Want to improve your sales process? So understand what MQLs and SQLs are – WAU
Know the concepts of MQL and SQL, see how they are applied and find out how they can help you get better results in your sales.
In most companies, lead generation is a fundamental part of the sales process, and the greater the number of opportunities created, the better.
But the conversion of these leads into customers depends directly on the qualifications they receive during the relationship with your company.
In other words, unqualified leads are more likely to get lost in the sales funnel and never get to buy.
To avoid this, there are 2 classification concepts known as MQL and SQL, which help a lot in defining leads and allow nutrition to be done with due quality.
Are you curious to know what these 2 acronyms are and how they can be applied in your business? That’s what we’re going to show you now!
How important is lead qualification?
For a variety of reasons, generating a lead is not always easy. In addition, this is the 1st conversion that the company gets from someone before becoming a customer.
For this reason, many businesses make the big mistake of being dazzled by the number of leads generated, forgetting that it is necessary to do something with them in order to remain interested.
In addition, no matter how good your nutrition strategy or product is, each person acts differently. Some can buy quickly, while others will never become customers.
This is the role of lead qualification: determining how each stakeholder acts and what type of response makes the most sense for them at the moment.
While some may need a lot of time to decide and are looking for more basic materials, others may be aware of what they want and benefit from in-depth content.
And when it comes to qualifying leads, it is crucial to learn how to classify them into one of these 2 groups:
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL);
- and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).
What is it, anyway? And how are the 2 different from each other?
What is MQL?
MQL, or qualified marketing lead, is one who already knows the problem he needs to solve and is after the best solution for him.
Because of this, he has already had a good deal of interactions with his company, reading blog posts, downloading rich materials and, perhaps, even using tools created for him.
On the other hand, MQL is still looking for content that will help you decide once and for all what is the best solution to address the problem at hand.
In other words, there is still work that the marketing team needs to do to convince the lead of the real value of the solution that the company offers, because only after that will he start to actively consider the purchase of the product.
Thinking about it, it is clear that the content aimed at transforming an MQL into SQL cannot be superficial, but profound. After all, the central idea at this stage is to direct the person’s interest to the value of the product or service you offer.
What is SQL?
SQL, or qualified sales lead, is the one closest to the purchase. In addition to knowing the problem well, he has also defined that the type of product that your company offers is ideal for him.
When a lead is qualified by the sales team, there is nothing better than leaving him in the care of that team, who should schedule meetings and put the sales process into practice as soon as possible.
Within inbound marketing, SQL is that lead that is already very well nourished, and does not reach the sales team by parachute. Obviously, this is the type of opportunity that should have top priority on the salespeople’s agenda.
A good use of SQL means increased sales, higher average ticket and provides a basis for a good relationship with customers in the future.
This is because well-nourished leads tend to have better results with the product and face fewer difficulties throughout their lives as customers.
What is the difference between MQL and SQL?
After knowing the concepts of MQL and SQL, it is possible to understand that if there are some distinct characteristics in each one and that there is a natural evolution within the marketing funnel.
The goal is to transform as many leads as possible into MQL and then qualify as many of them as you can in SQL. Hence, the scenario for closing sales becomes much more favorable.
But it is interesting to highlight the exact difference between each type of lead so that the sales and marketing teams are not confused or lose good opportunities for taking too long in qualifying.
We can say that they are differentiated, basically, by their attitude towards the problem they face.
The way of looking at the problem will also affect the way they see the solution you offer. As well?
An MQL already knows that it has a problem and needs to take steps to solve it, but it has not yet reached the stage of looking for a specific product.
He still needs nutrition, qualification and preparation to, who knows, actively consider a solution like his in the market and, in the future, become his client.
SQL, on the other hand, is past that stage. He understands the problem exactly and already knows what solution he wants to use to end it.
Now is the time to find the best product or service possible to offer this solution. Therefore, the focus is on finding the right company, one that is reliable and has a positive cost-benefit ratio.
Do you realize how different the approach needs to be to work with each of these leads?
Offering the same type of material to both groups would only result in failure.
Leaving SQL in the care of the marketing team would delay the conversion to sale process, while throwing an MQL to sellers would be just the opposite – and both actions would have negative results.
How to classify MQLs and SQLs?
Understanding what MQL and SQL means is just the beginning. You still need to figure out how to determine the criteria that will lead to qualifying a lead as part of one of these groups.
To perform this task in the right way, it is important to follow some basic steps, which we will see below:
Know your persona deeply
The first step that you and the others involved need to take to build an efficient qualification system is to know the persona in detail. Do you know why this is so important?
The persona is the north of any content strategy, and the nurturing of leads is directly related to the quality of the materials produced.
Superficial content or that is out of alignment with the interests of the public that the company wants to attract is one of the first elements to cause the generated leads to be wasted before any attempt at qualification.
Also, think a little about the goal of having a persona, which is to represent your ideal client. Based on this profile, it is possible to classify the actions of your leads and see how close they are to the expected behavior of the persona.
It is a real-time comparison of expectation and reality, in which the steps of the leads are observed and attention is paid to how they correspond to the persona’s path through the purchase journey.
This will make your qualification process more accurate and ensure that your investment is on track.
After all, if you realize that qualified leads don’t act as expected from the persona, something needs to be revised in the planning.
Apply vendarketing right now
Qualifying leads is a collective mission, and needs to be done with the participation of everyone involved in the attraction, nutrition and sale process.
This collaborative work is called “vendarketing”, the union between the sales and marketing sectors with the aim of making the process of acquiring and retaining customers more efficient.
Why is it so important to apply vendarketing right now? Why he aligns teams and makes collaboration easier and more active.
Otherwise, there would be a huge gap between what one team or the other considers to be a qualified lead.
The lack of good communication generates waste of opportunities and damages the business as a whole.
Now with vendarketing in action, things change dramatically. The teams sit and decide together:
- what makes it an ideal lead to be contacted by the sales team;
- and what requires special attention before that.
Through an SLA (formal agreement that documents the responsibilities of each sector), the 2 teams are now committed to each other and work together to achieve the best possible lead qualification.
Use tools to track leads through the funnel
The progress of leads through the sales funnel is the best indicator of how far they are progressing on the purchase journey and can be of great help when qualifying for an MQL or SQL.
Because of this, it is worth using tools that allow you to monitor this progress closely and, more than that, nurture your leads as they show greater interest.
A marketing automation system is the ideal solution to do this job, since this type of software allows you to create segmented nutrition flows for each type of lead without delay.
In this way, it is possible to “prepare the ground” for those who still do not fit the criteria established for an MQL or SQL, and take the right actions in relation to those who have already been qualified.
In addition, a good sales funnel management tool will help keep track of the goals that have been established between the sales and marketing teams.
Refine the process
Something very important to keep in mind is that the process of qualifying MQL and SQL will always have to improve.
So, part of the work involved in succeeding with this is precisely in knowing that the process needs to be refined continuously. How to do this?
First of all, always rely on the data that your KPIs indicate regarding the conversion rates of leads into customers, as this is the final objective of the qualification.
Also, observe the path taken by leads that are converted through the funnel, and compare with the actions of those who give up halfway.
This can help to find elements of the strategy that should always be applied or left out.
The fact is, the more time you refine the quality of the content produced with the persona in mind – applying vendarketing and using useful tools to track and guide the progress of leads through the funnel – the better the qualification process will become.
I classified my MQLs and SQLs: now what?
Developing a method to accurately classify your company’s MQL and SQL is important, but only part of the job.
The SLA signed between the sales and marketing teams must predict what the duties of each team are so that the company can really see results.
Marketing needs to generate and qualify a minimum amount of leads per month, and once the best ones are passed on to sales people, it is also important that a conversion goal is followed.
That way, everyone will work in harmony and, above all, conversions will actually increase as part of a collective and well-coordinated effort.
Integration between sales and marketing teams is essential to successfully implement MQL and SQL in your business. But the effort is certainly worth it, as well-qualified leads lead to increased sales, higher average ticket and satisfied customers in the long run.
There is no point in producing MQLs and SQLs if you do not know how to manage them. Learn now with this complete material on the subject.