Tell Them What You Told Them With Demand Unit Waterfall, ABM And Predictive Analytics

Fred Isbell

There’s an old saying in public speaking: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.” Originally attributed to Aristotle, this pearl of wisdom is not only great for presentations, but also for organizing and presenting thoughts in meetings and discussions.

SiriusDecisions’ Demand Unit Waterfall is a great example of philosophy. Recently unveiled at this year’s annual SiriusDecisions Summit (the “Woodstock of B2B Marketing”), this framework is a much-need update of a tried and true model for B2B marketing.

sirius demand unit waterfall

In the spirit of Aristotle’s advice, I found myself attending several Webcasts after the event to learn more about this model. I was then invited to a local SiriusDecisions Forum “The Demand Unit Waterfall: Plan, Execute, Measure.” And through this classic experience of the three stages of learning, I refined and expanded my level of understanding of this critical topic.

The age of the account has arrived in modern marketing

As most marketers already know, the account is the unit of action and the epicenter of modern marketing. Validated during my attendance at ITSMA Marketing Vision Conference and Richmond Events Marketing Forum, this fundamental shift from the traditional approach of looking at activity and conversions at the tactic level is empowering marketing to look at the account and the aggregated buying-group level. Hopefully, this will bring less fragmented marketing efforts to individuals who are likely part of this larger group, while reducing wasted effort and increasing B2B marketing efficiency.

Account-based marketing has evolved beyond the hype

The primary concept of the Demand Unit Waterfall is starting with total available market (TAM) and focusing on target accounts. We’ve all seen the marketing equivalent of the “Pareto Principle” – the 80/20 rule where the majority of sales come from a minority of customers and accounts. The Demand Unit Waterfall requires marketers to look at buying groups within target accounts and hone in even further.

This approach is the perfect evolution of account-based marketing (ABM) as key messages of ABM audiences within specific accounts are further tailored. In this case, a flexible portfolio of content and thought leadership and an ABM toolkit are certainly helpful. By measuring results and business impact, marketers can further cement ABM’s value as a critical mainstream concept for the execution of modern marketing.

The time for predictive analytics, lead scoring, and marketing automation is now

The Demand Unit Waterfall requires marketers to categorize demand. Once the target is defined, the concepts of active, engaged, and prioritized demand are critical. All of this feeds into qualified demand for a specific product and solution with high confidence that it will eventually move from the pipeline to revenue.

Being exposed to Big Data and predictive analytics, B2B marketing is in the midst of a perfect storm that is putting insight- and data-driven intelligence front and center of the accounts, buying patterns, and target account units that are being evaluated. Specific predictive analytics techniques – such as propensity modeling and lead scoring – are using specific account- and customer-centric insights to accurately predict future sales behavior. And once a marketing automation platform is united with a CRM system to manage this process, the art and science of marketing will further evolve.

At the end of the day, the real value of the Demand Unit Waterfall for the modern B2B marketer is synergy, combining the account-specific focus of ABM and account-centric marketing and truly leveraging data-driven insights. Aristotle said it best: “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” I could not agree with him more!

For more insight, see More Than Noise: Digital Trends That Are Bigger Than You Think.

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About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell worked at SAP for nearly 19 years in senior roles in SAP Marketing. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing spanning nearly 30 years. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.