Beyond Lead Scoring: New Tech Brings Predictive Analytics Deeper into the Funnel to Accurately Forecast Sales Success

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Dustin_GrosseIn this special guest feature, Dustin Grosse, CEO of ClearSlide discusses the power of predictive analytics, specifically as it relates to the connection between analytics and sales. Dustin Grosse serves as ClearSlide’s Chief Executive Officer. With 25 years of general management expertise at large enterprises and tech start-ups, he is responsible for fueling ClearSlide’s growth. Prior to ClearSide, Dustin was SVP/CMO of DocuSign where he built the company’s initial marketing, business development, industry, and e-commerce teams. Dustin spent eight years with Microsoft, initially helping start Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group as Sales and Marketing GM for unified voice, video and web conferencing solutions. Dustin earned his MBA from Yale and holds a BS in Economics from the University of California.

The move to incorporate predictive analytics into B2B sales is giving organizations unprecedented accuracy in lead targeting and scoring, and bringing a healthy dose of data-based science into the magic of sales. The ability to capture, analyze and act on data about potential new customers is helping sellers both improve outreach targeting and efficiency, as well as move prospects further through the funnel.

But, predicting deal closure once leads are engaged remains an art form, with sellers and sales leaders relying on subjective, self-reported data. A new approach is moving data-driven predictive sales analytics deeper into the funnel, giving sales teams more accurate and authentic insights into the likelihood of deal closure, based on measurable customer response.

The Other Side of the Equation

The problem with conventional sales forecasting is that most methods only reflect what’s happening on the seller’s side of the equation. Self-reporting on customer interactions shows how hard the rep is working: calls made, emails sent, materials distributed and pitches delivered. But, these tell nothing about the customer’s level of engagement, reaction or interest. Not to mention, these extremely subjective self-assessments could be entirely inaccurate if reps exaggerate response in an attempt to show progress toward goals.

The traditional tools for the workplace are not providing enough insight or intelligence to compete for reaching customers in an increasingly information overloaded workplace,” wrote authors Jim Lundy and David Mario Smith in the 2015 Aragon Research Tech Spectrum for Sales Communications, noting the shortcomings most sales teams suffer. “Email has become a reliable way to connect, but often sales professionals do not know if someone opened an email. Analytics are part of the key ingredients to effective sales communications offerings.”

Indeed, the one-sided approach leaves sales leaders trying desperately to formulate accurate forecasts from skewed and potentially inaccurate data. It also makes it virtually impossible to get a clear read on what worked—or what didn’t—at critical points in the process, and how to use that information to improve.

Analytics In-the-Funnel Better Predict Outcomes

In their report, Lundy and Smith pointed to the desire for “advanced analytics on what recipients do with the message and the content” as a key wish-list item for sales communications platforms. This ability to get clear signals on the customer’s actual response as he or she engages with the seller and the content is critical to measuring accurate progress toward closing a deal.

New platforms utilize unique slide-level engagement analytics to dramatically improve forecasting accuracy through insights into what buyers do with the content sellers provide. Engagement data includes key buying signals that are analyzed using machine learning and data science algorithms in order to score the likelihood of deals to close based on the customer’s “digital body language”, rather than the seller’s gut instincts. By understanding these key signals at all points throughout the funnel, sales leaders can more accurately forecast deal closure, coach better, set more realistic expectations and deliver better, more predictable results.


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  1. Excellent article on the combination of predictive lead scoring to direct your efforts toward the right prospects and engagement statistics to help close the deal.

    Nice work Daniel and Dustin!