4 Ways Data Science Is Transforming Sales and Marketing, Part 1

Sales and marketing as we know them are dying.

And not surprisingly, the use of digital marketing keeps growing. Soon everything we use will have a digital connection. In only a few years, some of the standard skills used in sales and marketing campaigns will be obsolete.

In their place will be vast amounts of data, and tools like data science, that give marketers capabilities they once only imagined.

But it takes true vision and determination to transform digitally and capitalize on this opportunity. Unless you, your CEO, and other C-Suite leaders have a massive commitment to using the firm’s resources effectively, it’ll never happen.

To keep marketers from getting bogged down, tools like data science will need to handle the details. That way, marketing leaders can focus on asking the big, important questions; such as how we can:

  • Increase marketing efficiency
  • Reduce our financial risk
  • Make profit more predictable
  • Increase our long-term revenue

If you’re looking for clarity on how to use data science to lead your organization into the future, take a look at these 4 ways data science is transforming sales and marketing to gain ideas and learn about best practices.

Increase Efficiency

The more you know about the people in your target markets, the better your marketing will be. And there’s plenty to know. Their needs, challenges, and interests all play a role in shaping their buying decisions.

With more content than ever for your audience to digest, your prospects are already overloaded with information. Yet, among the two quintillion bytes of data generated every day, your marketing message must stand out in the clutter.

For that to happen, your messages must be more personal, targeted, and relevant than ever before. The key to getting results is having the correct data about the people you’re trying to reach. However, customer profiling is a time- and labor-intensive process. That’s where data science can help.

One example of this newfound efficiency would be the lack of need for buyer personas. When used effectively, data science will eradicate the need to manually create buyer personas. Imagine having rich, real-time data that continually updates your customer profile information.

Then, instead of the typical trial-and-error approach to target marketing, you’ll be able to keep up with changes in customer demand through real-time intelligence. Data science will help you dig deeper into the numbers. Then, you’ll have a clearer idea of where you should spend your marketing budget to reach your most desirable audience and get the highest ROI.

Based on demographic, firmographic, behavioral, and contextual data, your marketing systems will be able to digest and act on the data based on your preset goals. The activities of your marketing and sales teams will easily integrate that data, too.

Reduce Financial Risk

Difficulty in calculating marketing ROI is one of the biggest frustrations for every professional digital marketer. That’s because digital marketing isn’t as tangible as other parts of a business. It’s a multidimensional process with many different channels.

Sometimes even the smallest detail can significantly affect a marketing ROI calculation. Yet, marketers must measure a multitouch customer journey that’s the sum of many diverse, often difficult to measure, interactions.

Another challenge is the cumulative nature of marketing. Marketing ROI may not show up for months or even years, so campaigns may be standing on the shoulders of earlier work.

The real problem with calculating marketing ROI is not that it’s impossible but that it’s difficult to do affordably. While marketing ROI may not be an exact science now, it could be with the help of data science.

To calculate marketing ROI more effectively, the key is to find and track which variables and outcomes are most relevant to your business. The following key performance indicators (KPIs), combined with data science, can help you calculate inbound marketing ROI:

  • Landing page conversion rates
  • Organic traffic
  • Social media traffic and conversion rates
  • Mobile traffic, leads, and conversion rates
  • Traffic-to-lead ratio
  • Lead-to-customer ratio
  • Cost per lead
  • Sales revenue
  • Customer lifetime value

Your data-driven solution could increase the accuracy of your marketing ROI calculations by reviewing KPIs over time. For example, short-term marketing investments and sales growth would be better measured quarterly or annually. On the other hand, long-term brand investments would be better measured over a 2-3 year period or longer.

While improved target marketing and better ROI will boost marketing results, what about sales? In part two, we’ll examine how data science can improve lead scoring and your entire customer journey by taking the guesswork out of who is more likely to buy and what it is they really want.