Akoonu Pipeline Reviews and Forecasting

Akoonu Pipeline Reviews and Forecasting

Blog: Thoughts, Tips and Tricks

Are Your Funnels on a Collision Course?

Does your business lack Sales and Marketing alignment? If so, you’re not alone—this is an age old issue. So, why is it that Sales and Marketing still operate along two different trajectories? Most often, this occurs where there’s a lack of alignment from one or both of these departments to the actual buyers. Without alignment, it can seem like Marketing, Sales and Buyers are three separate funnels on their own, different paths.

Sales Marketing and Buyer Funnels.jpg

Marketing and Sales have the same ultimate goal: to increase revenue. To better understand where things go off course, let’s take a step back.

More than a decade ago, when SiriusDecisions introduced the concept of the Demand Waterfall, it helped B2B companies learn to focus their sales efforts. It was seller-centric, taking you through the stages from inquiries to MQLs, SALs, SQLs and Closed/Won Business. This provided the structure and framework essential to scaling marketing and sales tactics.

Then, digital marketing enabled buyers to gain a major increase in access to information and the landscape shifted. 2012 brought a revised SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall, which captured more nuances around how opportunities are sourced, developed and ultimately move towards close. Companies worked to operationalize and adapt their Marketing and Sales models, focusing on personalization, targeting and other methods of delivering relevant content to help buyers self-educate.

Buyers continued on their trajectory of being even more educated, empowered to research on their own and collaborative within their organizations. This further increased the complexity of the decision from selling to an individual, to selling to a group of buyers working together. And these buying groups keep growing in size.

The imperative to change how we sell, thinking first about the buying group and how they want—and expect—to be engaged, can be challenging.  SiriusDecisions’ 2017 B2B selling model is focused on just that. They call it the Demand Unit. The Demand Unit is defined as a buying group that has been organized to address a need the organization is challenged with.

Demand units—not accounts—are usually the true targets that you should have in mind when thinking about buyers.” -SiriusDecisions

Every stage of our B2B selling process should focus on what the buying group (or Demand Unit) needs.  This begs a few questions:

  • How do the buying and selling processes stay aligned and ultimately align in a harmonious revenue journey?
  • How can Sales and Marketing of a vendor understand the unique expectations of each buyer at the different stages in their buying journey?

By putting the potential of the Demand Unit into action, you can create alignment in the buying and selling processes

When Sales and Marketing align with Buyers, their funnels come together to create a unified revenue journey.  The Demand Unit is something sales can get behind. With that focus, Sales can move in lockstep with marketing to meet the expectations of their buyers.

The Demand Unit now enables further conceptual progress in opportunity management.  The Demand Unit Waterfall adds two new stages—target demand and active demand—which are aimed at identifying target buyers before they have raised their hand or self-identified on your site.

But what’s far and away the most exciting thing here is that marketing and sales can be directionally aligned around what matters. The bottom line is that with a Demand Unit understood, sales can identify what they need help with, and marketing now grasp comprehensively what to target to whom. And with Demand Units clearly identified and approached in a unified way, Sales and Marketing are aligned on how to work together to meet expectations at every stage of the buyers’ journey and sales cycle to bring a harmonious outcome to the revenue journey.

Learn more about the 6 signs of a truly buyer-centric company.