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Are Your Sales Leads Really Qualified?

When leads are not properly qualified, sales results are not where they should be. Especially in B2B, marketing teams often pass unqualified leads to sales while sales fail to convert all of the qualified leads they receive. Does this sound familiar?

61% of B2B marketers send all of their leads to sales but only 27% of these are qualified. As a result, sales reps ignore an amazing 50% of the marketing leads they are handed over! This article looks into why this is happening and explores possible solutions.

Qualification Cycle: MQL vs. SQL

Not understanding the difference between Marketing- and Sales-Qualified Leads is one of the main reasons marketers receive leads that don’t convert. On the customer journey from a prospect with a pain point, MQLs are already showing interest – they keep looking at your website for example, but they still need reeling in. SQLs, on the other hand, acknowledge you as a potential solution to their problem(s). They already fit a typical buyer profile and merit the attention of your sales reps.
Their readiness to buy is one of the main differences between these two. An MQL most probably isn’t prepared to buy your product today, but an SQL is a lead that has been qualified and may be approached by your sales team right now.
A point to note is that the move from MQL to SQL is time-sensitive, and you as a marketer don’t want to miss the boat.

The Buyer’s Journey

There are usually 3 stages in the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision.
The leads need further qualifying at each of these stages.

The awareness stage is where you have a raw lead. As this lead begins looking at your product, they make the transition to MQL. Finally, when your product/service starts appearing to be a solution to their problems, they move to being a sales qualified lead and ready for approach by your sales team.
So, what is the first in knowing that a lead is sales qualified and you can tell your sales team?

Getting Sales and Marketing Teams to Focus On the Same Targets

To move from MQL to SQL analytically and correctly, Sales and Marketing need to work well together. They need to share common notions of where they’re headed, as well as knowledge about target markets, customer profiles, and behavior in order to really pin down which leads still need nurturing and which are ready for the sales process.
They need:

  • a common specification for an ideal lead
  • a shared understanding of: why some leads still get discarded and how a successful lead is born and where most of them come from.

Consequently, marketing can’t send every inquiry to sales. Besides being lazy, it wastes time and it’s annoying to sales. Worst of all, it fails to optimize the customer journey.

The lead scoring card

As a sales professional, you really need to find out why you got each lead, which requires being able to measure behavior effectively — i.e. lead scoring metrics. You need agreed levels of interest shown by a prospect to become a MQL – emails read, using the card, page revisits etc. Then you need similar agreed metrics that describe a SQL – setting up a discovery call with the sales personnel, signing up for free trials or some such similar activity. You can then use your marketing automation software to generate a lead scoring system, assigning values to those actions.

Lead qualification can save you time and resources. Talk to us if you need advice.

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