Method Savvy works with a number of B2B companies. Most B2B companies struggle to understand the difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). As with many challenges, this one is best solved over a lunch meeting.
This challenge in defining an MQL & SQL occurs for two reasons:
First- How each company defines a MQL vs. SQL is different based on a number of factors from sales structure, customer lifecycle, marketing’s role and most importantly the KPI’s and incentives the marketing and sales teams are accountable for reaching.
Second- The delta between MQL and SQL is generally placed into a nebulous bucket of “disqualified”, which brings us to the issue of lead quality. In our experience, most company’s disqualifieds are either a) hard to tie to a root lead source or b) difficult to determine why they were disqualified on a systematic basis.
So the task of closing the delta between MQL & SQL becomes an exercise in better defining the two terms and understanding lead quality in a qualitative way.
To do so, we recommend the marketing team buy the sales team lunch. In starting this lunch, ask the sales team for some stories of the least qualified leads. This should get the conversation going, as sales teams rarely lack opinions.
While the conversation is buzzing, ask the sales team for the three questions they are most sick of answering from prospects. Listen. This is the good stuff. They are talking about the quality of MQL’s.
Getting the sales team to agree on the three questions they are most sick of answering, never mind in order, is a fool’s errand. However, using sales input, build your own list of the three questions they’re sick of answering.
Most commonly we hear: “Aren’t you guys like [fill in the market leader]”, “I don’t have time to make a change” or “I don’t have budget right now”. In marketing, the answers would be product differentiation; ease of use; creating urgency.
Let the conversation for the remainder of lunch wander as it may. Before adjourning, pose a question to sales: “If I could reduce the number of times you’re asked these three questions before the end of the quarter by 25%, would you guys buy lunch next quarter?”
Sales doesn’t turn down a challenge so, the answer is “yes”.
Then, get to it. Answering those three questions becomes marketing’s task for the quarter. I think it makes a pretty good content strategy.
Give us a call if you need help facilitating. Lunch may end up on us.