What is a marketing qualified lead?
A Marketing Qualified Lead – commonly referred to as an MQL – is a person or organization that has showed enough interest in your product or service to be classed as more likely to make a purchase.
A definition for what constitutes a MQL will vary from business to business, usually being based on how a contact has behaved or certain signals being given off, such as someone visiting certain pages on the website, or downloading a specific piece of content.
It is important to agree internally what the specific demographic and behaviors used to highlight a MQL are, so you can spot when a regular lead becomes a marketing qualified lead.
Good practice when scoring leads is to assign a point value to each action, then to set a specific threshold that leads must reach before being classified as an MQL. Once a lead has been marketing qualified, they can then be sent specific content (usually delivered in the form of an email or social media message) that directs them to a blog, or other content that is similar to that which they have already shown an interest in. The intention here is to strengthen their interest so they become a sales qualified lead (SQL) – a lead that is ready to be worked on by the sales team.
Accurately scoring a lead as marketing qualified is an important step, as any potential customer who is pushed along the sales funnel too soon will show much more resistance than those who have been guided there over time. By putting some thought into your scoring process, you can avoid one of the most common and costly mistakes made within marketing: passing leads over to the sales team too quickly.
What is a sales qualified lead?
A sales lead is one that has shown strong interest in your company, product or services and which has indicated a strong intent to buy.
Again, there are no hard and fast rules here. You need to define what the ideal sales lead will look like for you. Every business targets a different type of customer, but all sales qualified leads share some common qualities; they’ll be a good fit for the business and have shown an immediate interest in what you have to offer. To qualify leads effectively, you need to define what a good sales lead will look like for your business.
Many companies choose to buy in a list of contacts that may fit their niche, rather than building a list themselves over time. While this can sometimes be effective, it will never be as strong as leads which you have nurtured yourselves. Prospects you have guided through the buyer journey, step by step, are far more likely to make a purchase, which will help you achieve a lower cost per sale.
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