Baseball for Business
Imagine if every salesperson could hit a home run on every call? Every week, I meet with my science advisors to explore Big Ideas to create competitive advantages for our customers using state-of-the-art technologies. This week we explored how LeadCrunch does for lead gen what "moneyball" does for winning World Series.
David Fogel is one of our scientific advisors. This week he shared a story with me about how his company, Natural Selection, Inc. developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that helped the Chicago Cubs go from the third worst team in Major League Baseball in 2006 (0.407) to winning the National League Central Division in 2007. Fogel’s system accurately assessed which free agents to sign using evolutionary neural networks to analyze their historical data. More impressive, his algorithms went beyond “moneyball,” which is a purely linear analysis. The new approach adapted to the specific conditions of each game and situation. They evolved to understand how each player would perform in each game by looking at interactions. Fogel used the same approach to help another professional sports franchise that went on to the World Series. He also applied similar methods for assessing college football players and their chances of making it in the National Football League. The more Dave talked, the more it sounded like his algorithms do for sports teams what LeadCrunch does for sales and marketing professionals: tells them which companies to target.
Compared to business, baseball is fantastically simple. Baseball is played in a clearly defined area. The rules of the game are well known, and they don’t change during the game. There is exactly 60 feet 6 inches from the the pitching rubber to home plate. The distance between each base is 90 feet. Three strikes and you’re out! These are almost physical constants.
These constraints make baseball analogies a favorite among business executives. They simplify the complex world of business into entertaining baseball concepts. There are more than 27 million businesses in the USA. Business-to-business (B2B) purchase decisions are made by more than 100 million people in tens of thousands of industries each operating with different sets of rules and norms. It’s no wonder why so much technology is thrown at the complex problem of finding B2B customers. Yet, these technologies overwhelming fail. And their failure is exactly why we developed a completely new way to find B2B customers by looking at lead generation differently: find leads that are most like your customers and target them before your competitors find them.
Why Lead Gen is Broken
The statistics for B2B lead generation are stunning: Only 1 or 2 out of 100 leads convert to a sale. The raw numbers for converting leads to sales has not changed much since the invention of the internet. Yet spending on marketing technology (MarTech) exceeds $25 billion in the USA alone. Where does all that money go? And why is the ROI so low (or unknown)?
The answers are simple: Only 12% of all tech companies and only 5% of all company use any form of marketing automation. The overwhelming majority of MarTech users are large companies. that use MarTech for command and control over sales and marketing operations. Although vendors promote MarTech as a way to boost sales, the reality is that MarTech really boosts reporting and transparency. Consider the phenomenal success of Salesforce. It is the dominant market share leader in customer relationship management (CRM). Yet, the biggest complaint is the data put into Salesforce by frontline salespeople is mostly garbage. Why? Using the CRM is a prerequisite for salespeople to get paid. So they input whatever they think management wants to hear. And then management tries to filter the signal of truth from the noise of data entry compliance. No wonder why sales estimates are notoriously inaccurate. The reality is that CRM and other MarTech system often fail to deliver ROI because perverse incentives add to noise rather than reducing it.
The Deafening Noise of Marketing
Let’s consider the noise from the B2B buyer’s perspective. Now, more than ever, these buyers are inundated with messages at a time they have never been busier. More than 2.5 exabytes of information are added to a very crowded internet every day. That’s the equivalent of adding more than 41,666 copies of every book in the Library of Congress every hour. Even if a marketer creates great content, this content must compete with a tremendous number of other content options.
Email, the granddaddy of digital marketing, also has growing issues. By some estimates, people spending more than 30% of their time just reading and responding to emails. As result, people don’t want any more email. They opt-out. Chances are they don’t have time to read your blog either. And if they do, they will almost certainly look at your competitors’ blogs.
The solution is simple: Get to your next ideal prospect BEFORE they know they need your product or service. Build a relationship with them long before your competitors pick up their buying intent signals online. The best way to do this is to use Sales Development Reps (SDRs) that can optimize your contact with the right leads so that you get in step with each prospect as their buying journey begins.
LeadCrunch is Moneyball for LeadGen
Just like Dave Fogel’s AI solution for optimizing baseball performance, LeadCrunch finds high precision leads for you to target. It uses your best customers as examples to build an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). It finds patterns and curates leads that are most likely to buy from your company. For example, your customers might use a specific type of technology, operate in a specific region and only serve a specific type of customer. LeadCrunch looks at millions of data points across both private and public data sources to find leads that have similar patterns. The results are impressive: LeadCrunch customers are getting between 300 and 600% improvement in lead quality. They are shortening sales cycles by 40%. And they are closing bigger deals.
Unlike Dave’s AI algorithms, anyone can use LeadCrunch. We offer a free trial while we are in private beta. Join hundreds of companies that are already adopting our technology. Remember, there are no ties in baseball, only losses and wins. Make sure you are winning by using the best tools available.