Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are not just about getting a list of people your company should be focusing on selling to. They should be able to qualify under a number of criteria that could be further converted to sales qualified leads (SQL). Without a well-done MQL, marketing’s generated leads would only crowd the marketing funnel, which would lead to even more problems down the line.
And this is where the misalignment starts between sales and marketing, which runs rampant in a number of companies, especially in B2B businesses.
Arguably it is difficult to qualify MQLs in the lead generation process because being at the top of the sales funnel, marketing needs to be the first to narrow down the leads, which come from a broad spectrum of touch points. But when done right, MQLs can lift a huge weight off sales as they become aligned and time, resources, and effort are better allocated where there is a higher rate of being closed.
Why MQLs are Important to Lead Generation
So why can’t marketing just generate leads and pass on to sales?
We all know that in business, quality trumps quantity. Quantity means a lot of work, but the question comes down to how much of that work time and effort is wasted? In this case, the company’s ROI is going to suffer, which is bad news for any company.
For leads to become MQLs, they should be considered as, qualified by a clear set of criteria by the company. This usually involves engaging with marketing collateral that help potential customers learn more about the company or their offerings. These may include:
- Downloading reading materials and other web content
- E-mail sign ups from campaigns
- Signing up for courses, webinars, and other educational offers
- Contacting the company for a product demo
- Putting items in shopping carts whether or not a purchase occurred at that moment
But of course, companies can have a variety of criteria other than those stated above. It is entirely up to the sales and marketing to come up with a set of criteria that is aligned with company goals and targets.
And because these leads are highly targeted, it means that those that pass the criteria are in a readier state to buy, helping the sales and marketing team be more efficient in their jobs. This translates to higher ROI, which helps the company grow.
This is a highly important step in the marketing funnel as only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. And with 70% citing the need for higher quality leads during the lead generation process, it is a glaring fact that MQLs are more important than companies may think.
The Benefits of Implementing MQLs
When companies implement MQLs in their overall lead generation strategy, teams can be rewarded with making more sales with less effort, making all stakeholders happy. It means that you can close deals faster and with more efficiency that could put you ahead of the competition. Among the benefits are less wasted time and effort, improved workloads, better alignment between departments, improved content marketing, and priority qualification.
Less Wasted Time and Effort
Companies that employ MQLs are definitely ahead when it comes to a more efficient sales process. MQLs gives sales more opportunities to close deals.
Businesses are all about efficiency—including workload efficiency. Companies don’t want to spend on man-hours pursuing bad leads and creating more unnecessary workload for everyone involved.
Better Alignment Between Departments
It is no secret that sales and marketing teams often have a clash when they are not aligned resulting in both parties getting frustrated with their work and with one another. With MQLs, smoother communications and work processes formed creates a better relationship especially when marketing passes on easier leads to sales.
Improved Content Marketing
Marketing benefits greatly from the process of gaining MQLs because it gives them a better understanding of who responds to what and how. This increases the ROI from any lead nurturing activities they undertake.
Companies that use MQLs help marketing and sales teams understand where they should put in more effort, resources, and attention.
MQLs may be challenging to pursue for marketers, but it’s worth the effort considering the benefits that it brings to the company. Considering that MQLs are a collaborative effort with the sales team and can even be automated, businesses can only stand to gain by having a good MQL in place.
Every company has a different set of guidelines on what they consider an MQL, so it’s good to test a combination of strategies to see what best suites your needs. Download our free whitepaper, “Strategically Managing MQLs,” to learn more.
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