What is an MQL? Everything that you need to know about a Marketing Qualified Lead

Are you wishing to reach your sales prospects in a qualified manner? Marketing Qualified Lead(MQL) can be your ultimate guide to such an endeavor.

For instance, if the marketers of your company can coordinate with sales concerning high-quality leads, the prospects can be easily identified and given over to reps, following first-time engagement with the brand. Later on, sales personnel can also qualify and foster them with the help of contacts from marketers

This, in turn, will result in better time management within the organization while ensuring the sales team doesn’t explore leads already screened by the marketers. However, the leads passed on to the salespersons by the marketers are known as marketing qualified leads.

What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?

Any lead who expresses interest in a brand’s offering rooted through marketing efforts or weighs more in the chances of becoming a customer is defined as MQL. Most often, such engagement serves an intention as is evident through various actions like filling out contact info, participating in events, pushing off items to a shopping cart across e-commerce platforms, downloading stuff, or visiting a particular website frequently.

While they are curious about a specific product or service, your business tops their consideration within the context, thus implying the potential factor among other prospects. On the other hand, their receptiveness to a sales pitch ranks higher compared to a normal lead.

Think, if someone isn’t ready to start a conversation, why will they give their email addresses? It hints that your business can solve their problems in priority. To say, an MQL convert leads into a customer initially along with the privilege of accessing additional contacts in the future. The process looks like this- MQLs to Sales Qualified Leads to customers.

The crucial role of MQL in an organization

From a broader perspective, while marketing initiatives promise to bring in leads for a business, marketers decide on an MQL considering the lead’s behavior. However, the behaviour can vary based on the situation and the actual need of the lead. For instance, leads usually provide real-time contacts to get more information on a brand’s offering or download a brochure to get critical insights. Every bit of such action confirms an MQL on the go.

Kind of actions attempted by MQLs 

MQLs attempt several actions inclusive of but not limited to:

  • Downloading a free ebook or trial software
  • Making use of software demonstrations
  • Submitting details in online forms
  • Providing email ids for mailing lists or newsletters
  • Sorting items in the shopping cart or wishlist
  • Spending considerable time on a particular website
  • Clicking on selective advertisements
  • Requesting more info on the contact page

Parameters to check for Marketing Qualified Leads or MQLs 

A couple of parameters decide on the MQLs. They range over:

  1. analytic data 
  2. lead scoring
  3. demographic attributes
  4. product delivery

How to narrow down on MQLs?

One of the best ways to identify MQLs lies in analyzing buyer journeys down the line while paying heed to the present behaviors of customers. Apart from that, always know your specific business needs since every MQL won’t bear any match even within the same industry.

In other words, define your MQL criteria by examining other leads’ and purchasers’ habits, how they interact with your marketing forte, and match their actions to other prospective leads of yours. Demographic data such as organization, job profile, location, size of the company, etc. can be of great use for the purpose. 

What else? 

Flip through the customers’ history 

Compare the buying trends of the customers you won and those your business lost. Get a glimpse of your sales initiatives in the past and the path indicative of the leads’ journey- from exhibiting interest in your brand to buying the final offering.

Take a note of the customers’ feedback 

What feedback did your potential leads provide at the time of leaving? Can it be worked out somehow to avoid further loss in the impending? Scrutinizing both customers’ sentiment and empirical data stands significant to determine the MQL quotient.

Look out for definite trends 

Explore the commonalities of the successful leads. Spot the offers, pages, ads that have resulted in the best quality MQLs.

Recognize your competence over others

Find out the differentiating point of your business compared to other brands with a comprehensive understanding of your position and your deployed tactics at every funnel in the economy. 

Go through your lead definitions at regular intervals

Buyer personas, prospects, and leads are never constant in the business cycles. Rather, they are always prone to change. Hence, the unparalleled significance of revisiting lead definitions at regular intervals and updating them in the timeline. It can be done in various ways.

For instance, marketers may go through the lead definitions once in a quarter and hand them over to the sales team with necessary updates. Again, both marketing and sales reps can re-evaluate lead definitions in a collaborative way, led by relevant modifications.

The importance of predicting whether marketing can bring in enough qualified leads or not 

If a business considers confined qualifying parameters, the marketing team might fail to supply sales with the required number of leads. The decision constitutes an integral part of the lead definition phase and needs to be negotiated by sales and marketing teams efficiently. Whatever is the criteria, it should overlap both the teams to lay down the base. Many a time businesses lose leads due to the rush for conversions. To avert such incidents in the normal flow, sales should leave it for the marketing team to nurture the clients effectively. 

What doesn’t necessarily define an MQL?

It must be noted that an MQL isn’t just a confirmed customer or a normal lead. Rather its position is somewhere in between them. Neither can you term a random lead as an MQL nor can you define a qualified prospect by the name. It sticks to a specific criteria within a sales funnel. When there are indications of getting a qualified lead in the process, the matter is no more related to MQL but solely draws its reference to SQL. 

MQL vs SQL- The main difference 

The main difference between the two comes with the lead’s willingness to purchase a brand’s offering. That says MQLs possess a very inquisitive stance, in contrast to SQLs who serve the readiness to purchase an offering. The latter is examined according to intent, e.g. people asking for quotes, purchase specifications, or live demos.

If you are approaching a lead who isn’t willing to buy your product, the action will drive the lead away entirely. Again, a regular lead and an MQL isn’t the same. Unlike regular leads, MQLs engage in a business actively. To give an example, think about a shopper going to a retail mall. Those crossing your storefront are regular leads. They might notice you someday, followed by walking into the store. But there is no assurance for such behavior. 

Know the difference between Lead and MQL.  The one who is browsing in your store might leave anyway even if you try to interest him. He might download your trial software out of curiosity, without any motif of purchasing or so. Either way, he might not be able to pay for the product when it comes to affordability. To sum up, various parameters settle on a generic lead. Therefore, don’t mistake lead and MQL to be the same.

Why should a business classify a lead as MQL?

Marketing upholds multiple touchpoints for a business, unlike other departments. They span over social posts, content offers, events, web pages, blogs, podcasts, subscriptions, or ads from time to time. At the end of the day, it’s engagement data that helps identify the highest quality leads in an organization. At a later stage, salespeople carry out their filtration from the list of MQLs to get their hands on the top-notch prospects. 

Go beyond the standard powered by intent topics

Who doesn’t love to go the extra mile if it’s feasible in reality? Intent data can be your weapon to achieve such limits. Imagine, you know your MQLs a lot more than just counting on the leads’ basic details- whether they are the decision-makers or buyers. That’s how intent topics work for targeted leads.

Data-driven insights can help marketers initiate interest for leads via contextual personalization. For instance, you can classify leads hinged on a list of common problems cited against your company’s main firmographics and demographics. The strategy can project to lead the way your offering can address their business problems.

Afterward, when SDRs will engage with MQLs, they can attune individual conversations with data-driven suggestions- whether it be related to the firm’s last round of funding or the latest technological upgradation.

Inbound marketing efforts can increase the likelihood of conversions for MQLs  

Inbound marketing drives prospects for a brand by letting them choose interesting content. Hence its referred to as permission-based marketing. Starting from the first blog post one engages on a brand site to receiving industry-related news over mail, such a strategy helps marketers build relationships with prospects at every step.

By the time MQLs pass onto the sales department, reps work on the relationship factor to increase the probability of making a deal.

MQLs can guarantee a steady stream of leads over the period. Implementing every form of MQL throughout the process can consistently generate high-quality leads over time, ranking your strategy the best from those of your competitors.

Tips to track the ROI of MQL

  1. Be committed to a specific goal 

Sticking to a specific goal rather than a generalized one bears a greater chance of achievement in the marketing funnel. In reality, that translates to larger business objectives, creating a “total target lead” goal. The approach will allow marketing to show calculated flexibility for generating several leads at a time when it’s not possible to fetch high-quality prospects consistently.

2. Keep an eye on the monthly traffic

Most visitors won’t be willing to purchase when they come across your website for the first time. But once you can attract them, they might be pushed down the conversion funnel. Website traffic is a useful indicator to determine the flair of leads.

You can monitor it by checking for a couple of metrics like an increase in page views, the number of shares in social media, a decrease in bounce rates, and SEO rankings. Accordingly, you can have an idea about what amount of web traffic can reward MQLs.

3. Track leads based on business days and at every stage

Don’t forget that every month doesn’t come with the same number of days. Therefore, adjust the lead count based on business days. Also, check them in every stage so that you can detect poor performance until it gets too late.

4. Count the number of customers given by the marketing team in a month

Calculating customer percentage channeled by marketing efforts upholds the exact numbers of new businesses. You need to count new customers from a certain period and break a percentage of them who were considered leads by the marketers in the initial stage.

Ideally, an organization with internal and external sales support should gain 20-40% leads while those with internal sales support and marketing teams must try to convert 40-80% leads in the whole cycle. A business can resort to platforms like Excel or Hubspot to monitor overall productivity.

5. Identify MQLs based on persona

The success of inbound marketing campaigns is measured by lead quality and numbers. That dictates, monitoring the buyer personas can help guide the content blueprint and lead generation policy to a vast extent. 

6. Assess the conversion rate of leads to customers 

Unless you track how many leads are getting converted into customers, the chances of having MQLs will come down to an unpredictable low. Once you can successfully handle other areas of concern, examine the lead to customer conversion rate per week, which usually ranges between 2-5%.

Combining such metrics with the conversion rate of visitors to lead can play the best trick of the hour.

Key Takeaways-

1. What are MQL and SQL?

​​MQL is more likely to become a customer while SQL means a lead’s qualification as a potential customer.

2. How do you qualify leads in marketing?

  • Check customer’s history 
  • Identify MQL parameters
  • Coordinate with sales 
  • Refine personas

3. What gets considered a qualified sales lead?

The lead who’s considered ready by the sales team to make a purchase 

4. What is a lead versus a qualified lead?

A lead simply engages with any company while a qualified lead matches the criteria of a customer.

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