December 1, 2014
By Carly Ries
No pressure, but when it comes to inbound marketing, the success of your sales team is dependent on your ability to sort out qualified leads from the rest of the pack. Does that make you nervous? It shouldn’t as there are many tactics you can use to sort through these leads.
Before reviewing these tactics, it’s important to understand what a qualified lead is. A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead perceived more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence and activity before converting.
The tips below can help you sort through your leads and pull out the ones with the most potential to buy.
The thought process of “the more leads I send to the sales team, the more chances they have to close a deal” isn’t the mindset you should have when going through your leads. In fact, sending mass amounts of leads can often make the sales team unproductive. The problem with marketers just sending as many leads as possible to the sales team, is that often times the leads aren’t ready to buy, or aren’t even familiar with the product. This just wastes the sales team’s time that could have been spent talking to a qualified lead that a marketer sends their way. Why blindly go into a bunch of sales calls when you can talk to significantly less people who all have an interest in what you’re selling and are more likely to buy?
MQLs differ from company to company, so you must ensure that you analyze your data when defining who the MQLs are for your company. Follow these tips:
Look at the activities a lead can complete, such as a consultation request or white paper download, and see which activities have the highest close rate. Closed loop marketing, whether you’re looking at analytical data discussing with the sales team, can help determine which of the activities is most successful.
Once you get a good idea for your close rates across the board, compare them against one another to develop a threshold for your company. Once you determine a threshold level, any lead that meets or exceeds this level will be considered an MQL for your company.
Start tracking the leads that meet the MQL levels. If they are coming in at a sustainable frequency for your company, you should aim to only send those leads to the sales team, rather than the entire lead database.
Lead scoring allows you to attach values to your leads based off professional information and behavior on your site. To decide if lead scoring is right for you, which it isn’t for everybody as it takes time and software requirements, ask yourself the questions below:
How many leads does your marketing team send your sales team? Is it enough?
Does your sales team actually follow up with the leads the marketing team sends them?
Does your team have enough data to implement lead scoring?
If your answer is “yes” to all three questions, you should consider lead scoring, otherwise, it may be a waste of your time, for now.
If lead scoring is right for you, you can develop a points system and assign points values to each criteria that defines an MQL (stick to a 0-100 scale). By establishing which score makes a lead sales-ready, you can compare the points of each activity and characteristic of the lead, and you’ll be able to gauge who is ready to talk to sales, and who isn’t.
In order to truly separate the MQLs from those who aren’t, it is critical that the sales and marketing team are on the same page from the beginning and are in agreement with the criteria set for the MQLs. Open communication is necessaryl between the teams so that marketing knows what’s working and what isn’t to help the sales team moving forward.
Have you started implementing the strategies above? What other tactics have worked for your company? Please leave your comments below.
About the author
Carly Ries was formerly a Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. With over 7 years of marketing and account management experience, Carly helps clients develop and implement inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion, and revenue. Read more articles by Carly Ries.