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Clarkston Consulting Shares Insights on Predictive Analytics with Forbes

Forbes | July 17th, 2017 –

The Next Frontier Of B2B Sales Is Predictive Analytics

Article by: Larry Myler

You don’t need to be a certified data scientist to see that data is playing a critical role in transforming businesses across every industry and niche in 2017. But beneath all this growth you can definitely find one particular concept: predictive analytics.

When you look at predictive analytics, it’s hard to isolate any one application, but the positive change it’s driving in various aspects of business, particularly B2B sales, is undeniable. Predictive analytics and B2B sales are a match made in heaven. The only question is whether or not your organization is taking advantage of the available technology.

What is Predictive Analytics and Why Does it Matter?

“Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data,” according to SAS, a leader in analytics and business intelligence software. “The goal is to go beyond knowing what has happened to providing a best assessment of what will happen in the future.” You can think of predictive analytics as a technology that not only gathers information about past outcomes, but uses the data to understand things have yet to happen.

Perhaps you’re a sports fan and spend time watching ESPN. In recent years, you’ve probably noticed that the network has started including computer predictions in some of its discussions. For example, commentators will say something like, “The Yankees have a 63% chance of defeating the Red Sox in tonight’s game.” It’s not an arbitrary number; the figure is the result of studying numerous statistics and trends.

Within large businesses, similar predictions are being made hundreds or thousands of times on a monthly and even daily basis. Predictive analytics isn’t exactly a new technology. It’s been around for years, but it’s been impractical in large-scale settings due to an inadequate supporting environment. Over the past couple of years, however, as access to relevant data has increased and new software platforms and suitable hardware have come into play, predictive analytics has taken a central role as a viable technology for firms that desire or need to go beyond the basics.

The rise of predictive analytics hasn’t been smooth, though. As a recent study by EY and Forbes Insights shows, many key decision makers across various industries still haven’t maximized the insights they derive (or could be getting) from the data.

“Many executives continue to rely on gut feel over data and analytics,” explains business intelligence expert Jayne Landry. “But we’re seeing that organizations using analytics extensively for business initiatives outperform their peers in terms of revenue generation, profits, and market valuation.” The biggest challenge for predictive analytics is no longer the technology. Instead, the general attitudes about its value and the role data can play in critical decision-making are the most pertinent issues currently.

As Clarkston Consulting’s Sebastian Valencia points out, “The power of predictive analytics, what really makes it work, is the volume of data that feeds into and informs it. In today’s world, that data volume is increasing, not just in depth but in breadth, to include new data sets.” When businesses fully understand the value of predictive analytics technology and get their people to buy in, success typically follows. As this Gallup study shows, data-driven companies are more productive and profitable.

How Businesses are Using Predictive Analytics in the Workplace

Predictive analytics sounds great, but what are the tangible benefits? How is the technology changing the workplace for the better? Are there ways your organization can adopt predictive analytics to drive healthy change? Following are five examples to consider:

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