The sales and marketing landscapes are evolving, especially with regard to lead and demand generation. Surprisingly, a successful lead generation marketing campaign may not equate to strong sales conversion rates. Why? Because not all leads are created equal – while some are simply digital window shoppers, there are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) which should be your focus.

For many businesses in the B2B technology space, identifying and targeting new leads is critical to reaching sales goals and ensuring the company’s sustainability. Today, much of the pressure to reach these vital sales goals falls to the marketing team. This has resulted in increased scrutiny of marketing strategies and chosen marketing channels. In order to maximize the investment in your chosen strategy, it’s important to know the quality of the leads you are earmarking as MQL.

 MQL Best Practices

In order for sales and marketing to be truly effective, both teams need to align their strategies and share the processes of their day-to-day operations. MQLs are extremely valuable to a business and a marketing to sales pipeline needs to run and be tracked so you now which marketing techniques and strategies are resulting in revenue. Below are some best practices which can be employed:

1. Define Your MQL

Before anything, work with sales to define your ideal customer and target market so that marketers are equipped to identify leads that sales will be more likely to convert. 40% of sales reps say that prospecting is the most challenging part of their job. To address this, providing your team with an identifiable profile of preferred customer ensures marketing will be able to hand over likely customers. In turn, sales representatives are confident the MQLs provided by the marketing team are more likely to result in conversions. Knowing who MQLs are will enhance the overall workload and performance contributing to higher ROIs for your firm.

2. Track the Workflow and Quality of your MQLs

Insights on your MQL performance can provide you with optimization opportunities to increase conversion rates and decrease the number of leads that go cold. An established process between sales and marketing teams can minimize confusion, miscommunication, and gaps. A tailored and standardized strategy that underscores prompt engagement of MQLs will allow your teams to properly nurture potential customers leading to better sales conversions.

3. Establish a Combined Marketers and Sales Team for Enhanced Collaboration

These processes work best if marketing and sales teams are working together. Through better persona development and targeting, marketers can execute appropriate campaigns and turnover vetted MQLs which in turn improves the performance of sales representatives. Establishing a mechanism for greater collaboration and trust between sales and marketing teams will give your organization an advantage over the competition and accelerate business growth.

4. Lead Score Process Audit

Lead scoring is a method employed to rank prospects or leads according to a scale indicating their potential value to the business. Respective scores rate the leads interest, interaction, and professional profile which will then help your sales and marketing teams determine if they are ready to progress to a sales discussion.

The process and basis of evaluation is as critical as the results themselves.  Traditionally, sales and marketing teams have relied on BANT – a sales qualification framework – used to identify and target prospective clients based on Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline. While BANT can be used as a guide, it’s time to move beyond the confines of BANT to focus on the needs of your leads based on their engagements with your brand.

By focusing on the presence of BANT’s four elements, you may be excluding intent data as well as rushing your MQLs to a sales discussion that needs additional information. In the end, BANT could be narrowing your field of opportunity and missing out on leads that may have been better for your firm.

Customers want service providers that are prepared, understand them and provide personalized services that consider their unique requirements. According to a recent report, buyers shared that the three most important elements of a positive sales experience are a sales representative who 1) listens to their needs, 2) isn’t pushy, and 3) provides relevant information.

In order to develop a customer relationship, it’s imperative that executives impress the need for sales and marketers to nurture clients and genuinely listen to their challenges and requirements. Leads are dynamic and their needs change over time. Today’s marketplace is no longer about pitching your product, rather it’s about providing client services and helping consumers identify and address their problems with the services you are offering.

Looking to integrate more intent data into your lead and demand generation strategies?

Find out what best-practices you need to establish to launch an effective data-driven marketing strategy.