Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can you Define a Marketing - Qualified Lead? And, Then What…

With our continued focus on diminishing the divide between sales and marketing, we thought we would take a moment to define a marketing qualified lead.

We pulled definitions from a lot of different sites, blogs, groups on Linkedin and here is what we found for a MQL(Marketing-Qualified Lead):

1. Are they in the correct sector?
2. What is their size and company revenue?
3. Are they decision makers?
4.  What have they touched in your campaigns thus far—ie. White papers, tradeshows, site visits, demo forms, webinars?
5. Do they need you—can you find their pain points?
6.  Will they be able to buy in an appropriate timeframe?
7.  Do they have the budget to afford your services?

In theory, everybody agrees that this checklist defines MQLs, but when in practice, we think the above list has some grey areas for who is willing to take action to answer Phase 2 and 3.  What is the most effective way to extract that information?  Should marketing ask in a lead form? Should inside sales call to qualify? Should sales reps make the call? Nobody is better at extracting this information than sales reps, but it is unlikely that they will, so what now? The lead falls into no man’s land, resulting in wasted marketing efforts, missed opportunities and fewer closed deals.

Is there a middle ground?  We think technology helps to offer a credible solution; when you know the condition of your leads and prospects, then you have a better idea of when they are ready to buy. Company X just had three good earning releases; looks like they have a budget to buy.  Sales will feel compelled to follow up with this kind of evidence.

Remember that static information won’t help marketers or salespeople. Static information is only Phase 1 on the checklist.  A contact list is just that, only a list.  You need dynamic data (Phase 2 and 3) that let’s you know the pulse of the organization you are following. And if you can’t get sales or marketing to take ownership, then leave it to technology to help bridge the communication gap.

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