In marketing and sales, we’re always on the lookout for leads. However, not all leads are created equal. Leads that have the biggest impact on your bottom line are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). But what exactly are they and what makes them so special?
In this article, we’ll give you the low-down on what MQLs are and where you can find them.
What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?
Simply put, a marketing qualified lead is a prospect that the marketing department has judged likely to convert into a customer, based on analytics and lead intelligence.
Think of it this way, if you’re single, and you have several suitors knocking on your front door, MQL leads are the ones that are most likely to become your significant other based on your own objectives, standards, and qualifications honed to a fine edge after years and years of dating and relationships.
Every business has their own criteria for determining the quality of a lead. Sometimes it’s because they downloaded a particular eBook or because they made an inquiry online or over the phone. Whatever the case, it’s usually up to the marketing department to judge based on a relevant scoring system.
What Makes MQLs So Important?
MQLs are highly valuable because they focus more on quality than quantity. For instance, it’s better to have a small group of highly qualified MQLs with high purchasing power rather than hundreds of mildly interested inquiries in your inbox from a webinar.
A more specific example is in C-suite marketing. It’s better to have a small number of C-suite executive leads than hundreds of non-C-suite leads because the former have a higher likelihood of being decision makers. Again, quality trumps quantity because the non-C-suite leads are likely a harder sell even though you have a lot of them.
We’re not the only ones saying quality trumps all. 70% of marketers cite the need for higher quality leads in lead generation initiatives. Higher conversion rates mean more efficient sales and marketing processes, so you should be doing all you can to improve not only your overall numbers but also the number of quality leads in your marketing funnel.
The Benefits of Implementing MQLs
Don’t waste time and effort
Identifying your MQLs ensures that the work marketing teams have done doesn’t go to waste. When MQLs are handed over to sales, marketing teams can rest assured, in the knowledge that the sales team is pursuing the hottest possible leads generated from hard data.
At the same time, sales teams can be assured that they are not simply looking for needles in a haystack. With the use of MQLs, outreach by the sales teams is far more targeted and more likely to result in a sale.
Improved sales workload
Sales representatives don’t want to waste their time and energy on prospects that lead nowhere. More importantly, businesses don’t want to waste their resources on pursuing bad leads.
Knowing who MQLs are helps businesses improve their teams’ workloads to ensure that they’re only using resources on the prospects that can generate the highest ROI.
Better alignment for sales and marketing teams
MQLs are an important factor in creating a Service-Level Agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales teams. When there is a formal criterion for defining which leads get passed to the sales team, there is less space for confusion and misunderstanding.
Better alignment facilitates a feedback loop between marketing and sales teams. This means a lower rejection rate for sales reps, as the lead scoring system focuses on targeting “easier” leads. When the hand-off process between teams is smoother, resources are spent more efficiently.
Improved content marketing
A MarketingSherpa survey found that 79 percent of marketing leads never make it to actual sales. This is a big challenge for businesses and another area where MQL identification can help.
MQLs benefit content marketers because it lets them know who exactly they need to target with their content, which improves the ROI of lead nurturing initiatives.
MQLs help qualify your priorities
Knowing which leads can generate the biggest opportunities helps businesses fine-tune their marketing and sales priorities. Do you want to invest more resources trying to convert leads from hundreds of inquiries or would you rather nurture quality leads from a small group of high-potential buyers?
How to Define MQLs
MQLs are valuable because of their higher ROI. Which brings us to the next topic, how do you define who your MQLs are? This is where lead scoring comes in.
Lead scoring is the process of ranking your prospective customers based on particular criteria that you create considering your business objectives, sales goals, and current customers’ behavioral patterns.
Every company’s lead scoring criteria is unique but typical ways to develop a system include analyzing your current and prospective customers’ business/industry information, interests they’ve shown, and their activity levels regarding your branded content. Through monitoring and evaluating these criteria, businesses can quickly identify the perceived value of each account.
Almost all businesses can benefit from the identification and pursuit of marketing qualified leads. In a nutshell, it ensures that sales representatives are not just handed random numbers to call, but they are pursuing high-quality leads.
The result is an improvement in productivity and more sales conversions for the company. It also ensures that the marketing teams are executing campaigns geared towards the leads that have the highest potential of turning into sales.