SiriusDecisions yesterday unveiled an update to its proprietary Demand Waterfall, a model designed to unify sales and marketing teams and to establish closed-loop processes. The research firm shared the new model at the SiriusDecisions Summit, held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The new model focuses on managing leads sourced across a variety of channels, including sales, marketing and teleprospecting.
“The waterfall represents a shared process between sales and marketing,” said Jay Gaines, Group Director at SiriusDecisions. “When organizations create demand, there are so many things that happen. It’s like an assembly line, and if someone in the middle of that assembly line isn’t doing what they should do, then all the effort at the other end is wasted because people aren’t getting the information they need to do their job effectively.”
Bringing All Parties To The Table
According to Tony Jaros, SVP Research at SiriusDecisions, the research firm emphasizes three key principles driving its new Demand Waterfall approach.
Getting a better view of the big picture. “When the original waterfall was created, most of what we did was in terms of calculating demand sourced outside of marketing,” Jaros said. “In many cases sales would say that it’s only a marketing waterfall, so we wanted to be much more explicit about who’s involved in the process.”
Stressing the role of teleprospecting. “If you take a look at the phases between inquiry and the status of Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) that occur right now, there are two things happening: Number one is some sort of system generated qualification, and number two is some sort of telequalification,” he said. “Telequalification is more important than ever.”
Maximizing inbound marketing efforts. “When we created the Demand Waterfall most of us were going outbound,” Jaros stated. “We studied the growing role of inbound marketing and how companies are creating demand in their sleep. We want interest coming in! Inbound marketing has grown so much in importance that we reflect not only what’s in B2B but going forward.”
A Complete View Of The Demand Journey
The Demand Waterfall update reflects a more complete view of the demand process, from cold to close, and of the different points at which the process originates. Additionally, the new model integrates the sales organization's demand creation efforts.
“When organizations care more about the balance of where demand comes from within their organizations, and making sure that that demand performs as well against one another as reasonably possible, then the relationship between marketing and sales is strongest. This is mutually assured destruction — whose leads perform best?” Jaros said.
This mindset, he noted, sets a negative standard in the organization. If the number of leads generated by both teams doesn’t get closer over time, it’s an efficient demand operation. In an attendee poll, 44% said they fight from time to time about sourced leads.
Jaros also underscored the importance of taking a balanced approach to marketing, sales and teleprospecting performance. Because a healthy demand creation process is all about balance, the Demand Waterfall also introduces the Demand Balance Index (DBI), a formula to divide lead performance of the best sources from the worst. The DBI calculates conversion of Sales Accepted Leads (SALs); Sales Generated Leads (SGL) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL); and how SQLs convert to closed deals from those three sources.
Jaros highlighted the following steps to leveraging the DBI score:
- Do an initial benchmark by calculating DBI;
Rationalize an organization's processes to correct lead conversion imbalances; and
Reset the DBI, working procedurally to find and fix bugs in the process.
“Use the rationalized DBI as the springboard for understanding why leads of varying sources perform differently, and put a plan into action,” he said.
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