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Inquiries and leads are not the same. Don't make the mistake of treating them equally.

8/14/2017 BY Tim Rowe

A client of ours recently did just that. They sent their sales force the contact information of everyone who clicked on their digital ad that ran in our daily industry enewsletter. They asked their sales people to follow-up on all the ad-clickers. The results were disastrous. The inquirers (ad-clickers) were not ready to talk to a sales rep, and the sales reps grew frustrated. It was a waste of the sales rep’s time and more important created a poor customer experience.

You want to win the lead gen game? It’s simple. Send to sales all your Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). And use marketing to nurture all your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL).

A sales qualified lead (SQL) is further along in their buyer journey. They have specific questions and are ready for one-on-one time with your sales department. These leads are the result of being nurtured by good marketing.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL)is a lap or two behind a sales qualified lead. MQLs are interested in your product, but need nurturing before they are ready to be turned over to your sales team.

Marketing qualified leads start as hand raisers. They’ve acted or done something to indicate genuine interest in your product. Perhaps they’ve filled out a form to request your white paper. Or they’ve viewed the pricing page of your website. Whatever the case, after a single inquiry or action, an MQL isn’t ready to buy — don’t turn these leads over to the sales team. Instead nurture them with focused marketing outreach. Use bottom of the funnel offers such as demos, free trials, detailed buying guides, or additional sales-ready actions. Once they’ve taken multiple actions, they are ready to be labeled Sales Qualified Leads. These are the leads you turn over to sales.

MQLs aren’t guaranteed to turn into SQLs and buy your product. But identifying them early and nurturing them along ensures both sales and marketing are only focused on prospects who meet specific criteria. Prospects who meet criteria tied to revenue.

Looking for more advice on lead generation and marketing? email, InMail or call me.  


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