Are you under the impression that only sales teams need to qualify leads? Lead qualification is a necessity and very much alive in marketing as well. In B2B marketing, it plays a vital role in determining whether a lead has the potential to become a customer. It not only helps convert more leads, but it also allows B2B organizations to win more deals while increasing their sales and marketing efficiency.
A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that has shown interest in or intentionally engaged with your brand by responding to your B2B marketing efforts. An MQL could take actions like:
- Interacting with your social posts
- Filling out your webform
- Requesting more information about your product
- Clicking on an ad and reaching your website
- Submitting contact information to be added to your mailing list
- Downloading your ebooks or other content offers, or your trial software
MQLs turn into sales qualified leads (SQLs) when they’re ready to talk to sales. They are leads that have been researched and vetted by the marketing team and then handed over to the sales team. When the sales team agrees with the marketing team that there is a good chance of converting an MQL into a customer, then that MQL becomes an SQL.
MQL vs SQL
An MQL differs from an SQL mainly based on its placement in the buyer’s journey. While an SQL is further ahead in its buyer’s journey, an MQL is right at the beginning of its journey. Secondly, the perceived willingness to make a purchase separates MQLs from SQLs.
An SQL would signal interest or consider to buy from you. An MQL, on the other hand, may only be curious to know more about your product or exploring how your product can solve their problem by repeatedly visiting the product page or reading a blog post.
How to Qualify Leads in B2B Marketing
Sales and marketing alignment allows you to hand over categorized, well-defined MQLs to sales. For starters, your marketing team can discuss with sales what qualifies a lead to become a warm MQL or hot MQL.
A warm MQL could be a lead who has only consumed ungated content on your website and has not submitted its contact or other information. A hot MQL, whereas, could be a lead who has provided its contact information while downloading content from your website, or has requested more information or wants to hear from you.
Furthermore, your marketing managers can conduct meetings with your sales managers to establish what defines an MQL. For example, they can agree on the specific pain points, interests, traits, or needs a lead must have to define it as an MQL. This also includes what type of content a lead must engage with or consume to become an MQL.
It’s also important to revisit your MQL definition because leads and buyer personas keep evolving, and so do your customers, internal teams, and business. This will help your marketing team consistently generate qualified leads for your sales team.