead."

One main trend driving this change is that customers are now in more control of the buying process. Customers have more access to information, and more ways to access it. Rather than working to get noticed by a customer, 6Sense is able to aggregate data through its predictive intelligence software to find customers already actively searching for product information.

The power of predictive is to get in front of buyers before they become a lead.
Amanda KahlowCEO, 6Sense

"By finding buyers who have a need and are in an active buying cycle, they're willing to spend more," Kahlow said. "If I'm creating the need, it's an uphill battle to get the sale."

Customers are constantly leaving digital footprints that outline where they've searched, what they've searched for and when they searched last. This digital trace of what the customer wants or needs is what 6Sense captures and it uses predictive intelligence software to determine where similar customers are.

"If we listen to those signals, we can tell when accounts are in the market to buy," Kahlow said.

Fitzpatrick said it was in 2012 that NetSuite was looking to increase its sales effectiveness and began researching predictive intelligence software. After a trial-and-error period where many startups didn't meet NetSuite's stringent security standards, it partnered with 6Sense in 2014.

After a brief learning curve as the NetSuite sales team adopted 6Sense's predictive software, it was able to double the amount of outbound leads, opportunities and closed sales by shifting its focus toward customers that were already in the market to buy.

"6Sense could source companies that are in the market to buy, not just those that look like they want to buy," Fitzpatrick said. "That's a huge differentiator."

By collecting and aggregating the digital footprint of potential customers, the information handoff from marketing to sales is more efficient and accurate.

"We're using this marketing data to drive the sale," Kahlow said. "It's not marketing over here and sales over there. The center of it all is predictive."

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