Acquiring 300 leads every month won’t make a big difference if none of them ends up buying from you. Going after every lead can be very costly.
Insight: Getting marketing qualified leads (MQL) is a vital part of the sales process. But until that handoff occurs and they become sales qualified leads (SQL), you can’t expect them to convert and add to your bottom line.
Data: Only half of the leads you have at any given time are ready to buy, even if they are qualified. 80% of leads never translate into sales. Only 25% of your leads are actually legitimate enough to advance into your sales funnel.
What’s the step change: Find out how to manage the handing off of leads from marketing to sales.
Marketing-Qualified, Sales-Accepted, and Sales-Qualified Leads: Knowing the Difference
Your leads that aren’t created equal fall into three major categories: MQL, SAL, and SQL.
- MQL. These are the leads that have shown potential interest in your products but have not been otherwise qualified.
- SAL. These leads are the profiles and accounts that the sales department actively tries to convert.
- SQL. The sales department has now qualified the lead, and the account is currently in the buying cycle.
Going over the basics can be a big part of improving the quality of your leads. If your conversion rates are low, first be sure that you are properly identifying where your accounts are in the marketing or sales cycle.
Now let’s move into how to hand these leads off from marketing to sales and get those conversions up.
Turning MQLs to SQLs Fast: How to Manage the Lead Handoff
Moving leads from marketing to sales the right way improves conversions and the marketing ROI. You’ll add more to the bottom line and spend less of your budget doing it.
Prospects and Suspects
Moving an MQL into the sales department first means that you separate them into Prospects (people who may convert after your pitch) and Suspects (people who will not buy regardless of what you do).
Watch your MQLs closely. Prospects will eventually begin a process towards buying that you can monitor with a good CRM. As you collect this data, you can begin to form buyer profiles to streamline the delineation process moving forward.
Buyer profiles also put marketing and sales in closer alignment for a seamless, connected, and contextual customer experience.
Being able to follow through on a marketing funnel is also a vital part of using marketing AI to speed up the sales funnel. A predictive lead scoring model is one of the most effective ways to quantify a machine learning program.
Improving lead quality also means getting away from opinion-based modeling. It is quite astounding that 75% of modern lead scoring models don’t centre themselves around the sales and marketing data.
There’s a huge opportunity for high-value information to give your sales funnel rocket fuel.
The two key conversion points between MQL/SQL and SAL/SQL are very important — one to vet leads precisely according to behaviour, and the other to decide the account types to focus on when lead volume is high.
Running targeted ads qualifies leads as well. With every new iteration of your advertising, you should be able to drop irrelevant keywords and match your messaging more closely to your buyer profiles.
Keep in mind that the number of leads you keep may decrease. That’s good for two reasons:
- If you are running an impressions-based campaign, you will not have to pay as much for qualified leads.
- The quality of your leads go up, so you spend more time on the people who are actually willing to buy.
Targeted ads naturally lead into targeted analysis. You can match buyer profiles to the right keywords and landing pages instead of generally directing your newfound traffic.
Eventually, you can expand this effort into targeted social media accounts, crafted landing pages, and precise remarketing strategies.
All of these expansions happen more quickly when you remove the noise of the Suspects from your results, leaving only highly qualified accounts.
A philosophy of continuous improvement is your ticket to speed up every other tip on this page, so spend time setting up your analytics goals and investing in generating more accurate reports.
Your New Marketing Network
Ultimately, your objective is to build a full ecosystem that reacts to behavioural data and predicts the customer’s next move in real-time. Automation takes care of much of this, and your sales team can follow up for the close if need be.
As you come into your new habits, you will have powerful opportunities to create a purpose for each webpage.
Turning your prospects into SQLs as quickly as possible means that you remove all the dead weight and dead ends from the customer journey.
Mapping out those journeys gives you a feedback loop of information to improve your results with each new iteration of your strategy.
Imagine the level of efficiency you could achieve after removing redundant web pages and low-quality prospects from your marketing and sales funnel. Less time here means more time spent on product development or long term branding efforts.
Lastly, video is a lead-nurturing strategy that is overlooked. Lead nurturing as a whole is overlooked, and it needs to be a vital part of your strategy. Once you have everything in place, keep it in place by exploring the use of video.
Marketing and sales alignment is absolutely essential for improving business performance. When you get these departments working in tandem, those leads you worked so hard to get suddenly become much more valuable. Squeeze all of the juice that you can out of them for better bottom-line results!