In their EMEA summit in London the other week, SiriusDecisions presented an updated version of their demand waterfall. With 250 top marketing directors in one room, it was exciting to hear the event generate such a buzz around strategic B2B telemarketing, once again a hot topic on the lips of automation-overloaded marketers. On the flip side, however, to me the ‘waterfall’ presented as a jargon-happy, technically overcomplicated yet singularly focused chute that ignores two elements critical to successful B2B marketing.
Before I get to those two elements, however, I’d like to touch on the language of this ‘waterfall’. In an industry laden with acronyms, SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall pumps out even more. They include TQL, TAL, AQL, TGL, SAL and SGL; abbreviations that would be more at home in a text message than in clear and simple business communication.
But these are mere semantics. More importantly are the two neglected areas of the telemarketing process that are crucial to successful B2B marketing.
Lush opportunities left adrift
Firstly, while the waterfall clearly addresses the direct sales force, it does not acknowledge the channel. This is quite an oversight if you consider how the channel is the bread and butter of many companies – especially IT companies.
Secondly, the waterfall doesn’t allow for the reintegration of lapsed, lost or unsuccessful customers and prospects – what we could call the ‘spray’ of the waterfall. Instead of being carefully collected in the water basin and brought carefully back up to the top of the waterfall, the spray is allowed to drift off in the wind, most likely to land in a rival water source. This is a major flaw.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”, said Bill Gates.
In the same vein, so this customer/prospect spray is really, very important. Just think how well you know them already, the contacts you have made, the insight into their business, operations and potential requirements. These contacts have enormous value and should not be ignored; I would recommend them over a cold lead any day.
Telemarketing – back in the strategic B2B marketing game
Still, with the buzz around the summit, it’s very positive for the B2B marketing industry that B2B telemarketing has been elevated from the tactical and transactional back into the strategic marketing game. For too long now, marketers have been focussing on automation, hoping that it could tick all the strategic boxes. But, of course, it can’t. You still need that personal outreach and nurturing for relationship building. In such a competitive business environment, engagement through conversation is now more important than ever.
So despite the limitations of its demand waterfall, we can be glad that SiriusDecisions has helped put strategic B2B telemarketing firmly back on the B2B marketing agenda.