Amanda Kahlow got into predictive analytics before most B2B marketers ever heard the term Big Data. "We called it multichannel consulting services before it was hot and sexy," said the CEO of 6Sense, a predictive intelligence platform that helps sales and marketing identify buyers—including those just poking an anonymous toe into the coolest levels of the funnel.
The company formally launched this week, announcing $12 million in Series A financing led by Battery Ventures and Venrock. Already it boasts an impressive pedigree.
6Sense has been operating in stealth mode, honing its algorithms through work with B2B technology clients including Blue Jeans, CSC, NetApp and Xactly. The company had its origins in work that Kahlow began five years ago as a consultant for Cisco. The tech giant has become one of its earliest clients, netting results that surpassed the earlier efforts of its own in-house database marketing team.
"Their team took our data and validated it against past data," Kahlow said. "Eighty-five percent or more [of the time] when we say a company is going to buy, they are actually in buying mode."
The service layers behavioral, third-party and marketing automation insights, observing the behavior of existing leads to build an understanding of prospects. That understanding helps the system discover promising buyers, even during the anonymous stages of the funnel, Kahlow said.
"We train our models using existing customers and their behavioral data," Kahlow said. "Our big differentiator is that we're uncovering net new companies and new contacts at every stage of the sales cycle, not just prioritizing the known that are leads in your marketing automation. We can see activity across the entire Web and make strong predictions at every stage of the sales cycle."
6Sense also attributes its results to its ability to apply structure to behavioral data. "It's hard to get 1s and 0s for the team to be able to take advantage of the data and use it in modeling," Kahlow said. "We've taken all of this unstructured data across the Web and created a data catalog that organizes it and puts structure around unstructure."
Early identification of prospects becomes essential as B2B buyers increasingly linger in the self-guided portion of the buyer's journey. 6Sense predictions allow marketers to identify prospects early and re-gain a leadership role, Kahlow says.
"The challenge for B2B marketers is how do we get in front of those buyers when they are actually in buying mode, and they are in the market to buy and are doing their research," she said. "We allow our customers to see those companies and individuals and then specifically target them with the right message in the right channel at the right time."
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