If you’re like most marketers, the last year has probably driven more marketing qualified leads into your funnel than sales qualified leads. With traditional sales qualified lead opportunities largely out of commission due to the pandemic, marketers have found their pipelines unexpectedly filled with marketing qualified leads—and those can be a bit trickier to turn into actual new business. Don’t fret! In this post, we’ll show you a few easy ways to move those marketing qualified leads through the sales funnel.
Marketing Qualified vs. Sales Qualified
First, let’s talk definitions:
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): We define this as someone who has expressed passive interest in your brand. You probably have their email address, and you probably got it from them downloading your content, attending a webinar, from sponsoring a virtual event, etc. They have given up their email address, but they haven’t requested to speak with someone about what you sell or explored your product/service offerings.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): A sales qualified lead is someone who has not only given up their contact information but has also expressed interest in having a conversation about buying what you sell. This could be through a form submission (e.g., “contact us”), a demo request, a phone call, or if you’re at an in-person event, a clear request to have someone “follow up with more information.”
Triggering Based on Buyer Intent
The trick for you, the marketer, is figuring out when an MQL is moving into the buyer intent phase. There are many ways you can do this, with some being easier than others. Here are a few to get you started:
Contact Score: Working together with your sales team, you can leverage your marketing automation platform’s contact scoring methodology to determine what actions a person might take (and how many of those actions they might take) before they should have an outreach from the sales team. Contact scores are unique to your business model, so check out our guidance here to determine the best one for you.
Website Page Visits: There are likely some pages on your website that signal an MQL is doing buyer research. Those could be pricing pages, features pages, contact us pages, and others like those. You can use pages like these to determine a lead is moving toward SQL status.
Content Downloads: As you create content, consider where it fits on the customer journey. Some pieces might signal buyer intent—say, a pricing calculator, a quote tool, or a migration guide. If that’s the case, consider how follow up on content like that will be different from content that isn’t directly related to the buying cycle.
Creating Campaigns Triggered on Buyer Intent
Did you know you can leverage your marketing automation platform to automate outreach? If you don’t want to ask your sales team to follow up on MQLs that seem ready (but might not be), consider automating the email on behalf of a member of your sales team. Don’t forget to use your CRM data (like existing customers and leads you’re actively working) as filters in the campaign!
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