The new Demand Waterfall from SiriusDecisions; An Introduction

This week SiriusDecisions presented their new demand waterfall model. It was very well received at the annual conference this week.  Where before it took a narrow approach to the funnel, the new approach showcases how inbound marketing, marketing automation and telemarketing intertwine with regard to demand generation. Of equal importance, it showcases how marketing and sales should be aligned, and how the funnel process integrates both fields.  Here is the new Demand Waterfall.


So here’s what’s going on:

  1. An inbound inquiry and an outbound inquiry enter the funnel
  2. Leads are qualified through marketing automation systems; now called AQL, or automated qualified lead.  If marketing automation qualifies the lead via lead scoring, they are sent to sales to become SAL, or the traditional sales-accepted lead.
  3. If those early leads are not scored, then they need to be qualified via teleprospecting.  First they are TAL, or a teleprospecting accepted lead, then a TQL, a teleprospecting qualified lead (determining BANT via telephone). 
  4. Besides inbound marketing leads that are verified and qualified via teleprospecting, leads are also generated by direct calling or referrals, and thus are named TGL, or a teleprospecting generated lead.
  5. Sales qualification begins with the sales accepted leads that are accepted from inbound marketing and telemarketing.  If sales people generate the leads themselves, those leads are now called SGL, or sales generated leads.
  6. SALs and SGLs, once accepted, are now further qualified as opportunities, and are called SQL, or a sales qualified lead.
  7. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, is the close.


Some comments:

  • I like the fact that inbound and outbound are separate.  Outbound includes advertising, trade shows, direct mail, and PR.  Inbound covers search, SEO< and even social.
  • Where before the funnel represented a linear approach covering all marketing and sales, this new funnel shows more detail on the role of teleprospecting in the qualification process, and the acknowledgement of sales generated leads as compared to marketing leads.  Both have their own conversion metrics.
  • Good to finally see a nod to marketing automation systems as an integral conduit between inquiries and qualified leads.
  • It’ll take more research from SiriusDecisions to determine the best-in-class conversion rates throughout the funnel; and that’ll be more information we can use to benchmark the funnel stages with regard to conversions.


There’s much to digest here, and I know there will be more information coming from not just SiriusDecisions but other demand consultants, but it does showcase how sales, marketing, and telemarketing work together to guide the lead through the pipeline and toward a sale.  Anyone mention that content marketing is the fuel that drives these inquiries into the funnel and stops leads from leaking out? Ok I will. 


What do you think of the new funnel above? 

About Paul Mosenson

NuSpark Marketing Founder, Chief Lead Generation Strategist and Online Media Director An experienced B2B and B2C marketer, Paul has been helping clients generate leads and grow their businesses for over 25 years. Paul helps plan and optimize marketing and lead generation programs.


  1. Paul Mosenson

    Eric, the one problem I saw is they didn’t do much with pipeline- opportunities- sales process. The bottom funnel went right to closes.

  2. Eric Wittlake

    Paul, I also liked the inbound/outbound split on inquiries, definitely an improvement. I also like the additional complexity on qualification. Contacts that are qualified through on-site behavior and form submissions versus teleprospecting are fundamentally different. By recognizing that, the benchmarking data in the future will be more valuable as well.

    I did a full post as well on what I liked about the new funnel, looking forward to more from Sirius in the future.

    The New SiriusDecisions Waterfall

    — @wittlake