What is an MQL? What is an SQL? What is the difference? These are not just fancy acronyms, they represent different stages leads go through before becoming clients. Understanding their meaning will enable you to master the art of transforming Leads into Clients.
The role of the sales team is simple. Convert as many leads as possible into customers.
From their point of view they are getting leads (every sales rep will tell you they get bad leads), using their amazing selling skills they transform these leads, from prospects to opportunities and eventually clients.
Depending on the company size, industry or country, companies have developed different terminologies, but we are describing the most common (and accurate) stages potential clients go through.
Step 1: sales team getting leads
Step 2: the leads are qualified
Step 3: the qualified ones become prospects
Step 4: prospects become opportunities
This is one of the reasons why prospects are often overlooked. Most sales organizations barely even mention stage 3, because as soon as a lead is qualified it becomes an opportunity.
Think about it, a prospect fits with your ideal buyer persona, so he should seriously consider purchasing your product or service: he should be a “hot” opportunity.
A prospect stays a prospect only if he is not a “hot” opportunity, his context may be too complex or the timing is not right. The issue might have been with the persona, not being ideal or precise enough.
A suspect is a lead who will stick around in your pipeline and waste your time and energy without having the means or intention to buy the products and services you are selling.
The complexity and diversity in the way these terms are used is due to the lack of communication and collaboration between marketing and sales departments.
In the United States, 84% of customers ready to buy report that their buying journey took longer than expected.
The cycle your potential clients go through, from “visitor” to “customer” must involve joint marketing and sales efforts for optimal results.
How to calculate your MQL to SQL conversion rate?
The ratio is simple: Number of SQL / Number of MQL = Conversion Rate
Depending on the length of your sales cycle that rate may not be relevant so you need this alternative way of calculating the ratio:
Number of SQL in your average sales cycle (ex. 6 months) / Number of MQL 1 month = Conversion rate
Is a high MQL to SQL conversion rate good?
Yes and no. A high MQL to SQL conversion rate means your MQL are good quality and you are not wasting your Sales Reps time.
But having a MQL to SQL conversion rate too high can also mean that your MQL criterias are too high. Meaning you could be missing quality opportunities in the process.
What are Marketing Lead Qualification best practices?
First off align your sales & marketing strategy to ensure that MQLs are relevant to your Sales Reps. Then create a variety of relevant content to pinpoint what matters to your leads and create an efficient lead scoring system. Finally, continue to adjust your strategy as your leads and your market change.