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Terminus Blog

September 27, 2021

How to Switch to a Demand Unit Waterfall

Category: FlipMyFunnel Post

Switching from a traditional demand waterfall to a demand unit waterfall comes with its fair share of challenges. Reaching out to the community for additional support is a good way to ease the transition. 

Joining the show from Bazaarvoice, Jen Leaver, Senior Global ABM Manager, and Kate Hahn, Director of Global Demand Generation and Retention, who discuss their current marketing efforts.

The transition

At Bazaarvoice, Jen and Kate are tackling issues many marketers face when making a huge transition.

So, what better way to address those challenges than enlisting the help of other marketers facing the same or similar challenges?

As with any open discussion between expert marketers, expect each question to beget more questions and as diverse a group of answers as the people giving them.

The current state of marketing at Bazaarvoice

Jen and Kate’s ultimate goals are to really dig into 

  1. How they are activating the entire buying committee within a target account
  2. How that relates to their marketing campaigns and strategy
  3. How they pass that info to sales
  4. How they activate sales to look beyond the traditional MQL or lead and focus on the additional stakeholders in the buying process
  5. How to then use that information to activate the wider account

Currently, the business reports out through a marketing source model, whereby everything is tied back to an MQL, pipeline dollars and closed won dollars.

They are also utilizing a last-touch model to inform their marketing — i.e. looking at what the last marketing touch was before an MQL happens. They are always looking at things like MQLs, marketing source pipe, marketing source closed won, and return on marketing investment.

The challenge

The challenge they’ve identified is primarily that, as they move to an account-based marketing model, they know that these metrics no longer align with the KPIs and overall success they should be reporting on.

This is why they are looking to incorporate a marketing influence model into their marketing source model. Incorporating a marketing influence model will allow them to identify earlier stages to benchmark, among other things — but we’ll take a closer look at this later.

Marketing source, however, is still valuable — MQLs are still a useful metric and aren’t going to go away any time soon — and they understand these are still things their sales team needs to prioritize.

An important additional concern is that their global teams are focused on acquisition, growth and retention, but individual regions may be focused more on any one area than the others. Likewise, there are different focuses when it comes to the SMB and Enterprise spaces. Further complicating this is the differing priorities of their marketing and partner channels.

Right now, their SDRs report to sales and handle all inbound and outbound. But with so many players looking at these accounts in different ways, they recognize that their current SDR team structure will have to change.

Under the ABM influence

The move into an ABM model means understanding intent and serving highly engaged accounts to sales is a critical focus for Jen and Kate.

They’re incorporating an influence model to better capture this data because, while — as previously mentioned — a marketing source model is still useful, it misses much of the most important data in their ABM efforts: e.g. influence around pipeline acceleration and growing deal sizes.

The current state of their influence model is based on campaign membership, which requires a form fill. However, this ultimately doesn’t give a complete enough picture of influence — and with B2B moving away from gated content, they recognize they’ll need to expand this even further.

This is the biggest stumbling block for Jen and Kate:

How do they identify their ideal state to report out to the business? What is the broader view? 

Most importantly: What are the right KPIs to focus on?

Spitballing

The audience discussion was wide-ranging and incorporated many additional challenges faced across the industry, but many interesting ideas came up in relation to Jen and Kate’s challenges.

Let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing questions and suggestions…

Down to business

Several in the audience wisely pointed out how important the input from across the business in terms of KPIs each unit of the business would want to see prioritized — in particular, the C-Suite.

Perhaps the most novel approach in this vein was to hold a similar forum to this within the business to ascertain the most important KPIs for all the various stakeholders involved to inform their decision on what to prioritize.

Marketing vs. sales — the eternal battle

As members of the audience expressed the need for input on KPI selection from other departments, we learned Jen and Kate faced a problem by being pitted against one department in particular — and every marketer knows which department already knows which…

Sales, of course. It’s always sales, right?

While there were many ideas for fostering better alignment between these notoriously bitter rivals, one suggestion stood out for its novelty and simplicity:

Why not just get rid of sales?

One audience member is doing just that. His reasoning is that, if attribution is so complicated with both the long and short games of marketing needing to be proven to the sales department, then breaking up sales means:

  1. He can send his AEs to Customer Success, where they can field qualified opportunities who ask for a sales rep
  2. His BDRs/SDRs can move into marketing where they can support demand gen efforts, focus on evangelizing and personal-brand building, and help with ABM activity

Events

Another area the audience pointed to for Jen and Kate to direct their marketing-influence focus on is events. 

There are all sorts of data points that can be collected from events that can be directly attributed to marketing activities and influence — while it is also a great marketing channel to use to influence. 

Your turn

What do you think about the challenges Jen and Kate face and their current approach? What would you do in their position? Does any audience suggestion change your thoughts on how to tackle your own challenges?

Marketing isn’t always about having the right answer. More often than not, it’s about the process — it’s about asking the right questions and learning from other perspectives.

So, if you take away nothing else from Jen and Kate’s current challenges, at least remember this:

Having the courage to be open about your struggles and seek other opinions is often the most valuable thing you can do when facing difficult obstacles. 

You may not always get simple answers that solve all your problems, but you will get new perspectives on how to approach them — and, in the long run, that’s way more valuable.

This is a #FlipMyFunnel podcast. Check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Flip My Funnel in your favorite podcast player.

Written by Sangram Vajre

Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus, the leader of the account-based marketing (ABM) movement transforming B2B marketing. Before co-founding Terminus, Sangram led the marketing team at Pardot through its acquisition by ExactTarget and then to Salesforce. Sangram is the author of Account-Based Marketing for Dummies and is the mastermind behind #FlipMyFunnel. Follow Sangram on Twitter at @sangramvajre.

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