What Roles Do MQLs and SQLs Play in Lead Marketing?

MQL and SQL are two common terms associated with lead marketing. But what roles do they play in your lead funnel? We're taking a look in our latest post.

It might seem counter intuitive, but generating leads and turning them into sales is getting harder every year. The internet makes it easier to reach potential customers, but it does the same for your competitors.

This reality means that can't waste time on leads that will never convert. In lead marketing, understanding MQL and SQL is essential to success.

Let's take a look at these two steps in the lead process so that you can generate more profit.

MQL and SQL -- What Are They?

MQL stands for marketing qualified leads. When a potential buyer visits your website and provides their information, they are signaling their interest in you.

These customers are in the research stage, searching for a solution to a problem. Once your marketing team has their information, they can begin gauging their interest. Invite them to webinars or offer downloads that provide more information.

If the customer follows through with the call to action presented to them, whether it's a download, webinar, or calling a number, they become an MQL. They have shown more than passing interest. You can now push the customer towards the decision phase.

Offer free trials, quotes, or coupons. If the lead bites, you now have a SQL and should get them to sales as fast as possible.

An SQL is a sales qualified lead. They have passed through various checkpoints and are ready to buy now. These are the leads that are willing and able to make a decision.

How Do I Know When To Send An MQL to Sales?

The key to ensuring a lead is worthy of the resources and time of your sales team is to they meet certain criteria.

First, the lead should have the financial means to buy the service or product you are offering. If they have made it through the MQL stage, it is safe to assume that they have the budget to buy now.

Next, they should be someone that has the authority to make buying decisions. The product you offer should meet a need that they have, and they should be willing to make a decision now.

These criteria are all filtered in the MQL stage. There will be people that go through the process of following CTA's and showing interest even if they don't meet these markers. You can't worry about that.

The key to successful lead marketing is putting the odds in your favor.

Signs That the Odds Are In Your Favor

Look at the behavior of website visitors. A repeat visitor is more likely to buy a product or service than a first timer. Knowing the behavior of the repeat visitor is essential to push them towards a purchase.

There is software that will tell you how to convert visitors into customers. These programs will tell you which pages the visitor goes to, how long they view each page, and where they visit after your site.

You should also have data that shows where your best leads come from. Knowing if your best customers come from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other sources will allow you to focus your marketing campaigns.

Gathering information about demographics is important as well. At first, getting a visitors email address, company, position, and a phone number is all you'll need for lead marketing.

After a few visits and fulfilled call to actions, you should know what problem the customer is looking to solve and how they view your company. This information will tell you what the best approach to selling them your services is.

How to Gauge Lead Marketing Success

Assuming that lead marketing is effective because of a large number of SQL leads is counter-productive. As with most things in business, quality always trumps quantity.

Sending a large number of leads from marketing to sales can be bad for business.

Your sales team uses its time and resources to follow through on each lead. For every lead that is a dead end, you run the risk of another customer looking elsewhere.

Your sales team might also become upset with the lead marketing team for wasting their time. The best way to stop this from happening is to look for two things: The number of leads accepted by the sales team and the conversion rate of MQLs.

A lead marketing team is only as good as the amount of money they bring into a company. If your sales team rejects a large number of MQLs, there needs to be a shift in focus and tracking.

If the leads are being accepted but aren't converting, there is a problem with both departments not adequately meeting the needs of leads. The key is to interpret the data and act accordingly.

Stagnation Kills A Business

Too often, a company hurts itself by refusing to change. The worst thing any company can say is "this is the way things have always been." Lead marketing depends on innovation.

Never assume that your way is the best. New methods and technologies are changing industries on a daily basis. If you aren't willing to adapt your methods to meet new needs, you will suffer for it.

Look into programs that determine the best way to get MQLs and give you the data you need to send them to sales at the right time. Don't be afraid to try new methods. Fear and marketing leads don't mix.

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