• Bill Kantor

Can I roll my own?

Updated: Jun 22

It’s a common question. "Can we build our own funnel analytics/forecast model in <fill in the blank with your preferred analytics engine>?"

Sure! Why not?

Got a team of statisticians and programmers? Go have at it. But keep in mind this Yogi Berra aphorism: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

So what does this have to do with funnel analytics? It's 90% data prep. The other half is math.

Several years ago, the CEO of a machine learning startup remarked to me that he had built the most powerful system in the market for doing sentiment analysis on Twitter feeds. I naively asked, “Is that because you built a better machine learning algorithm?” “No”, he said. “The machine learning is easy. That's five lines of Python code. Anyone can do that. It’s the other 50,000 lines of code we built to deal with getting the data ready for those five lines of Python code.”

And so it is with all forecasting and statistical modeling. Funnelcast analytics are based on standard statistical functions available to anyone. But data preparation, cleansing, and applying the statistical functions is where the real work takes place.

Everyone likes automotive analogies, so here you go: you have the tires, why not go build a car?

So OK. Let's say you have rolled your own and have a good sales forecasting model. What does that do for you? Without diminishing the value of knowing what to expect, how will a sales forecast help you sell more? For the most part, it doesn't. It may highlight where to spend resources in the short-term to optimize your sales for the quarter. But you probably already know which deals to work on. To the extent that you stop worrying about updating your forecasts and spend more time closing deals, that's a plus. But what about helping you optimize sales and allocating resources for next year? To do that, you need a specific type of model. One that not only forecasts what to expect this quarter but that also gives a long-term view (a year or more) and that highlights inefficiencies and bottlenecks. That's more complex. Back to the drawing board?

Or, you could just try FUNNELCAST. It takes only a few minutes to get started.

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