For 2015, many CEOs have made growing their customer base their No. 1 investment priority, according to the annual CEO survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). To improve your company’s sales growth this year, you need the right predictive and prescriptive customer analytics.
Here are five key predictions for 2015, combining the PROS expertise of Neil Biehn, Vice President of Science and Research, and Craig Zawada, Chief Visionary Officer.
1) Increased investment in predictive analytics for sales teams: The sales role has never been more complex, and the coming year will bring even more challenges. Procurement organizations will increase their negotiation tactics and continue hammering sales teams to lower prices.
In 2015, companies that invest in predictive and prescriptive analytics will arm their sales teams with better selling data, enabling them to negotiate with greater confidence and drive wins with increased revenue and higher profitability.
2) Big data will evolve in 2015 as companies look for new levers to eliminate data complexity: Companies have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in ERP systems to drive both manufacturing and financial performance. They’re sitting on petabytes of structured data, and looking to harness insights that produce real revenue value.
In 2015, they’ll finally view data as an undervalued asset — not unlike an underutilized plant — and invest in predictive and prescriptive analytics as levers to drive profitability. These customer analytics will help them understand true customer economics, the cost to serve each customer and new opportunities to segment customers. As a result, these tools enable them to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities for each customer in their portfolio.
3) Industries that rely on oil and its derivatives will experience increased pricing pressure: Companies that rely on oil-based derivatives or polymers for manufacturing their products are looking to take advantage of today’s new market dynamics to increase profitability. But for many industries, such as chemicals and transportation, volatility is a common theme of doing business, and there are challenges and consequences that come with the dramatic decline in oil prices.
In 2015, we’ll see even greater pricing volatility, creating selling opportunities for astute companies and challenges for those that aren’t paying attention. Suppliers should be prepared for increasing pressure from their customers demanding lower prices when they know input costs for suppliers have gone down.
4) More scientific “data science”: Over the past few years, we’ve seen the term “data science” associated primarily with tools and software technology. In 2015, we expect a return to its scientific roots: a big shift from buzzwords and technology platforms into the fundamental principles of the scientific method. The focus will be on listening closely to the business in order to hypothesize potential solutions, testing those hypotheses with data, observing their outcomes and, finally, recommending a solution.
5) Chief data officers (CDOs) aren’t the norm outside of Silicon Valley, but data governance is: Data-driven Silicon Valley organizations like Yahoo (and even the city of San Francisco) have paved the way for the emerging CDO role. You may not find many CDOs outside the Valley at present, but we’ll see a big increase in the need for more data governance in 2015 as data moves from an opportunity to an asset.
Investing in the right predictive and prescriptive analytics is key to improving your company’s sales growth prospects in 2015. Are you ready to get started?