Everything’s working just the way it should. A promising prospect – someone that fits perfectly into the audience you’re working to target – does a Google search about a problem they have, finds the information in a blog post on your site, and clicks the CTA on the page to download your ebook for more information.
Your marketing is doing its job. You’ve captured a solid lead. Now what happens next?
That lead is worth nothing if your company doesn’t have the right system in place to usher them along to a sale. The work marketing does is a crucial part of the process of landing sales, but it’s not usually enough without the right process of follow up and sales collaboration.
To Start: You Need the Structure of a Demand Waterfall
SiriusDecisions crafted the demand waterfall model to help businesses put a more clearly defined structure into place for dealing with leads. The demand waterfall accomplishes two very important things:
- It creates a common language for defining leads. One common point of contention between marketing and sales teams is the argument over lead quality. If marketing doesn’t take any time to determine if the leads they send are actual valid prospects, then sales is likely to feel like they’re being asked to waste their time. The demand waterfall model solves this problem by creating a hierarchy of leads and a shared language for defining them. Sales can be confident that anything coming to them as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) has gone through a vetting process that showed it to be worth their time.
- It establishes a process for ensuring follow up with every qualified lead. As long as every lead is entered into the waterfall process, you’ll know that no promising prospects will fall through the cracks. Every lead your marketing team has worked hard to earn will be given the attention it deserves and thus the opportunity to become the sale you’re all working toward.
If you haven’t established the demand waterfall model, or something like it, at your business, there’s a good chance you’re leaking money in potential sales that never make it to that point because they fall through the cracks in the lead stage. We would suggest getting a working waterfall in place soon.
Now Make the Demand Waterfall Process Better
Once you have your demand waterfall process clearly defined and in place, you can start working to improve it so that more of your leads successfully turn into revenue.
Track what’s working.
Hopefully, you‘ve already been tracking how well marketing campaigns perform, but you also want to track everything that happens between the point where a prospect becomes a true lead and when they turn into a sale. The more waterfall reporting data you have, the better you’ll know which tactics are working. If there’s a stage of your demand waterfall where leads tend to fall off, then you can analyze what you’re doing now and how it can be better.
Use data from past sales to better understand the how and why of future sales.
All of that waterfall reporting data can help you fix anything that’s not working, but it can also paint you a picture of what the future will look like. Marketing forecasting is one of the newest and most exciting segments of marketing that improved technology has brought to fruition. With the right marketing analytics and the help of technology, you can use past data to provide you with a picture of what the sales process will look like for future leads.
How long will it take to land that sale? How big will it probably be? Which moves can you make that will lead to faster or better sales? Once you have enough data from your demand waterfall, you’ll be able to answer those questions with confidence.
Keep the communication lines open between sales and marketing.
You’ll have to come together to create the demand waterfall process and ensure you’re all on the same page, but once that’s done it can all easily fall apart if you stop talking to each other. Make sure that sales has an easy way to provide feedback to marketing on the quality of their leads, and make sure marketing has access to the waterfall reporting that will keep them in the loop on what’s working. Both teams have a stake in making sure that leads become sales. The best way for everyone to improve those numbers is to work together.Even if marketing is doing everything right throughout the demand generation phase, their hard work will only pay off if the business can keep up the good work throughout the sales phase as well. The demand waterfall model can be used to help make sure you’re providing prospects with everything they need throughout the whole buyer’s journey. When more leads turn into sales, everyone wins.
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