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Multi-Market Demand Creation: Keep an Eye on the Weather

May 11, 2016 | By Julian Archer

  • Country-by-country Demand Waterfall® views are interesting, but just stating that a country is different is insufficient for effective comparison
  • Determine and codify factors that may impact conversion and velocity rates to enable multi-country as well as intercompany Waterfall analysis
  • Improve acceptance of standards and processes by recognizing the effects of both determinate and indeterminate factors

Imagine that on a given day in winter, you know that the average temperature on Earth is 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). But this average won’t help you determine how many layers of clothing you should wear. To dress appropriately, you need to understand and assess the varying local conditions. Organizations use SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall® conversion rates and throughput velocity to manage revenue forecasting, demand modeling and lead management process diagnostics. When comparing and contrasting cross-border activity, organizations must understand the factors that drive local variations in Demand Waterfall performance rather than simply saying, “Well, we’re different.”

Determinate Demand Waterfall Factors

When analyzing inter-company or cross-border performance, all factors that affect Demand Waterfall analysis should be as similar as possible for effective (or like-for-like) comparison. At SiriusDecisions, we differentiate between two factor types: determinate and indeterminate. Some factors, recorded in our benchmark surveys, that affect lead quality and Demand Waterfall performance are classified as determinate factors, because a definitive value and/or rating can be applied to each. Determinate factors – e.g. demand type, quality of lead passed to sales, or the predominance of one sales model (direct vs. indirect) over another within a region or country – can be readily identified. Moreover, the presence or lack of a teleprospecting function can dramatically affect the quality of leads entering the Demand Waterfall; this is also classified as a determinate factor.

Indeterminate Demand Waterfall Factors

It is important, however, especially when dealing with operations in multiple countries, to consider and qualify the potential significance of indeterminate factors that affect waterfall performance. A factor is indeterminate if agreed-upon measurement criteria are hard to establish and thus cannot be used to provide statistical proof of their significance. A factor might also be indeterminate due to a similar attribute level (e.g. country data privacy laws may differ within an organization’s country operations, depending on how rigorously the laws are adhered to).

  • Data privacy environment. Email permission laws, data storage requirements and cookie tracking legislation impact initial inquiry generation and the ability to undertake later stage nurture, and will therefore drive different Demand Waterfall behavior. For valid cross-country comparison, determine the varying legal positions – with respect to all aspects of data privacy – and assess the rigor with which each respective country is compliant. Consider a simple scoring of 1 to 3 (with 1 as low, 2 as medium and 3 as high) to rate the severity of the legal requirement and the rigor applied, as this will allow the significance of this factor to be rated and compared against that of other factors.
  • Degree of localization. Operating in multiple markets inevitably requires a strategy for localization. This will establish the appropriate degree of localization investment per country grouping, and will determine the availability of localized campaign content, Web pages and other assets. While this factor impacts all Demand Waterfall metrics, it is a reasonable assumption that the degree of localization will affect earlier-stage conversion more than later-stage conversion, as sales reps are in a position to communicate to prospects in the local language during later stages. The SiriusDecisions Localization Spectrum provides a graded scale (level 1 to 4) to bring some structure to measuring the degree of localization. It is classed as indeterminate, as separate countries may enjoy the same degree of localization, but one market may be more accepting of English material (for example) than the other – and hence, the effect on Demand Waterfall performance will be less.
  • Brand awareness. Generating leads and closing deals is easier when an organization is operating in an environment where it has strong market share, as well as the respect and support of local customer advocates. Demand Waterfall performance will vary accordingly. Brand reputation components, awareness, perception and preference can be logically organized and measured.

Recognition and inclusion of the indeterminate factors into Demand Waterfall reporting and diagnostic discussions add to the acceptance and validity of Demand Waterfall usage and measurement. The fact that a company operates in multiple countries is not a reason to accept variable standards or results. Common standards and processes are essential to drive efficiency within organizations. Identifying, articulating and codifying factors that potentially drive varying Demand Waterfall performance not only enables more informed analysis, but also can increases company-wide understanding of the challenges faced by local markets.

To learn more about localization and globalization, and the effect these considerations have on demand creation, sign up to attend this year's Summit to see Julian Archer and Gil Canare's presentation, "Marketing Globalization vs. Localization: Striking the Balance."

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Gerlos).

Julian Archer

Julian Archer is a Senior Research Director of Marketing Operations Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He has more than 25 years of international b-to-b demand creation experience within corporate and pan-European field functions. Follow Julian on Twitter @julianarcher