When first I saw Sirius’ new demand waterfall, I immediately thought it as an account funnel. It’s awesome. But, after the initial excitement faded, reality hit.
How would I transition from leads to accounts funnel?
If you have a well functioning lead gen machine, it would be risky to switch overnight. You have to educate, train, and execute to new metrics and new processes. In some cases, you may need a new organization. Don’t get overwhelmed by Sirius’ new metric that replaces leads. Or, their new stage at the top of the funnel, activated demand.
Like anything that is so transformative, I would start by assessing what account goal should be at each stage.
As demand gen marketers, we are responsible for delivering demand to sales. Today, that is measured as leads. As you train the organization to think with accounts rather than leads, start by concurrently measuring leads and accounts. Right now, everybody only cares about how many qualified leads are required for the demand funnel. It will be natural for everybody to ask: So how many accounts are needed?
Before doing anything different, figure out how many accounts you need at each stage of the waterfall. Start at the bottom stage and work your way up.
At the bottom stage is when sales accepts the demand. In an account funnel, the numeric goal is the same as the goal in a lead funnel because sales only accepts leads, as long as it is a new opportunity for an account. At other stages like the first stage after opt-in, typically known as inquiry in a lead funnel and what Sirius says is engaged demand in their new framework, the leads required to deliver the demand number to sales will be different than the accounts required.
That’s where lead to account mapping technology comes in.
Lead to account mapping technology
Lead to account mapping identifies all of your leads by account according to standard third party data or an organization’s customized third party data. For example, there are hundreds of subsidiaries in GE. Third party data would count GE as one parent account with hundreds of subsidiaries. But, your sales team may say that there are ten accounts in GE owned by ten different reps. Your competitor’s sales team may say it’s twenty accounts. Once sales teams work with sales ops to define the accounts, lead to account technology will identify leads belonging to certain accounts.
For example, there are hundreds of subsidiaries in GE. Third party data would count GE as one parent account with hundreds of subsidiaries. However, your sales team may say that there are ten accounts in GE owned by ten different reps. Your competitor’s sales team may say it’s twenty accounts. Once sales teams work with sales ops to define the accounts, lead to account technology will identify leads belonging to certain accounts. Startup vendors, like Engagio and LeanData, provide lead to account mapping that is good with more standard account definitions. Database warehouse vendors, like Epsilon and Merkle, can customize your account definition relative to a large company like GE with a robust data cleansing, appending, and deduping architecture.
Once you, your organization, and your peers are comfortable with the goals and metrics at each stage of the funnel, you can then start to reorient campaigns toward optimizing accounts instead of leads.
Lead to account transition pro tip: For the first quarter, track how account-based campaigns impact both leads and accounts.
Once account-based campaigns are proven to increase accounts and that results in better quality demand for the sales team, then everybody in the organization will be confident enough to switch off leads.
I’ve done it before, and you can too.