When interacting with someone for the first time, conversations tend to hover around general topics like the weather or where you are from. But when you are talking to a long-time friend, conversations flow easily, even if you haven’t seen each other in years. The differences between these two experiences are context and familiarity.

But it’s not just personal conversations that benefit from these components. Business-to-business (B2B) conversations also rely on context and familiarity. For B2Bs to ensure that conversations with prospects are productive, Marketing and Sales teams need to properly assess to whom their products/services are relevant. This includes building target buyer personas that involve roles and responsibility within the company, pain points, current challenges and overall goals. Without these factors, it’s tough to hold relevant conversations with prospective buyers.

If context is key to unlocking new opportunities, then B2B sellers need to prioritize tools and methodologies that extract, leverage and prioritize context during conversations with leads. Below we will discuss how the Demand Unit Waterfall and Conversica Sales AI Assistants can help B2Bs overcome many of the issues around context and conversations.

What Is the Demand Unit Waterfall?

Demand Unit waterfall graphic

The Demand Unit Waterfall, developed by SiriusDecisions, is a lead management framework focused on Account-Based Marketing (ABM). One of the reasons the model is so popular and successful is that it is focused on intent. Leads higher in the Waterfall model are suspected to be interested in your offerings based on an ideal customer profile while leads lower in the Waterfall are inching towards a closed/won outcome.

Each stage of the Demand Unit Waterfall is matched with a specific action to drive leads further down the Waterfall. For instance, leads in the Qualified Demand stage require teleprospecting to turn those prospects into Sales Qualified Leads or “Pipeline.”

While following up with individual people interested in your products/services is important, SiriusDecisions stresses that one-off leads must be assessed and prioritized by the context of their roles within a potential opportunity. In other words, B2B organizations must associate individual lead roles to buying groups within the company so prospects can be properly matched to the Demand Unit Waterfall.

In this way, B2B organizations do a better job of matching context (which stage of the Waterfall leads/groups fall into) and familiarity (a profile of wants/needs built around target buyer personas) to leads and prospects.

Challenges Facing Sales Teams

The Demand Unit Waterfall is a powerful model. However, it cannot, on its own, solve common challenges facing Sales teams such as capacity constraints.

Salespeople only have so much time in a day to follow up with, nurture and convert leads. Assuming you have a healthy flow of leads, opportunities and pipeline, Salespeople simply cannot speak with everyone they need to. This, unfortunately, leaves many opportunities untapped and ignored.

To increase the reach of Sales touches, many businesses deploy Marketing automation software to connect with and educate leads. While these tools have their place, automated messages from traditional Marketing automation campaigns are static and are typically not personalized to each target persona, their current situations and their needs. Nor are these tools equipped to provide context about the lead for Salespeople to leverage during conversations.

Intelligent Virtual Assistants: The AI-Driven Solution

“Technology is really the key to making your Marketing and Sales efforts more effective across the Waterfall,” writes Peter Isaacson, Chief Marketing Officer at Demandbase, in MarTech Today. “There’s a way to do that right now, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, which help you identify buyer intent at earlier stages of the Demand Unit Waterfall.”

Intelligent Virtual Assistants, powered by AI, engage leads at scale thus affording Sales teams the ability to touch every lead no matter which stage of the Waterfall they exist. The Conversica Sales AI Assistant engages personas within your target buying organizations throughout the buying journey until intent (such as a willingness to speak with a Salesperson) is gauged.

Conversations handled by the Sales AI Assistant can be tailored to match who prospects are, their roles and personas in their organization, and where they are in the buying journey. Or as Isaacson put it, “This means you can start targeting and engaging the buyers who are already qualified at earlier stages, giving you a head start in reaching the right accounts at the first possible moment.”

Sales AI Assistants breed familiarity with leads through two-way, human-like conversations while gathering contextual information from these conversations to share with Salespeople when the lead is deemed Sales-ready. This ensures that leads are engaged in a personalized way at scale while elevating need-to-know information to Salespeople including verified contact information.

Conversica Sales AI Assistants can enhance lead engagement and outreach as defined by the Demand Unit Waterfall to help B2B sellers uncover more opportunities and better facilitate Sales conversations.

Want to learn more? Take a deep dive into “When to Implement the Demand Unit Waterfall” research brief from SiriusDecisions.

While you’re at it, explore the Conversica blog to understand how a Conversica Sales AI Assistant can Optimize Your Touch Cycle Plan.