Winning the Three-Legged Race: How to Align Account-Based Marketing and Sales Technology Using the Demand Unit Waterfall™
- A B2B organization’s sales and marketing teams must collaborate to ensure an aligned demand management process
- Matt Senatore and Barbara Rubis presented “Aligning Account-Based Marketing and Sales Technology Using the Demand Unit Waterfall™” at this year’s TechX in New Orleans
- Sales and marketing should select technology according to their business requirements for operationalizing the Demand Unit Waterfall
“There is a tragedy that is happening in B2B boardrooms,” Matt Senatore announced as he took the stage at this year’s SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange with Barbara Rubis to present “Aligning Account-Based Marketing and Sales Technology Using the Demand Unit Waterfall.™” “It’s the quarterly board report showing that marketing has accomplished that quarter’s goals and crushed leads they have passed over to sales. Now it’s sales’ turn to update, and the picture is not as rosy – they didn’t make their forecast.”
This is the challenge of a lead management model where teams are operating in silos, which leads to misalignment on success.
Instead, sales, marketing and product teams should be closely aligned and highly collaborative to ensure an effective demand management process. “B2B organizations must stop managing in silos,” Matt said. “The approach to demand processes and agreement around what efficacy looks like must change.”
Matt and Barbara then explained how this alignment should extend throughout the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall™, which enables a structured and consistent approach to managing and tracking the progression of demand identified in the target market, through to closed/won deals.
Technology decisions are a critical element in this alignment. Best-in-class organizations select marketing and sales technologies according to specific objectives and corresponding requirements at each stage of the Demand Unit Waterfall to help them meet their revenue objectives. Matt and Barbara walked TechX attendees through key stages of the Demand Unit Waterfall, which align to the tech categories of sales force automation (SFA) systems, marketing automation platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), predictive, intent monitoring and sales intelligence:
In this stage, marketing and sales must agree upon the definition of the target addressable market (TAM); this is the “we target” stage of the Demand Unit Waterfall. “This definition is an aligned decision,” Matt said. “During the annual planning process, target markets are identified more broadly so organizations get a sense of where revenue is expected to come from. There is a degree of win/loss analysis between marketing and sales which leads to agreement on what makes up the ideal customer profile. In this way, better decisions can be made about where to prioritize.”
The objective in this stage of the Demand Unit Waterfall is to monitor digital behavior to determine which companies might be buyers in the market for the organization’s offerings.
“At this point, we want to understand companies that aren’t hand-raisers and correlate solution to need,” Matt said. “When buyers are out there on our web properties, we can see what they scrolling through and clicking on, and make assumptions based on buyer need. We want to know who else they are looking at and then create appropriate messaging later.”
He shared the story of SiriusDecisions client Informatica, which has implemented an account-tiering structure with strategic accounts that have a different set of touches and tactics. “With this structure, Informatica took a data-driven approach to what accounts they were going to focus on and built a 360-degree view,” said Matt.
In this stage – the “we know” stage – of the Demand Unit Waterfall, demand is qualified once the demand unit has been validated through human interaction between the buying group and a seller. A lead development rep must directly communicate with a prospect, validate the fit and then determine if there is something in the organization’s offering portfolio that reps can sell to this prospect. “If we don’t have exact fit, we must influence buyers to need what we can provide,” explained Barbara.
During this discussion, TechX attendees were asked, “Compared to last year, what is your organization’s planned investment in sales intelligence technology in the next 12 months?” Fifty-five percent reported their investment will be greater than it was during the previous 12 months. “Investment is ticking up!” enthused Barbara. “A new sales intelligence or AI vendor is entering the marketplace every day.”
After sales verifies the prospect’s target timeline and required resources to complete a purchase, demand becomes a forecasted opportunity; this is the “we expect” stage of the Demand Unit Waterfall.
“At this stage, we have high confidence that we’re going to win the deal and proceed to handoff,” said Barbara. “The SFA system is used to record and view what meetings are scheduled and who else is getting invited. Humans are fallible, so there’s judgment involved when entering that info – we want to know when the call happened and if it was a good call. Were any actions taken at end of call and, if so, what were they?”
Matt closed with this last piece of advice: “Even if you haven’t adopted or operationalized the Demand Unit Waterfall, take a look at what your teams are doing. Are they doing the right activities, and are the right players involved? Are there disconnects? Do you have the right solutions already in place that you can leverage? Who are the right tech vendors you should talk to close gaps?”