For over 12 years we’ve been working with executives in leading industries and enabling them to get informed decisions using business analytics. We encountered a whole slew of use cases for predictive analytics, ranging from workflow optimization, predicting churn, best offers, lead conversion, stock levels and all the way to minimize defects and improving internal HR management.
We realized that only 4% of decision makers use predictive analytics regularly. To get a better understanding of the challenges and how predictive analytics helps business executives today we reached out to crowd wisdom. Executives from many different sectors and verticals were kind to share what they’re looking for from their predictive data analytics solution.
Executives share how predictive analytics puts them on top of their game
Shai Gonen, CFO at Intralinks, summed it up perfectly:
“Our company closes thousands of deals every year. One of our main challenges remains forecasting our revenue and growth trends and top-line results.”
From Shai’s perspective, CFOs have to be able to predict growth trends and areas of increased potential revenue, so that their organizations business units can act on those areas and raise profits. For CFOs like Shai, data needs to enable highly accurate:
Pipeline conversion pace
Predict the average selling price
Forecasting stock needs to prevent over and under stocking.
When asked what optimizations he is after, he claimed he’d like to increase accuracy to a level of 3% and move to a more granular prediction. For example, narrowing down forecasts from a regional level to smaller geo-niches and per sales teams.
As a strong believer of predictive analytics Shai says “Companies need to create a work process that put these predictions to use. Once results will change for the better it will become an ongoing request from every business unit and manager”.
“I would recommend putting predictive analytics to use for top line results. The CFO must be the chief architect of these kind of projects – with their knowledge in these areas it can increase the probability that the organization will experience success”.
Bottom line: predictions that affect top line results are a game changer
Eitan Saban, VP International Sales at Seismic Software, gave a similar answer, emphasizing the need
for insights into future trends and growth:
“There are many companies who’s claim to fame is sales enablement. However, Any predictive tool that could truly help me with top-line results and predict what will help me to meet my quota would be highly valuable and warmly welcomed”.
Eitan is passionate about leveraging data to optimize sales outcomes. He adds that accurately predicting trends has a strong effect on quarterly incomes, pointing out that:
“Though the availability of data about sales teams is constantly growing, once it helps us know what are the key drivers that will effect and increase our closing rates it will become a ‘must-have’”.
Constructive discussions and decision making
Bruce Stephan, Head of Customer Experience at Graco, one of the world’s premier manufacturers of fluid-handling equipment and systems, fleshed out the ways that predictive analytics can take the mass of data and add value to their understanding of the customer journey. Graco is a B2B company that both sells directly to business clients and also uses third-party partnerships. This being the case, it has many touch points where it can gather data and use it to optimize the customer experience. Bruce revealed a number of ways that predictions can assist his business:
Marketing: Predictive analytics helps predict the total response time of leads and their sales cycles.
Distribution: Predictive analytics can identify correlations between distributor type and their YoY sales performance. For example, some of Graco’s distributors sell commodity parts, while others sell full equipment systems. On this, he says, “Predictive analytics can analyze data to reveal the partners who could potentially bring us the higher-ticket-sales through connecting data touch points that no excel sheet could.”
Business strategy: Predictive analytics can unify and analyze big data sets from mapping sales efforts, teams, training sessions, etc. By pointing out trends and connections we may miss out on new lines of services and businesses could be identified.