By aligning different team members, you allow businesses to work efficiently. Together they can curate experiences that are delightful for the customers. One example of a process in which two teams work closely is sales and marketing. The collaboration improves the customer experience in a way that takes your lead generation to the next level.
Imagine that your marketing team knows what type of customers convert better. The team can then identify these leads, hand over them to the sales team for further nurturing or conversion.
Now the leads that the marketing team engages, vets, and passes on to the sales team are called Marketing Qualified Leads.
In the post, we’ll talk about what MQL is, the difference between MQL and SQL, and the steps to generate MQL.
Defining Marketing Qualified Leads
A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that your marketing team has deemed more likely to become your customer in the future. The qualification is based on criteria such as visiting your company’s website, signing up for the newsletter, download ebooks, or using a software demo.
Characteristics of a Marketing Qualified Leads
There are many characteristics used to identify the marketing qualified leads. Below are some of them:
1) Download Content
A marketing qualified lead can show an interest in your product/service by downloading ebooks, white papers from your website while exchanging their email.
2) Fill Forms
Most websites have sign-up forms around the services they offer. If a visitor fills up the information, it shows they are interested in your offerings. It makes them marketing qualified leads.
3) Free Trial/Product Demos
If you sell software or SaaS products, you could always make customers opt for free trials and product demos. If a customer shows interest in trying out the demos, you can deem them as a marketing qualified lead.
4) Spend time on your Website
A marketing qualified lead can spend time on your website. Checking out products, services, pricing, etc. You can set a time threshold above which you can deem a visitor as a marketing qualified lead.
5) Repeated Visits
Do you have visitors who repeatedly visit your website? It shows they are interested in your product and want content to trust you more. You can deem them as marketing qualified leads and nurture them to gain trust.
Difference between Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads?
One major challenge for marketers and sales teams is to differentiate between marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads. Most MQLs do not convert into SQLs. This means you spent time and money on leads who were unqualified from the start.
An MQL differs from an SQL. A marketing qualified lead has shown interest in your product by visiting the website, downloading the content, etc. While a sales qualified lead has gone beyond these usual tasks and contacted the salesperson for more information.
The difference is that marketing qualified leads are large in quantity and low on quality. While sales qualified leads are the opposite. They have been made to go through a process to filter out the unqualified ones.
The marketing-qualified leads are not yet ready to do business with you. They need effective nurturing. Sales qualified leads are sales-ready, and they’ve done their research. All you need to do is contact them and close the deal.
A marketing qualified lead is in the middle of your sales funnel. You need additional content to move them down the sales funnel. A sales-qualified lead is at the bottom of a sales funnel. You have to just nudge them to make the final sell.
How to Generate Marketing Qualified Leads
For the most part of your marketing journey, generating traffic won’t be a problem. But most businesses struggle with generating marketing qualified leads. Below are some ways your business can try generating marketing qualified leads.
1) Offer Quality Content through FB Ads
Facebook is one of the most widely used platforms across the world. It keeps rolling out technologies that help both mid-scale and large-scale businesses to generate more leads and revenue.
Facebook ad manager gives you a pool of targeting options, using which you can precisely target your audience and gain marketing qualified leads.
An effective lead generation ad offers an irresistible offer which your target audience cannot refuse. It can be a free eBook, video, or industry report. By filling out the information, your audience depicts interest in your product/services. You can use this information for your other marketing activities and making your prospects move down the sales funnel.
You can also let Facebook drive traffic to your website where the visitors could fill out your form and show interest.
2) Create Valuable Blog Posts on your Website
One of the best and long-term ways of generating marketing qualified leads is to create content. It is one of the best and tested ways of generating traffic and lead generation. Content marketing will always give you better quality leads as customers come towards you, asking for specific solutions.
As good as a blog post seem to be, not all blogs guarantee marketing qualified leads. A good blog has a catchy headline, it is created around customer intent and it solves a specific problem that your prospect is facing. The content must evoke emotions and make customers take appropriate actions.
There are many ways to convert blog traffic into marketing qualified leads. One is using sign-up boxes on your blog post and assure users you’ll be providing similar content in the future. Another is providing free eBooks, videos in exchange for an email. The third could be a content upgrade.
Google wants users to get all the possible information through one single blog post. So check if you can combine different blog topics and create content under one single headline. The deeper content you provide, the better are your chances of creating marketing qualified leads.
3) Use Webinars
With video marketing on the rise, companies these days are using webinars as a marketing tool to generate marketing qualified leads. A webinar is a great marketing tool to attract prospects and make them share their email id. Webinars also have a higher conversion rate than other marketing materials.
There are different webinars that companies use to attract new visitors and generate leads. Based on the industry, your webinars could be about product demos, educational content, or case studies.
Once your prospect fills in the information, you need to quickly contact them before they turn cold. Store all the leads in the CRMs and keep nurturing them till the day of the webinar. This way you ensure that most of the prospects attend the event.
If you are unable to generate traffic you can always partner up with other companies to tap into their audience and generate fresh leads.
Even after the webinar, some leads may not be ready to buy. You need to keep nurturing them further. You can even distribute survey forms to understand why some leads did not convert. This way you can even change your targeting strategies to bring in better quality leads.
4) Use Long-tail SEO
Long-tail keywords have low search volume but are always strong around intent. Using long-tail keywords may bring in low traffic to your website but gives you a better chance of generating marketing qualified leads.
The content you create must be portrayed to solve customer queries. You can use several tools to evaluate what questions your target audience is asking. Tools like Google’s suggestion box, Quora, Answer the public, let you know the questions people ask around their problems. Also, it’s easier to rank for long-tail keywords since the competition is very low.
Once you have a long tail keyword, incorporate them throughout the content. Often, one content piece can rank for more than one long-tail keyword.
Strategies to Turn Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads
Marketing leads do not automatically turn into sales-qualified leads. There is a lead nurturing process that turns them into one. It means you need good strategies to make it happen. A good strategy tries to convert maximum MQLs into Sales qualified leads
Re-targeting is a strategy to target website visitors again and again till they convert. It works by helping you install a pixel on your website and tracking users who’ve visited particular pages. Based on your marketing platforms and your audience pool, there are several ways you can re-target your audience.
Facebook allows you to re-target visitors who visit your landing page but do not convert into sales. You can also create a lookalike campaign on Facebook using your MQL information. Since they possess similar traits you look in your customers.
Google’s display marketing is widely used by eCommerce stores to re-target customers who showed an interest in buying the product but couldn’t for some reason.
2) Email Marketing
Email marketing is the best lead nurturing tool available to marketers. Especially with products of the longer sales cycle. With email automation, you can create a series of emails that you know will help convert marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads. Email allows you to build trust among your prospects who are not yet ready to buy.
Examples of email marketing automation may include sending welcome emails, product recommendations, additional content to help them understand your product offers or even abandoned cart reminders.
An automated email sequence helps you save time by doing the repetitive work for you.
3) Linkedin Marketing
Linkedin marketing is a great platform to convert B2B marketing leads into sales. Linkedin allows targeting based on contacts, account-based, and website retargeting. Setting up retargeting ads is easy on Linkedin. If your audience is primarily B2B, Linkedin is something you should explore.
4) Text Marketing
Text marketing is growing in popularity. Although they are still underutilized. Text marketing is great in turning marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads. You can inform customers about offers, discounts, and new product information.
You can even use push notifications to send curated content to your leads.
5) Voice Marketing
Voice marketing is the use of automated calls to help turn leads into sales. All the information related to offers, discounts are fed into a system. This is a great way of outbound marketing. All you need to do is call your customers. The customers have a choice to either listen or hang up.
Every company needs a constant supply of marketing qualified leads to survive. The internet has given tremendous power to your customers. Today, they can create individual research even before contacting your salesperson. The research part is where you can form connections with your prospects. Especially products with a longer sales cycle, you cannot expect a lead to trust you in the first instance.
Your lead nurturing process is all about converting marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads and eventually sales.
Turning MQLs into SQLs needs elaborate strategies. You can use Facebook ads, Google ads, email automation to make this happen.