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Enabling the New SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall

It’s not often you see 3,000 marketing professionals get pumped up for a new research framework, but that’s exactly what happened at the SiriusDecisions Summit in Las Vegas last week. The new Demand Unit Waterfall® was introduced on stage by analysts Terry Flaherty and Kerry Cunningham, and a whole room of marketers, including yours truly, started dreaming up new ways to influence their revenue pipeline.

There is a rise of go-to-market strategies based on buyer needs and personas, which is being influenced by the growth of account-centric programs in the marketing realm. In addition, Flaherty and Cunningham believe the rise of predictive analytics and intent monitoring made the shift to this new waterfall a natural evolution, because marketers were already heading towards a more data-driven approach to understanding their buyers.

Over here at Lattice we’re excited about this new waterfall for a number of reasons:

  • It’s account first, so instead of tracking leads the waterfall now tracks buyer groups through the funnel, which Sirius calls a “demand unit.” This is something we’ve seen our customers use as a best practice already.
  • It applies to net new customer acquisition as well as customer growth, which is crucial because for many enterprises growing existing customers is just as, if not more, important than adding new logos.
  • The new waterfall emphasizes the importance of using data to better know your customers, which will help drive demand at every stage of the waterfall. For example, the new Active Demand stage uses data to show whether or not an account is expressing intent in a particular topic.

So what are the phases of this new waterfall, and how can predictive analytics and artificial intelligence support them? Let’s investigate:

Target Demand

This stage is all about alignment, and allows organizations to agree on how many opportunities or demand units are in the market for their solution. The goal is to align marketing, product and sales on how they’re describing their market, and how they’ll quantify it. Predictive account models can help to quantify who and how many demand units are actually in a company’s target account market.

Active Demand

This stage looks at how many demand units in the potential market are in-market, by showing evidence of an acute need or buying intention. This is the part of the target market where you want to do outbound movements, because they are ready to engage! Predictive analytics or intent solutions can help teams understand which demand units are engaging in activities that showcase if they are ready to buy now.

Engaged Demand

Demand units progress to this stage once one or more people in that demand unit have responded to marketing or sales outreach. When teams get someone to respond, they need to map out who the lead is, what they are interested in and what demand unit they belong to, in order to further engage them and best assess their fit for a potential purchase. Then teams can use predictive insights to create custom programs and nurture programs to further engage this demand unit.

Prioritized Demand

This stage determines which demand units should be prioritized for human interaction. One way predictive platforms can help is to add up scores of individuals who are engaging with your company, which shows the full picture of how the demand unit is interested, rather than relying on individual interest and helping companies keep the focus at the account level. This helps teams understand which demand units are ready for this personal level of engagement.

Qualified Demand

At this stage the demand unit and accompanying contacts are passed to telesales for engagement. Qualification occurs at this stage, and the team can use predictive insights to gain visibility into every single person from demand unit who is engaging with the company. This helps companies understand the fit, contacts and urgency of the demand unit.


This shows the number of demand units that can be put into a company’s pipeline, based on projected deal size and cloud date.


A win is a win, and everyone is happy to have it!

Over the coming months I know that hundreds of companies, including our own, will be assessing this new waterfall against our existing programs, and determining what changes we need to make to improve our processes. Let us know in the comments below how you’re planning to incorporate this new waterfall framework into your own programs!

Written by

Caitlin Ridge
May 23, 2017