Earlier this month we touched on the latest round of funding that predictive sales analytics firm Lattice Engines had picked up. At the time, I mentioned that the firm was embarked on a partner-centric international expansion program, beginning with Swedish digital marketing agency LeadTeq.
This week that expansion continued with the signing of a reseller deal in the UK with Stein IAS. This latest signing is really quite a big deal in the B2B digital marketing world. Stein IAS is the result of the merger in 2013 of the UK’s IAS (Industrial Art Services) and Stein & Partners Brand Activation in the US.
The firm boasts a wide range of big ticket clients, including the likes of BP Castrol, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Columbia University, KPMG, Merck, and Nespresso.
Like LeadTeq, Stein IAS has its feet firmly in the Oracle Marketing Cloud camp, the technology ecosystem which Lattice Engines has chosen to bet the farm on. I spoke to director of digital and innovation Marc Keating who told me:
We work with a lot of different technologies, but the one we pioneer is the Oracle Marketing Cloud. We worked with Eloqua and were a key partner there, so following the acquisition by Oracle that made sense.
We’ve selected around 10 different applications from the Oracle Marketing Cloud ecosystem that we believe are right for our sort of clients, including marketing efficiency told, content optimization tools and integration technology.
To that portfolio is now added Lattice Engines offerings. IAS Stein will be the exclusive reseller in the UK. I asked Keating how he saw such technology impacting on the ‘creative’ elements of the marketing and sales roles. Traditionally both sides are ready to blame the other for shortcomings in the sales process. Can predictive analytics really bridge that divide?
Both sides need to see the bigger picture. They need a joint source of data. Sales and marketing need to come together to make that happen. They both need to know what the idea customer profile looks like, for example. Any kind of digital body language is only as good as helping you to profile who the customer is. You need marketing skills and you need sales skills.
One issue that he pointed to was a familiar one:
Technology is moving quicker than the CMO. We did a global survey of 300 CMOs and we found that while 43% have adopted marketing automation technology, only 14% have embraced marketing cloud tech.
There is a problem in the market which is that lots of different players are claiming to have the marketing cloud. But which one is the right one to buy?
Keating has his own definition that might help in this respect:
Look at what a true marketing cloud should be. A lot of it is about connectivity. The typical enterprise has 20 different marketing systems, all sitting in their own silos. A real marketing cloud is a platform on which they can all sit in one place. If you look across the marketing cloud landscape, not many of them can do that. Oracle is one of them.
It’s interesting that as predictive analytics in sales and marketing starts to bed in, there are already two clear camps emerging. While Lattice Engines and its partners are firmly in the Oracle Marketing Cloud, rival InsideSales.com has set its stall out in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Is this the way of the world, I asked Michael Meinhardt, VP of Business Development and Strategic Alliances at Lattice Engines, with organizations making a sort of religious choice? His response was:
I think what’s happening is that Salesforce is still trying to work out its Marketing Cloud strategy. It acquired BuddyMedia and Radian6 and ExactTarget, but it’s still trying to work it all out and it’s very B2C. InsideSales has a lot of personal relationships with Salesforce, so that allows them to align there.
We actually just align better with the Oracle Marketing Cloud. Eloqua was very much B2b enterprise and upper mid-market focused. So when we think about who is our target market and where are we going to build forward, it’s about the global enterprise market.
The other obvious question of course is that if the likes of InsideSales is a major asset to Salesforce for its Marketing Cloud push and Lattice Engines does the same for Oracle, and given the acquisitive nature of the sector, is there a long term future for pureplay providers in this space?
Or are the leading players just waiting for that inevitable early morning phone call from Larry Ellison or Marc Benioff?
Certainly for the next two to three years I’d see there’s room for pureplays. Predictive analytics needn’t just stop at sales and marketing. We have a lot of conversations about driving deeper in ERP.
But clearly to a certain extent, the larger players will start to look at the predictive landscape - who has the best technology, who has the most traction? But that’s 24-36 months out.
This is an interesting emerging market. Lattice Engines next target market is set to be Germany with a partner to be named by year end. I’ll be interested to see what sort of profile predictive analytics will have at the likes of Oracle OpenWorld and Dreamforce this year.