You’ve probably heard that modern marketing strategies need to be aligned with the ‘demand waterfall’ to ensure that they cover the entire customer journey from prospect to conversion. But do you have a clear picture of the stages of the demand waterfall, and how to strategically develop them within your company?
The new demand waterfall stages that marketing strategies need to align to are:
- Stage 1: Enquiries
- Stage 2: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
- Stage 3: Sales Accepted Leads (SAL)
- Stage 4: Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
- Stage 5: Closed/Won Business
This is an initial response to outbound marketing programmes:
- Above The Line (ATL) advertising
- Online banner advertising
- Social media posts and comments.
Knowledge of the respondents is very limited at this stage.
Leads that have been qualified through response to inbound marketing programmes:
- Feature articles
- Focused events
A picture of a prospect’s interest has been built up through responses to digital marketing programmes and, through a predetermined lead scoring process, the prospect is deemed ready to pass to sales.
Leads that sales have agreed to work following the MQL process:
- Need to be worked within a given timeframe
- Leads are converted or returned to the marketing process if they are not quite ready yet
- A built-in process should provide feedback on the quality of the lead and the reasons for hand-back if it doesn’t convert.
Leads that have become opportunities:
- Sales to arrange 1-1 meetings
- Opportunities enter the pipeline
- Marketing support through ongoing communications.
To deliver a strategy that aligns with the new demand waterfall stages:
- Compare the strategies and tactics used to generate, develop and nurture leads by your competitors
- Identify how best-practice companies manage leads
- Analyse your demand creation activities with models and frameworks that put your critical issues in context
- Learn from everything you do to develop a demand strategy that integrates marketing and sales and generates predictable revenue.
The models that can guide your strategic planning are:
- Field Execution – processes to support sales and marketing integration
- Customer Buying Cycle – a framework to identify which messages are needed at each stage of the customer journey
- Demand Spectrum – identifies the characteristics of the different demand types
- Lead Development – continuous improvement through analysis of lead generation tactics and results
- Sales & Marketing Waterfall – a tool to help identify ways to continually improve each team’s performance at every stage.