According to the Social Security Administration, the median per-capita annual wage in the United States in 2015 was $28,851. The “best in class” salary (let’s use the top 1 percent of earners) is estimated to exceed $400,000.
Based on this information:
Clearly, answering these questions requires context. First, your current career choice (teacher, marketer or NFL quarterback) is a major factor-shaping circumstance.
But because many of you are marketing professionals, let’s use that as a beginning point on defining context. As a marketing professional, are you happy with your $100K salary? Again, the answer needs more context. If you're a recent college grad, you’ve landed a great salary. If you're a mid-level marketing manager, you're probably satisfied. And if you're a CMO, it's likely you feel significantly underpaid. Other factors, such as industry, geography and company size, also help to set context in answering the key question of “Am I fairly compensated compared to my peers?”
So, what does all this have to do with b-to-b marketing and sales?
Clients often ask me, “What are the best-in-class conversion rates?” for key stages in the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall®. And just as salary comparisons require context to define the right peer benchmark, Demand Waterfall conversion benchmarks also require context.
Demand Waterfall conversion rates are impacted by a number of different factors, including demand type, lead qualification level, deal size, customer type and the channel. Collectively, these parameters define the context for the Demand Waterfall.
Based on context, the Demand Waterfall will have significantly different shapes. Let’s look at several different contexts and see how the conversion rates across these waterfalls differ:
Just as using the wrong salary benchmark can lead to frustration when looking at your pay stub, using the wrong waterfall benchmarks can cause problems for marketers:
As you’ve seen, there is not a universal “best-in-class” benchmark that applies to all waterfalls. It’s critical to select the appropriate benchmark to establish goals and budget and build a strategy to improve productivity and enhance marketing’s alignment and impacts. SiriusDecisions benchmarking and advisory services can provide appropriate benchmarks based on peers with similar waterfall contexts.
I'll be presenting on demand creation in May at Summit 2016 in Nashville. Register today!
Terry Flaherty is a Senior Research Director of Demand Creation Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Terry is a senior marketing executive with a passion for sales and marketing integration through effective demand generation. His background includes more than 15 years' experience delivering enterprise-level software solutions, including business process management (BPM), IT infrastructure management, business intelligence and application development. Follow Terry on Twitter @TFlaherty.