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We’re just days away from the first SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange here in San Francisco. Predictive analytics is a hot topic for B2B lead generation professionals, prominent on the event agenda and well represented by the sponsors in attendance. For anyone attending—and even for those not attending but who still have an interest in predictive analytics—I thought it would be useful to revisit these five questions to ask vendors.

(I’ve thrown in a bonus question to start off as we’ve seen several announcements in the last couple of weeks from companies talking about their new predictive capabilities and, quite frankly, these headlines have made the space even more confusing.)

1. What’s the difference between B2B predictive analytics, predictive marketing, predictive intelligence, predictive prospect management and predictive campaigns? 

This is marketing buzzword bingo so the easy answer is that there isn’t a big difference between these varying takes on “predictive.” As with the evolution of any new technology space, vendors have started to stake their claim on these terms to carve out their niche.

Most (if not all) of the terms mentioned above refer to execution channels and automating advertising and other campaign efforts based on predictive models. These automated solutions are once again missing a core issue marketers still have: bad, ineffective data.

Leadspace is continuing to lead the charge in helping marketers improve their data through predictive analytics and leverage that data through any execution platform. So when you’re talking to any of the vendors that use one of these “new” terms, make sure they can clearly articulate how their offering is different. And understand whether they’re going to help improve the data being used for these predictive capabilities on the back end.

2. Does your scoring model look at accounts or people?

Smart sales and marketing professionals sell to people, not companies. But many predictive analytics and lead scoring tools can only access company information, not just to build their scoring model but for the actual data they give you. Not very useful if you want to contact the right decision maker.

Leadspace is the only predictive analytics vendor that builds predictive models both at the individual and company level, both about people and the companies they work for.

3. How much data do I need to build an effective scoring model?

Some vendors require you to have hundreds of customers and thousands of data points to be able to provide an effective scoring model. That’s great if you have it, not so great if you don’t. And if you have a huge database of good leads already, you wouldn’t need to score and enrich them.

With the Leadspace hybrid model, you can build an effective model with any amount of data you have—even if you don’t have any—and combine it with subjective data like titles, job functions, and technologies used. In other words, start building lists of qualified leads right away, even if you’re starting from scratch.

4. What if I launch a new product or go into a new market?

Again, if you need to give your vendor data to get started, you’ll be up a creek if you start a new venture or launch a new product in a new market. Our universal model allows you to pick a few keywords and build an accurate predictive scoring model from that. No need to bring your own data. We’ll find it for you.

5. Show me the data!

Most predictive analytics and scoring vendors say they combine thousands of attributes to build a model. Great. What are they? How do you know if those attributes are what you need if you can’t see them? How is data from a “black box” useful if you don’t have context to use when you call the names on the list?

Leadspace is unique among predictive analytics vendors in showing you the data that makes up your scoring model. You can see exactly how we came up with your results and why, and know they match your needs. You can also continually refine the model, helping it learn from your input. See it in Salesforce. Know why Leadspace showed it to you. Use the information right away to build better campaigns and have more successful calls.

6. Do you actually have a product or a platform? Or are you just going to give me a spreadsheet?

Believe it or not, some predictive analytics vendors basically give you a data dump. You’ll spend a lot of money and get a .csv file. That might work if you have the time, bandwidth and dedication to upload it, optimize it and make it work with your CRM. Leadspace gives you the data in whatever way you need it:

Our standalone platform doesn’t even require you to have a CRM. Define the characteristics of your ideal customer for a predictive scoring model, and we’ll give you qualified leads.

If you do use Salesforce, Leadspace integrates directly into your Salesforce environment, allowing you to take advantage of all of Salesforce’s CRM capabilities, with the best possible data and predictive scoring, courtesy of Leadspace.

And if you’re using Marketo or Eloqua, take the next step and build successful email campaigns, nurture campaigns, landing pages and inbound demand-generation campaigns quickly and easily using the Leadspace predictive scoring models and data.

Ask your vendor these questions. See what they say. Ask them what they want you to ask Leadspace and let us know.|

Image by Alexander Mueller from Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

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