What is an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)?
An MQL is any lead within the marketing or sales funnel that has qualified for marketing messages. This likely means that they have interacted with your business in some way that indicates their potential to become a customer. They may not be an SQL (sales-qualified lead) just yet, but are more likely to convert than other leads. They might have provided their contact information or downloaded a piece of content. How you qualify leads is dependent on your marketing.
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Lead qualification is a great way to monitor your buyer’s journey, and keep in touch with your most relevant leads. The more you can understand each lead, the more you can personalize the individual journey. An MQL is a marketing-qualified lead. This means that they have interacted with your business to indicate their interest in your marketing.
There are other ways to qualify leads, including SQLs and SALs. Typically, a lead moves from MQL to SQL (sales-qualified lead). As they move through this journey, they require different types of content and outreach.
Qualifying your leads in this way doesn’t just benefit your contacts. It also ensures that you achieve maximum conversion and efficiency. You need to make sure you spend time on the contacts that really matter.
So, why do you need to find your MQLs? And how do you qualify them?
The Importance of MQLs
MQLs are leads that have interacted with your business in some way. They may have converted on an ad or CTA, come through a landing page, or interacted with your business on social media. Downloadables are also a great way to gather MQLs.
Qualifying your leads in this way ensures that each individual contact receives the communications they need, at the right time, and in the right way. For instance, contacts that haven’t specifically engaged with your business are far less likely to respond to consistent contact from your marketing or sales teams.
However, a contact that has downloaded a guide from your website is far more likely to be open to further communication from you. Or, you might wish to keep in touch with other relevant pieces of content.
Understanding the individual interactions with your leads is the best way to build a connection with them. Needless to say, reaching out with irrelevant communication is more likely to turn leads off.
MQLs are also particularly critical to time management for your marketing teams. Qualifying leads ensures that time is optimized where possible, and resources are spent on communicating with the right people.
How Do You Qualify Leads?
So how do you choose which leads to put in which category? As mentioned, there are a few different types of lead qualification categories. You might wish to narrow these down further for your own individual purposes, but this depends on your business and possibly extends more into audience segmentation. Here are the common qualification categories:
MQL: A marketing-qualified lead is a contact that has interacted with your business to indicate their interest in learning more.
SQL: A sales-qualified lead is a contact that has interacted with your marketing continually over a period of time, and is showing potential interest in a purchase.
SAL: A sales-accepted lead is a little more flexible. These leads are deemed by marketing to be moving along the qualification tunnel, but sales need to confirm their genuine interest.
How do you assess each individual lead? This will depend on your business and how your marketing works. Generally, your CRM will help you track these interactions. You need to decide, as a team, at which point a contact becomes an MQL and a SQL.
For instance, you might consider a certain number of interactions with marketing materials is enough to be an SQL.
Take the time to evaluate your previous sales journeys with customers. What is it that made closed sales pull out? What have customers that have closed a deal interacted with in the past? Are there common interactions between each of your closed deals?
Use this information to define each of the qualification categories. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this will evolve and change over time. Continually assess your qualification criteria as you secure more deals.
MQL Vs SQL
Your MQLs and SQLs need two very different kinds of contact from your business. SQLs are likely to be far more open to outreach from your sales team, as they will have spent time interacting with your business. This is why it’s so important to be confident in your qualification. Your sales team contacting a lead too early is likely to completely detriment your ability to close.
Similarly, MQLs need to have already shown an interest in your business. Consistently sending unengaged contacts emails with content is just as likely to be received poorly.
At Nituno, we can help you to clarify your lead qualification strategy. We work with CRMs and databases to analyze your contact storage, and ensure you’re making the most out of every conversation with your contacts. Get in touch with us today to discuss your contact management strategy.