Leads are the lifeblood of any small business, but not all leads are the same. Let me explain further.
MQL - MARKETING QUALIFIED LEAD
These tend to be leads who have interacted with your business for the first time in response to some marketing you have put out into the world. Perhaps they downloaded a guide from your website or attended a webinar that you hosted. They are leads that are still at the very top of the sales funnel who are possibly intrigued by your business and what you offer, however, they’re not going to buy from you right away. We need to do some more work to get them down the sales funnel.
SQL- SALES QUALIFIED LEAD
This might be someone that has actually requested a demonstration or perhaps asked for a proposal.
To get them to move down the funnel from an MQL to a SQL, we’ve got to do a bit of work.
GIVE MORE VALUE
Keep your focus on delivering value!
This means that you’re giving more guides/checklists/resources and showcasing your expertise and knowledge to your potential target customers. As with any lead magnet, you’ll want something in return – their name, email address, company name and maybe a phone number.
I know I often go on about the importance of picking up the phone, but picking up the phone to every MQL is a mistake. Use CRM technology to help you automation communication and information that offers more value to the MQL. Keep giving value and before you know it, you’ll have an MQL reaching out asking for something, and now you’ve got an SQL!
GET THE LEAD TO QUALIFY THEMSELVES
Provide links and resources that encourage that MQL to provide further information. Could you get them to tell you more about the size of the company they work with? If someone reached out to me wanting corporate training for 50,000+ employees, I’m probably not the right trainer for them. If it’s someone who’s looking for training for 1-10 employees, I’m more likely to be a better fit.
The information they provide in response to the value you send them can help move them from stage to this stage without you having to do anything. Getting your prospects that download resources to take other actions is a great sign that there is a potential match to work together.
Lead scoring is something you can set up that identifies how much time and interaction that lead has had with you, your company and your content. What it does is track their activity and it says “the more that they’re spending looking at your website (or other activities), the more chance they’re getting an affinity for your company and they will progress to an SQL.
As they are scoring higher, they’re doing more and you’ve got a higher chance of converting them to a customer.
While we’re talking about this, let’s also talk about two things you should not do with MQL’s!
DON'T CALL THEM STRAIGHT AWAY
Jumping on the phone the moment someone has downloaded a guide from you is weird. No one likes it and sometimes people are even discouraged from downloading resources they truly need for the fear of their phone ringing immediately after they’ve hit ‘submit’. Desperation is a stinky perfume and if you take the wrong action at the wrong time, you’re going to put that MQL off rather than move them forward to becoming an SQL.
If someone reached out wanting a demonstration or wanting information, absolutely jump on the phone right away!
REMEMBER NOT EVERYONE, IS INTERESTED
Small business owners sometimes assume that all MQL’s are guaranteed to be interested in their business and what they do. Just because they’ve downloaded a resource doesn’t mean they automatically want to buy from us. Sometimes they are simply window shopping to see what’s out there. Our job as small business owners and sales professionals is to understand and respect that, and hopefully give them the right value that helps them move from an MQL to an SQL.
If you have been nurturing these leads, giving them information over time, you can pick up the phone to speak with them and ask them what they’re looking to achieve. If you validate them in this way, you’ll fast be able to know whether you can help solve their problem, want, or desire.
Asking the right questions at the right time is key. If you’re not sure what questions you should be asking, be sure to get a copy of 52 Questions. You can use these to help you qualify if there is a potential fit with your prospect.
So, don’t assume every lead is the same. MQL’s and SQL’s are different and require a different level of interaction. Use your systems to deliver value to your MQL’s and spend your valuable time engaging with SQL’s when the time is right. Get it wrong, and you will have torpedoed your chance of doing business with that prospect.
As always, if you need help sorting out your sales funnel and understanding where best to focus your sales activity, reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to help a fellow small business owner!