Still giving lip service to analytics? Then you're probably losing sales.

According to two new "cool vendor" reports from Gartner, analytics can help marketers convert contacts into sales.

While most marketers are already using some form of analytics, the ground is constantly shifting — and prescriptive analytics the new flavor of the month.

Who Is Cool (Or Is That Hot?)

Gartner's Cool Vendors in Data-Driven Marketing report focuses on the tools and techniques used to identify, manage, analyze and use an ever-growing number of data sets. It also looks at how marketers are building up their analytics and go-to marketing capabilities. 

The Cool Vendors in Tech Go-to-Market report looks at technology and service providers (TSPs) that provide Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based applications to increase B2B marketing and sales effectiveness, specifically in the technology sector.

“The unifying theme is really about making it easier for marketers and down-the line sales to make better decisions,” Todd Berkowitz, a co-authors of both reports, told CMSWire. “There is heavy usage of data, heavy use of analytics and an element of best practice there as well."

He added that the data driven marketing research is for B2B marketers who are selling to a wide range of companies.

10 Vendors

Between the two reports, Gartner identified 10 vendors with different takes on the problem of data and data analysis. 

In the Data-Driven Marketing list, Gartner cited (in alphabetical order):

  • Affino: Provides a next-generation research tool for marketers focused on social analytic insights and whose users are likely to be engage in public social networks
  • Datorama: A strong focus on integrating data sets and offering markets as way of taking meaning from those integrated data sets
  • EverString: For enterprises that are demand-generation focused with large volumes of leads and mature demand-generation programs, EverString’s technology is designed to improve conversion rates
  • Persado: The focus here is on marketers and advertisers who have a number of diverse products or business sub segments and who would benefit from automated personalization
  • Radius: Is for marketers and demand generation leaders that target small businesses

In the Cool Vendors in Tech Go-to-Market, Gartner cited:

  • Datanyze: Should be evaluated by sales development rep (SDR) teams to increase their knowledge of the lead or contact's technology stack environment and improve the quality of the first interaction
  • Demandbase: Marketing leaders with strategic accounts based on size or industry should be looking at this as part of their accounts-based marketing strategy to reach new customers and expand relationships with existing customers
  • Leadspace: This is for marketing teams looking to improve the effectiveness of their demand generation programs, while marketing leaders should also consider the company’s predictive lead scoring
  • SalesLoft: This is for the managers of teams with at least five SDRs as sell as sales operations leaders that use Salesforce for their sales force automation system to improve productivity, execution and effectiveness
  • Showpad: This is for sales enablement and channel leaders looking to improve collaboration across their multifaceted channel sales landscape, particularly when gaps in the co-branded content development process have been identified

Intelligent and Advanced

“The single biggest trend that we see in B2B is a move towards more intelligent and more advanced use of data analytics and predictive analytics as business users have more access to both more data and more third party applications and more external data sets,” he said.

Using data science and machine learning, they are able to make better use of data to work out who they want to target, what companies, how to prioritize the leads they are getting and how to identify companies that are likely to order or buy from there.

More to the point, this is about advanced analytics moving into the B2B marketing space.

Learning Opportunities

“The B2C world has been using advanced analytics for years. But as more data becomes available from social, form proprietary data bases, from third party sources, and there are new applications that are able to take that data and merge it with the data in your own CRM system and quickly build you a model that will give you a score or accounts you can target. you don’t need a team of data scientist any more," he added.

Prescriptive Analytics

Berkowitz sees prescriptive analytics as they wave of the future.

Prescriptive analytics is the final evolutionary stage of analytics and is starting to emerge from data science labs and into the real world at the moment.

Gartner describes it as a form of advanced analytics which examines data or content to answer the question “What should be done?” or “What can we do to make _______ happen?” and is characterized by techniques such as graph analysis, simulation, complex event processing, neural networks, recommendation engines, heuristics, and machine learning.

Descriptive analytics, in contrast, looks at past performance and understands that performance by mining historical data to look for the reasons behind past success or failure. Most management reporting — such as sales, marketing, operations, and finance — use this type of post-mortem

“As you move through different levels of professional analytics you see that this [prescriptive analytics] is the next step," Berkowitz said.

“We have seen it [prescriptive] used a little bit on the sales analytics side already. It is likely that we will get to that stage with marketing so the marketer will know not only who is most likely to buy and what they will buy."

In the future, these kinds of analytics will enable marketers to identify prospects, how to best contact potential customers and understand what offers will be most effective.

"There are lots of other elements that could be brought in here and a lot of vendors are already looking at things like this," he said. Prescriptive analytics is where digital marketing is going, he added.