It’s hard to believe, but it’s been six years since I stood on the main stage at B2B Summit with my then-colleague Kerry Cunningham to introduce a brand new concept in the transformation of the B2B revenue process. Kerry and I prophesied that it was time to change the focus of the revenue process away from individual people and toward the concept of buying groups and opportunities. The goal was to better align with the true buyer in virtually all B2B buying decisions — a group of people (the buying group) all working together to solve a business issue.  

As an analyst, you can always tell how interesting (or controversial) your topic is by the number of cameras that pop up when you show your slide. It’s fair to say that thousands of cameras captured the initial view of the Demand Unit Waterfall, our first iteration of a waterfall focused on buying groups and opportunities.  

The launch of the first opportunity-centric waterfall was met with a huge amount of interest mixed with a pretty strong degree of skepticism. Some people thought it was brilliant! Others thought the idea was senseless. And many didn’t know just what to think other than it was new and dramatically different from the marketing qualified lead (MQL) process they had used throughout their entire marketing career.  

A lot has changed over the last six years:

  • The new B2B Revenue Waterfall added the concept of opportunity types (acquisition, cross-sell, upsell, and retention) to get a better view of revenue performance across new and existing customers.
  • Market interest went from highly curious to cautious to the current wave of revenue process transformation commitment. For most companies, it’s no longer a question of IF they leave MQLs behind, but WHEN and HOW. The current economic challenges are driving us all to become more efficient, so budget constraints fuel the need for revenue process transformations.
  • We see success in the market from this transformation: Multiple clients will win Return On Integration (ROI) Honors and Program Of The Year (POY) Awards at this year’s Summit. Watch this space for the announcement of this year’s Demand And ABM POY winner, including a great story of an MQL-to-opportunity transformation done in record time.
  • Marketing and sales tech vendors have embraced the buying group approach. This makes it much easier to make the transformation.

That brings us to this year’s Summit and my session, “The Goodbye MQL Transformation Accelerates — Moving From Wild Idea To Reality.” This session will be EXTREMELY helpful for anyone getting ready to make the transformation away from MQLs to opportunities. In this session, I’ll look at the four common obstacles that clients face as they launch this transformation, and discuss how to overcome each of these concerns. We’ll discuss:

  • Overcoming the cultural addiction to MQLs
  • Why the fear that “sales will never buy in” is easily converted to “sales loves this!”
  • How “it’s too hard” has been solved by vendors so that this transformation can be done in week
  • Why a focus on marketing qualified accounts can lead you down the wrong path

I’m looking forward to seeing you all at my session. Bring your camera and get ready for some cool new slides!