Sales and Marketing are two pieces of the over-arching revenue powerhouse within all organizations. They dictate the pace of revenue generation and if one department is doing poorly, it’s clear the other will fall next. So, that being said, how can marketing make sure sales get’s the leads they want to work? How many times have you been told, “the leads aren’t qualified enough” or, “none of the leads are converting”? There are so many ways a buyer can research information that bottom of funnel MQLs often get mistaken for true SQLs. So, what can you do? Here’s how you can truly track sales qualified leads, and when you should give them to your sales department.
What is a Sales Qualified Lead?
A sales qualified lead, or SQL, is a lead that has moved through the marketing funnel, and taken the step to request more information about your company’s products or services. Ideally, this lead will match the target buyer/decision maker for the account, and will fit within your ideal customer profile. All of that seems pretty straight forward, but what if I told you there was more to it than that? Truly, a sales qualified lead is a lead that is ready to talk to sales person AND (and this is a big and) showing buying signals. So many times, leads are handed over to the sales team, and they’re just not in a position to buy, and could have been re-marketed to with a mid-bottom of funnel nurture track. When preparing to pass leads to your sales team, make sure you’ve successfully tracked their buying signals and intent to buy. How do you do that? Well…
Tracking Buying Signals
As a marketer, half your job is trying to figure out how to successfully communicate with a prospect. That’s why you probably have tons of different nurture tracks based on lead scoring and where they fall in the funnel. One thing you should get used to utilizing if you want to generate true SQLs is a buyer intent tracking software. Running your bottom of funnel leads through a quick intent check, will show you what accounts are surging and what ones aren’t. The surging ones should be passed over to sales as an SQL. The non-surging ones should be placed into a bottom of funnel lead nurture. I know what you’re probably thinking “they filled out a contact us form though”. There’s nothing wrong with handing over bottom of funnel MQLs to the sales team to try and land a meeting, but know that they’re more than likely not true SQLs.
My Sales Team Only Wants High Quality SQLs
This is a common thought process to the “all the leads are bad” issue. One that I’m sure we’ve all been a part of at some point. This is where sitting down and talking about realistic expectations with your sales department comes in clutch. As a marketer, you’ll need to explain to the sales team that there are different levels of MQLs and SQLs. Both are valid to work, and it’s recommended that sales team utilize a mixture of the two. Creating a buying signal/ intent report can come in handy for these conversations. Let the sales leaders pick and choose what leads they want from each bucket, don’t force it on them. Transparency and honesty from both ends of the sales/marketing organization is absolutely key in managing the MQL-to-SQL challenge.
When it’s all said and done, marketing and sales HAVE to work together in unison on lead generation tactics. Making sure your teams are in sync with each other will help with managing expectations, lead flow, and over-all work output. The last thing you want is a stressed-out, over-encumbered revenue machine.