Simplifying the Waterfall for Marketing

When I first saw the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall, I was enamored. Cool!  Finally someone had started to describe how B2B marketing works and created a set of best practices. And it was simple – 5 stages from the top of the funnel to the bottom.  So we learned 3 new acronyms MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), SAL (Sales Accepted Lead) and SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) and we were happy.

Then came the feedback. “This doesn’t represent the real world.” “What about the sales role?” “What about telesales?” So Sirius Decisions revised the waterfall to include these functions. So the next version was way more complete and more representative of the real world but, geez, it was super hard to digest visually. Plus there were a bunch of new acronyms to learn (TQL and AQL etc.) You can see red, yellow, blue and green boxes which represent the following organizations:

  • Red = Marketing
  • Yellow = Teleprospecting
  • Blue = Sales

And then there’s green which shows an organization accepting a lead from some other organization to work.

So Full Circle Insights looked at this, we thought that the best way to read this was to display 3 funnels, one for each department sourcing business. And so thus we split the waterfall into 3 as shown below.

sirius decisions waterfall in salesforce using full circle crm

This was all good except now we’re hearing from our customers that the stage names are too confusing and that companies need real names, not acronyms, for the stages. This is a nice evolution to the Sirius Decisions Waterfall. I wonder if Sirius will address this at the upcoming SiriusDecisions Summit in May?

Bonnie Crater

About Bonnie Crater

Bonnie is a 5-time VP of Marketing at Genesys, Netscape, Oracle (Network Computer Inc.), Stratify, and VoiceObjects. While valuing the creative side of marketing, Bonnie's real love is marketing operations -- measuring marketing investments and determining investment optimization. Now as CEO of Full Circle Insights, Bonnie is working to help fellow marketers get the data needed to succeed. In 2000, Bonnie was named one of the “Top 20 Female Executives in Silicon Valley” by San Jose Magazine. Bonnie holds a B.A. in biology from Princeton University.