When it comes to generating new business for your company, having a large lead list or prospect database is crucial. But how you market to those prospects through an outreach strategy is what will bring that new blood into your pipeline. By conjoining your marketing and sales efforts, you are more likely to have a specific strategy and bring the two teams together as one. In fact, companies who have sales and marketing alignment tend to be more successful. According to HubSpot, "1 in 4 companies say their sales and marketing teams are either 'misaligned' or 'rarely aligned.'" However, HubSpot also states that "'Tightly aligned' companies achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth and misalignment between sales and marketing costs B2B companies 10% or more of revenue loss annually."
If you are one of the companies that lacks synergy between those two departments, wants to avoid in-cohesiveness, or simply take your "smarketing" to the next level, implementing a strategy for marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL) will get your teams talking and working together to fill that pipeline.
MQL stands for marketing qualified lead. To become a marketing qualified lead, the prospect has demonstrated some level of interest or engagement that tells marketing this is genuinely a good lead and these leads are more likely to become a customer compared to other leads in your database. They are deemed an MQL based on their interaction with your materials and lead intelligence you gather about the prospect and their company. Materials may include web page visits, content offer downloads and engagement with the business online. While lead intelligence is all about demographics, behaviors and psychographics. Based on the interactions taken and lead intelligence gathered by your team or marketing platform, you can assign point values for each qualification. When a lead interacts with enough information or hits enough of the needed data points, the prospect hits a lead scoring threshold. When they reach that threshold, it is critical to send them to your sales team to follow-up because they are now classified as a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or warm lead.
To learn more about lead scoring, click here.
When the marketing team passes that MQL to the sales team to follow-up, it does not mean they are ready to sign on the dotted line immediately. These leads take work to get a hold of, like any other prospect, but they have already show interest in your materials. When receiving a marketing qualified lead, the best practice is to make that initial outreach within the first 24 hours after they hit that lead score threshold. After the initial contact from the marketing lead score, the sales team continues the interaction and vets the prospect for interest and capability to purchase. The lead becomes a sales qualified lead or SQL once the contact is “qualified” as a viable prospect with problems that fit the solution offered by the seller. After connecting with the MQL and going through a discovery call, initial presentation or demo and that prospect deems they are interested, it becomes a sales qualified lead. The sales team will then continue to take them through their sales cycle to try to close that deal!
Ideally, MQL's should convert smoothly into high quality SQL's, but that is not always the case. These leads still take work. If your marketing and sales teams work together to nurture the prospect database, send the proper messaging and establish a lead scoring system, it will help create brand awareness, drive more traffic and hopefully push prospects into your sales teams hands, so they can do what they do best, close deals. Using a lead nurturing strategy will take work, but once implemented it will pay off.