Ramping up your marketing efforts means you should definitely know the meaning of MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads). You should be clear and upfront in the answer. Otherwise, it can cause lots of confusion and missed leads and can make you invest in the wrong efforts.
Marketing Qualified Leads are promising leads who are interested in and considering your products but not yet ready to make buying decisions yet and are not ready to be directly contacted by the sales team. A Marketing Qualified Lead is ready for further interaction as they have completed the initial steps of becoming a customer.
From a very broad standpoint: Marketing Qualified leads have the potential of becoming Sales Qualified, who ultimately become clients.
According to an analysis of Hubspot, on average, organizations generate 1,877 leads per month. And among them, 4 out of every 5 leads are marketing-qualified leads. This data clearly denotes how common it is for a business to have more MQL in its dataset of prospective leads. Now, what to do with such huge numbers of MQL? How to take them through the sales funnel? Are they ready for sale? These would be some of the revolving questions about Marketing Qualified Leads. Stay tuned with this article to get answered for all your questions.
What Is MQL?
An MQL should definitely be a “Lead” that fits your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). The leads can be generated from inbound and outbound efforts if the leads are from the inbound efforts, the leads do not have to fit the ICP. If the leads are from outbound efforts, it is a prerequisite for the leads to fit the ICP very precisely; only then a lead can be converted into a Marketing Qualified Lead. Let’s see what the inbound and outbound efforts are.
Some of the inbound efforts from which the leads originate:
- Contact Form
- Demo Request
- Resource Download
- ROI Calculator Submission
Some of the outbound efforts from which the leads originate:
- Cold Email
- LinkedIn Outreach
How To Identify an MQL?
Marketing teams work to identify marketing-qualified lead. They start by assessing the people who have engaged with the marketing assets and campaigns they held and also according to the examination done on the customer behavior and market data surrounding it.
This process is easier when there is a specific list of criteria defined determined by the journeys of past buyers, and also the total addressable market. The list of criteria includes:
- Type of the business or organisation
- Title of the job
- Size of the company
How To Qualify Leads in Marketing?
Marketers use lead qualification as a system to determine how likely a lead has the potential to become a customer. This marketing strategy helps increase the efficiency of sales and marketing, lead conversions, and completing deals.
These are the criteria for the leads to be qualified:
- Need – Does the prospect have pain points your product can solve?
- Budget – Can the prospect afford your product?
- Authority – Is the prospect the decision-maker?
You can filter out the prospects that do not fit these at the start of the qualifying process. It makes the sales process faster.
What Are the Differences between MQL and SQL?
|Marketing Qualified Leads – MQL||Sales Qualified Lead – SQL|
|Not ready to buy a product or service||Ready to buy a product or service|
|Interested in top-of-funnel content||Interested in booking demo and bottom-of-funnel content|
|Interested but not yet ready to make decisions.||Ready to make decisions|
|A potential customer at the start of the engagement stage.||A prospective customer who is past the engagement stage|
What Is the Importance of MQL to SQL?
It can be tricky knowing when to pass the baton to sales. The prospect has the risk of recoiling if sent to sales too soon, and might lose interest if sent too late. Although it is true that it is marketing’s responsibility to qualify leads, Marketing Qualified Lead can not succeed without the proper alignment of the sales and marketing teams.
For example, with the collaboration of the marketing and sales teams, these two simple classifications of MQL can be created:
1. Hot MQLs – The MQLs that have shown active interest by requesting information from you about a product or service, indicating that they might be ready for purchase. The leads are required to provide their contact information, and agree to the privacy and terms at this stage. Hot MQLs not only know what they need, but also when they need it.
2. Warm MQLs – Warm MQls on the other hand is not ready to purchase a product or service, or hand over their information. They have read about an ungated product in a blog or website or watched a video.
MQL to SQL Conversion
Analyzing the leads’ quality and studying their characteristics will positively impact the conversion rate. Here are some factors with which you can move a Marketing Qualified Lead to a Sales Qualified Lead:
The process of moving a potential lead from an MQL to an SQL starts with a process of lead scoring, but it varies depending on the company. Lead scoring is the process of assigning points to leads generated in the business.
The lead scoring process assigns scores to leads can be based on multiple aspects, which include the professional information submitted to you, and engagement with your brand and website through the internet. Through this process marketing and sales team can prioritize their leads and make an appropriate response to them. It also helps the leads to sales conversion increase.
Lead scoring saves a lot of time for the sales team, so they can converse with the interested leads who are genuinely interested in their product or service.
Together the marketing and sales teams decide which prospects to move to the sales funnel process based on their behavior. In other words, determining and weighing the actions of what you think is an ideal lead and moving them to sales.
For example, the actions of the lead that shows the lead’s interest are:
- Setting meeting appointments
- Attending demos
- Replying to an email
Setting meeting appointments, rather than replying to an email can be given higher value points. A marketing team can work faster to move a lead from MQL to SQL with this defined set of actions.
With the behavior of the lead, like engagement with your website, reading and replying to your emails, or downloading your content, you can decide to move forward. You can determine how much the lead engages, and their engagement type, to decide if the prospect can be ready to move from MQL to SQL. The negative type of engagement and action is also included, as they affect your lead score.
In order for an MQL lead to become an SQL, there are some of the most critical factors that are necessary:
- Need for your product or service
- Budget to buy your product or service
- Infrastructure to use your product or service
- Pain points of the customer to be solved by your product or service
For this, you can use the BANT system, which expands to Budget, Authority, Needs and Timeline to determine whether the customer is a good fit to purchase your product.
You should be aware of the lead’s path to become an SQL. Then talk to them to learn more about their story, and how your product can be useful for them.
Get Qualified Leads with Appointments.co
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Why should you choose Appointments?
- You only get appointments with decision-makers.
- You only pay for qualified appointments.
- Short-term contracts with long-term engagements.
Visit Appointments.co to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is MQL vs. SQL?
An MQL is a marketing qualified lead that shows interest in your product or service but is not ready for direct contact from sales. An SQL is a sales-qualified lead that shows interest in purchasing your product or service, and is ready to be followed up and engaged by a salesperson.
2. How to calculate the conversion rate?
Conversion Rate = Sales Qualified Leads divided by Marketing Qualified Leads
3. What are examples of MQLs?
An MQL engages with your brand with the intention of purchasing your product by showing interest, like submitting personal information,
Hope this article helped you to have clear insight into Marketing Qualified Leads. Keep in mind that not every MQL is a person interested in your products, a person who is just browsing can really be just browsing with no intention of purchasing a product. For that reason, you should be able to identify and determine whether or not an MQL is good to move to SQL.
Carefully consider all the factors that a prospect needs to become a generic lead. You should first focus on the quality of the lead, and move forward with the promising, high-quality leads, rather than wasting time on non-convertible leads. The most important thing is that you should be able to differentiate between just a lead, and a marketing qualified lead as it is an important factor for your business.