We’ve all been there – feeblessly struggling to squeeze out the last dab of toothpaste. If you’re in marketing or sales, this struggle may seem too familiar; it’s somewhat akin to attempting to squeeze leads down the sales funnel and convert them from MQLs (“Marketing Qualified Leads”) to SQLs (“Sales Qualified Leads”). There’s an art to channeling MQLs through the sales funnel. If you’re struggling, try these remedies:
1. “A”gree on definitions:
Organizations differ in how they define MQLs. When the definition of what constitutes an MQL is vague, there’s no way to differentiate a random lead that simply “raises a hand” from one who has engaged in a meaningful way with your organization. Sales and marketing must decide upon a shared definition of what qualifies an MQL (including what types of interactions they need to display) to ensure they are aligned – working from the same playbook. The two teams must work together to determine underlying metrics (i.e., how much weight to assign to firmographic and demographic attributes versus behavioral ones). Naim Hossain, BrightFunnel CEO offers a good rule of thumb to stress test whether your MQL definition is working for you: the MQL:SQL conversion ratio should be on the order of 4:1.
2. “B”uild processes:
It’s critical that processes be established to track the evolution of a MQL. Does your sales organization have its hand on the pulse of sales-ready leads? As soon as a MQL is identified, it should be recorded in your CRM system. Node, for example, will enrich and analyze all your leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities so they fit within whatever workflow you are utilizing today. This tagging process ensures MQLs are seamlessly and promptly handed off to sales. It ensures that MQLs don’t face a fate similar to that of toothpaste when the cap has been left off – that is, the contents harden and the once fresh MQL quickly becomes stale and a lost opportunity. When your lead qualification processes are amiss, there’s a good chance your sales funnel is clogged with grunge.
3. “C”onstantly review:
Regrettably, there’s a long-standing tendency for sales and marketing teams to work in silos. Not only are inter-departmental support and communication compromised, so too is MQL to SQL conversion. Regularly scheduled meetings foster that much-needed environment of cohesiveness and functionality. As products and campaigns change, sales and marketing teams must constantly revisit their shared MQL definition and assignment criteria. A best-in-class practice involves establishing monthly or quarterly meetings to review a cohort of MQL-identified leads and debate whether or not the MQLs should have been categorized as such.