Optimizing the sales funnel and closing more deals indicates that the leads are appropriately nurtured in every aspect.
But, with the increasing strategies and opportunities, managing a huge number of leads is difficult. The first big step is to separate and differentiate between leads, such as marketing-qualified leads and sales-qualified leads.
In this guide, you will learn everything from identifying sales MQL and SQL to transitioning the leads from MQL to SQL, including:
- What Is an MQL?
- Why Is MQL Important?
- How To Identify an Sales MQL – 5 Effective Steps
- What Is the Difference Between MQL and SQL?
- How To Transition a Sales MQL to SQL
What Is an MQL?
Let us start with the definition of a sales lead – A lead in sales and marketing refers to a person interested in your product or service, and can potentially become a customer in the future.
An MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead is a lead who has shown significant interest in your product or the solution your brand can offer to their problems. Sales MQLs are potential customers that have been identified and reviewed by the marketing team to pass to sales team if the criteria are satisfied by the potential leads.
Why Is MQL Important?
The sales MQL is an important aspect of a sales funnel and in the journey of the buyer. If done right, the MQL can be a valuable resource for your business by:
- Proving the value of the investments in marketing.
- Proving that content marketers, SEO experts, and social experts are more than just another expense that HR includes in their budget sheet.
- Helping both marketing and sales representatives to focus more on the profitable and high chance of convertible leads.
- Eliminating the low quality and false leads.
- Providing a system of lead-generating efforts and demand optimization.
This ultimately leads to an increase in the rate of conversion counts, sales numbers, and retaining existing customers.
How To Identify an Sales MQL – 5 Effective Steps
Examining the Journey of the buyers and the behavior of the existing customers is important in the process of identifying marketing qualified leads. It is important for a business to define its own business needs as not all marketing qualified leads, even within the same industry.
These are the 5 essential steps to identify an Sales MQL:
1. Investigation of Demographic Data
The demographic data of leads can include anything, like the business or organization, the size of the firm or organization, location, job title, or anything else that is related to the buying capacity of the potential leads.
The buyer’s habits and how a lead interacts with your marketing efforts are also some great indicators to identify an MQL.
Analyze the lead behavior in comparison to your previous leads that have successfully converted into a customer.
2. Examination of Historical Behaviors
Analyze and find a pattern of what a lead that has converted to a customer and a lead that has not converted to a customer do when they are ready to make a purchase. Look at the buyer’s journey to see how they reached out with interest and confirmed the purchase.
3. Getting Customer Feedback
Not only analyzing what made the conversion of the sales MQL into a prospective customer, but also getting feedback from prospects that backed away from making a purchase is important as it can not only help you identify the potential marketing qualified leads, but immensely help you grow your business.
See if the feedback of the potential lead that backed away points out anything that you can change. Both the experimental data and sentimental data are important.
4. Looking for Trends
Look for the similarities your successful leads had in common. Identify which of your ads, offers, pages, or marketing campaigns have converted the highest marketing qualified leads. This study can show if you are on the right path and helps you focus on the exact effective strategies and ideas that work well to increase sales.
5. Identification of Competitive Edge
Analyze thoroughly the reason that makes the leads choose you over competitors. Understand where you stand in the competitive landscape, and be candid about the place you are in, including marketing tactics and presence.
What Is the Difference Between MQL and SQL?
To understand a marketing qualified lead (MQL) in detail, you must also know about the SQL – Sales Qualified Lead. Knowing the difference between MQL and SQL definitions can make a huge difference in your marketing and sales strategy.
|Marketing Qualified Lead||Sales Qualified Lead|
|Have not yet reached the buying stage.||Reached the buying stage.|
|Downloads content from the top-of-funnel.||Downloads content from the bottom-of-funnel and is willing to attend a demo.|
|Interested but have yet to reach the decision-making stage.||Have reached the decision-making stage.|
How To Transition a Sales MQL to SQL
A common mistake when transitioning from sales MQL to SQL is sending the leads to the next stage too soon. Sometimes the marketing team can take the number of interactions as an indicator that the lead is ready to purchase. But, if most of the engagements are touchpoints that answer the early stage questions in the buyer’s journey, the lead is not ready to buy the product yet.
A lead that is a first-time visitor to your landing pages may download the purchase intent, which cannot be considered for the sales team. And at the same time, if the question about pricing is the first priority to a lead, they are not for sales.
Proper follow-up from the marketing and sales teams is necessary for repeat visitors, like contact requests, before sending them as sales qualified leads (SQL). The total lead behavior of the lead should be considered when associated with your brand before handing the leads to the sales reps.
The lead should properly reach the ideal lead score, then the new SQL is delivered to the sales by the CRM – Customer Relationship Management (automation), through email notification or task. Even with the automatic delivery process, both marketing and sales teams should discuss the lead score threshold and adjustments in the handoff process.
The marketing team should qualify leads after giving the ideal time for the other leads to be nurtured and managed. Offering helpful content and guiding them throughout the marketing funnel is the most practical and effective approach to operate and hit as many leads as possible with marketing teamwork.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does MQL mean in sales?
An MQL is a lead that has shown interest in what solution your product or service has to offer to their problems. In other words, the marketing qualified leads have more of a chance to become your customers.
2. What are MQL and SQL in sales?
An MQL is someone who is interested in your product or solution for their pain points, and an SQL is someone who is interested and also intends to buy your product or service.
3. What is SQL in sales?
A sales qualified lead is a prospective customer that has moved through the sales pipeline from marketing qualified to leads accepted in sales and is worked on by sales teams in converting them to active customers.
Handle the Sales MQL with the Right Measures
Identifying and handling the sales MQLs with proper nurturance and management is important. A lead is identified as an sales MQL based on how much weight a lead is holding. Lead scoring, lead intelligence, lead types, and lead’s interest are some of the most critical factors in determining if the leads are coming under the qualification criteria, and successfully guiding them to turn from potential customers to paying customers.
The lead should have proper follow-up and personal attention from the marketing and sales teams in the buyer journeys and the scoring system is essential in sales MQL and SQL marketing before a potential customer is considered sales-ready in the buying cycle.
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