There runs a blame game between the marketing and sales team when it comes to the question of Qualified Leads. While the sales team believes the marketing team merely shared contacts (read: unqualified leads), the marketing team blames the sales team for failing to convert the potential leads they sent along.
Quite familiar it sounds, Right?
As per Marketing Sherpa’s findings, a significant 61% of B2B marketers forward all their leads to the sales team, despite the fact that only 27% of these leads meet the qualification criteria. Additionally, a study conducted by the TAS Group indicates that sales representatives disregard approximately 50% of the marketing leads.
You must be wondering why the percentage is so high?
Due to a lack of clarity regarding the criteria for a qualified lead, various teams have formulated their own definitions. This divergence not only leads to confusion but also results in frustration and financial setbacks.
In this blog, we will talk about your sales-ready leads and how they fit into the buyer’s journey, how to rate the leads, and more.
One of the primary reasons marketers waste time on unqualified leads who don’t want to be sold is a lack of knowledge of the distinction.
MQLs exhibit consistent interest in your website content (but not necessarily in your products or services) and are likely to become customers. Simply put, they have become your potential client pool’s hand-raisers. Remember, MQLs aren’t ready to buy yet, but they will respond to deliberate nurturing.
SQLs, on the other hand, are further along in the buying journey and are ready to make a deal. They correspond to your buyer persona profiles and are likely to speak with a sales representative.
One of the key distinctions between these two is their willingness to buy. An MQL is unlikely to be ready to buy your product right away, whereas a SQL is a qualified lead that may be approached by your sales team right away.
Pro Tip: Transitioning from MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) to SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) is a time-critical process, and as a marketer, it’s crucial not to overlook this timeframe. Gaining a comprehensive grasp of the buyer’s journey and the qualification cycle enables you to assess the stage at which leads currently reside and subsequently relay them to the sales team.
There’s three stages in the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. And a SQL passes through each of these stages before being a SQL.
It starts with the awareness stage. If you are dealing with a lead at this level, it means your lead begins to consider your product. They have progressed to MQLs. Finally, when leads begin to consider your product/service as a solution to their pain areas, they become a sales qualified lead and are ready to be approached by your sales team.
So, what is your first step in determining when to advise your salesperson if a lead is sales qualified?
According to a Marketo Research, when Sales and Marketing are synced they yield better results in terms of closing deals.
For a comprehensive analysis of the MQL to SQL conversion, it’s crucial to have a robust connection of sales and marketing teams. Sharing insights regarding target markets, customer profiles, and behavioral patterns enables a more accurate identification of leads that require further nurturing and those poised for advancement through the sales pipeline.
This collaborative effort seeks answers to key questions:
1. What are the characteristics of an ideal lead?
2. Why do certain leads become disqualified during the final stages?
3. Which content assets, and in what quantity, have successful leads engaged with?
4. Which referral sources exhibit the highest closing rates?
These inquiries naturally lead us to the next question: How can this collective knowledge be effectively leveraged to enhance conversion rates, thereby optimizing resource utilization?
Let’s get one thing clear. Not every lead is ready for sale. Leads, on the other hand, can be developed.
If your marketing staff begins forwarding every query to the sales team, you will just waste your sales team’s time, resulting in a less-than-satisfactory customer experience. Sometimes those leads are simply kids who need to read your ebook for an assignment or to prepare for an exam. Sometimes they are job searchers who are hurriedly gathering as much information as possible.
As a result, it is critical to carefully examine each lead’s intent. And, in order to discern this intent, you must have an effective behavioral yardstick—specific lead score measures.
As previously said, MQLs are the hand-raisers among the leads. They are more engaged, but not yet ready to buy or speak with a salesperson. As a result, you should exercise caution when selecting the basis, and only high-interest behaviours should trigger a change from lead to MQLs. For example, returning to the product/services specification page, the pricing page, reading the majority of your emails, leaving goods in the cart, and so on.
While the majority of your time will be spent developing accurate metrics for MQLs, the shift from MQL to SQL will be easier to recognise. It may look like signing up for free trials or scheduling a discovery call with sales representatives, or anything similar.
To eliminate all “guesswork” from the cycle, you must sit down with both sides and sketch the lead score measures. You may use your marketing automation software to create a lead scoring system that assigns a monetary value to each activity. These actions could include website visits, downloads, email activity, or social media engagements.
When a lead meets a predetermined threshold, it should be automatically allocated to the sales team.
Despite the fact that settling on a threshold may seem apparent, 46% of B2B marketers have NOT established a lead score threshold that will automatically alert or route leads to sales. Isn’t it strange?
While your lead scoring system will primarily consist of adding up scores, including negative scoring for specific activities (as seen in the figure above) will greatly assist you. For instance, if a qualified lead stops interacting with your product after signing up for a trial and does not react to any emails.
Here are some factors to consider while qualifying leads at each level:
Organizational level: At the organizational level, you are asking essential questions such as if the lead fits within the buyer profiles you have built.****
Opportunity level: This is critical for properly qualifying leads.
You’re probably wondering at this point:
Stakeholder level: At this level, you raise questions about BANT (budget, authority, need, and time).
You should be able to notify your salesperson if a lead is sales qualified by now.
Everyone is pleased when leads are correctly and strategically qualified. Customers believe you understand them, marketing teams believe their qualified leads were contacted effectively, and sales teams are pleased with lead quality since they closed the deal.
Finally, it prevents you from selling to folks who do not want to buy.
When should you inform your salesperson that the lead has sales qualification? Which of the following is one of the most essential lead metrics? Let’s discuss it in the comments area.