Get a Competitive Edge on Customer Acquisition & Retention

October 13, 2016

In conversations about our predictive solution, one of the topics that tends to come up is how we leverage it internally. The uncomplicated answer is that we’re tracking the behaviors of our target accounts and when they trip a certain threshold that lets us know they’ve entered the pre-purchase research phase, we have a whole set of programmed online and offline tactics that execute, automatically, based on buyer journey. We’re employing predictive analytics to enhance our customer acquisition and prevent customer defection. So, obviously we feel we feel really good about this piece of the puzzle. But it wasn’t until I was writing the job description to hire a VP of Customer Success that I realized we were really just how much that new resource would also be relying on our Predictive engine.

Tracking Competition with Predictive

As with most companies, much of our energy and focus has evolved to our existing relationships. The idea is that high-level customer success marketing executives are a high priority for most organizations and customer advocacy and engagement are keys to expanding market share. With our predictive capability, MRP is able to isolate not only our existing clients and create alerts based on their consumption patterns and geo location, but we can also use those same alerts focused on those key clients but narrow the keyword focus to keep a better eye on our competitors. A lot of people think about predictive data in terms of how it relates to who is consuming pre-purchase content, but you can learn just as much — if not more — by narrowing your predictive data filter down to the keywords, products and services of your closest competition. This allows us to create a competitive analytics profile within our predictive system that alerts both sales and marketing when our most important clients are researching the solutions of our competitors.   –Some of the new semantic analysis tools embedded in the latest SEO platforms have proved useful in building out this keyword net.

To put it simply, when someone from a client organization in a location that we know is important to us is researching our competitors or our competitors’ product/service names or even the keywords that our competitors use most frequently, we have an alert set up so that the sales team gets pinged and becomes aware that a competitive threat may be brewing.  This data will be equally valuable to a VP of Customer Success to prioritize their programs and support the sales teams in staving off competitive threats and retaining customers.  Wrapped together, this is another key aspect of an ABM strategy being powered by Predictive Analytics.

Prioritizing Everything with Predictive

When I thought about what I’d want a VP of Customer Success to do in addition to ensuring the success and engagement of our clients, I realized that I would also want them to use predictive data to prioritize their efforts. When we know which of our clients are beginning to wander toward our competitors, we can devote more time to improving the health of our relationship with those clients. This gives us a competitive edge because it’s an effort that supplements our existing sales workflow. It’s not necessarily more effort, it’s just adding nuance to how we budget our time.

I realized that internally, we take for granted the fact that our predictive algorithm is that customizable. Creating a custom algorithm would require a ton of in-house resources, not to mention managing it. Even for a company who owns a predictive solution, we’re learning as we go, but it’s really simple: I just have to create a list of my top accounts, clients, or named accounts and name specific keywords associated with my competition and then weight the algorithm as I see fit. Then, we’re just sitting back and receiving the alerts that ensure that everyone who touches those client accounts are informed about the intent of those accounts and the degree to which our competitors are focused on the locations that are important to us.

James Regan is CMO of Market Resource Partners, a provider of end-to-end marketing and sales software and services. Jim is responsible for keeping MRP on the cutting edge of marketing services and works on the architecture and execution of MRP’s internal marketing efforts. He oversees the growing team of marketing and sales talent, and he enjoys constantly challenging them to excel.

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