So all this talk of marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads is great. But let’s get to the selling. How do we move someone from marketing qualified to sales qualified?
Hey everyone, I’m Ian Campbell, CEO of Mission Suite. Before we get into today’s video, do me a favor and hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so that you’re notified every time we post new videos.
Moving a lead from the world of marketing into the world of selling is a delicate process, and it needs to be handled carefully, otherwise you’ll just lose the lead.
If a marketing qualified lead has shown enough interest in your business – whether through content, business development, or anything else – usually they’ve shown you just enough trust to hand over their name and email address.
Now you need to build upon that trust and encourage them to give you more information and interact with you more to determine whether they’re truly a sales prospect.
But how do you actually know when a lead is ready to move over to sales?
Let’s dive in
Before we dive in, let’s quickly review what we know from our last few episodes.
An M Q L is a lead that intentionally interacts with your company’s marketing, signaling interest. For example, they have engaged with your company on social media or responded to any of your marketing efforts.
It is called a “marketing qualified” lead because they are on step one, and at this stage, you haven’t spent time learning about their needs and building trust.
We’ve also talked about S Q Ls. These are leads that are a step or two further into your funnel. In addition to interacting with your marketing, they have indicated that they want to know more about your company, brand, product, or service. And, by the time they reach S Q L status, you should know more about them, too.
You’ve already spent some time on this lead, so you want to make sure this lead is ‘worth’ your time. And I mean ‘worth’ in that they are checking the right boxes in your lead scoring model or L S M or whatever qualifying method you are using.
One additional note: If this lead is not on the buying path, you’d want to find that out here. If they somehow move further into your funnel but they are not on a buying path, you’ll need to discover that as soon as possible. It’s not common but needs change, so checking in with your lead, your L S M and your team at each stage is a good idea.
If you know they are not on the buying path right now; you can do a few things.
First, check your methodology, which should have been developed with your sales and marketing teams. And, if it wasn’t, now is the time to get some input. Your marketing team helped you get this lead started, and your sales team is where they will end up, so getting buy-in from these two factions is critical. We’ll talk more about this later today, too.
Further, if you are genuinely ‘stuck’ with this lead – and I’ve heard from a few people about this; they just don’t know what a good next step is for a lead, or their needs have changed and ‘now what do I do,” your marketing team might be able to assist with additional content to keep the lead engaged. Or your sales team is likely a great asset to helping you counter objections and answer questions to help move this lead along.
This does happen much less often when you and your teams have developed a way to score a lead so that – at each stage – you can better assure you are on the right path. It bears repeating, and I’m sure I’ll say it many more times today: you need a way to track, and score leads, and there is no easier or more efficient way. And make sure you can make a case for this lead by making sure you have checked all the boxes to get your M Q L into S Q L territory, and you can prove it on paper before proceeding.
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into your Lead Scoring Model or L S M.
Your L S M is essential. And, if your team is involved in crafting your L S M, buy-in will follow. Products and content from your marketing team will be so valuable as you identify an M Q L and beyond. And your sales team will be expecting solidly qualified leads, so you need both. Again, your L S M is your holy grail.
If you think you have a better way than a lead scoring model, I’d love to talk to you and learn about your process. Or just add your thoughts in the section below
Okay, so before we talk about leads moving into new categories, let’s get your teams together in the same room and start developing your very own L S M.
First, everyone should really have an ideal lead and their ideal journey in their mind. Of course, this won’t happen every time or possibly none of the time, but it is vital to have your one hundred percent perfect lead and journey, so you have a way to score every lead.
Questions that might help you identify specific demographic information about your lead are:
- What industry is most appealing to us?
- What title does the ideal buyer have?
- What is the business size that is most likely to buy our product(s)?
- How soon would our perfect lead be ready to buy?
- What challenge would our ideal client have that we can best solve?
Often, teams will get hung up on “it doesn’t HAVE to be this demo or that demo,” but focus on what is IDEAL your perfect lead. This model is not designed to help you find ANY business; this model is designed to help you score viable leads and close those leads as efficiently as possible. Again, this is not the ONLY client or lead for you, but homing in on your ideal will help you score other demographics on your L S M.
Next, you should make a list of ‘events or activities your leads will engage in that show their level of interest while in your funnel-like, they gave us their email, read our newsletters, etc. And then start scoring those events. The weights assigned to these events will determine the most appropriate next steps.
For example, getting a lead to give you their email address would likely score higher than them just liking your social media page. And the lead calling your company to ask for information will likely score even higher. Think about your ideal client making the perfect journey to develop these weights in scoring.
There is no set L S M that will work for every company, but I can tell you that as you develop this model, the journey will become evident. This will be critical to future success, so spend the time here, and it will pay off. And it will also take some tweaking. There will be some leads that cause you to re-examine your model – and that’s okay. The important part is to stay open to change and be brave enough to make adjustments to make you more efficient and more successful.
If this sounds confusing and you’d like a little more guidance, I’d love to talk with you about it.
All of your hard work, A K A homework, will pay off as you design the journey for your lead. Yes, it would be fantastic if someone went right from contact to buyer, but as that is unlikely, we’ll need to be a little more thoughtful and intentional with this process.
So, as you develop your L S M, imagine yourself not as a salesperson but as a marketing travel agent. Your job is to craft a trip for your lead that will keep them engaged and still give you access to some more information you need from them. What steps are going to be seamless? How can you best build trust and keep engaged with this lead? Don’t race for the destination; design the trip, and the finish will happen.
While we are not racing to the finish, I’ve often found that thinking about the goal first and then working backward is helpful. And, if you begin with the end in mind, you have a critical perspective about the entire process.
So, what do YOU need on this journey?
You need information. You need to engage and shape this S Q L into an excellent lead for your sales team. At each stage in the funnel, you need to ensure you are getting what you need and that the lead is meaningfully engaged. Eventually, you should also develop a sense for when the lead is ready for the next step. Again, consult your L S M if you have doubts.
No one enters your sales funnel with an aching need to be sold to. If they do, congratulations! But most of the time, they start their own sales journey by looking for information, and you need to keep that part in mind.
Most of all, your journey is designed to build trust with your lead. You will be best served if you can put yourself into the role of “trusted advisor.” There will be a time to move to a more sales-y position, but you will risk losing this lead if you take that step too soon.
The absolute best way to seamlessly move your M Q L to S Q L is to put on your educator hat and take that role seriously. Stay engaged and function as a resource. You might even consider going back to your marketing team to find content – videos, blogs, podcasts – that you can share to reinforce your position as an industry expert and a trusted partner. Education is the first step in the sales process, and sometimes those that move too fast past education lose the lead.
Let’s say that you’ve done all of your homework, and this process works amazing for your first lead through it. Congratulations! Now, you have to keep your mind open to the possibility that it won’t work the same way again for lead #2. This is going to happen, if not for lead #2, but maybe lead #49 or lead #999. You will, at some point, need to refine your process.
You might remember in an earlier episode where we talked about flexibility and patience. So, dust off your patience and hone your flexibility because you are going to need it.
The best L S M in the world is really just numbers at the end of the day. You should stay open to refining how you score, how you move a lead through your funnel and how you keep this journey engaging for your soon-to-be client.
And that means…you guessed it…homework. Best practices indicate you’ve been taking notes about what is working and what needs some adjustment. Get a notebook, use a notes app on your phone, whatever. Just keep track of what made one lead work and what hindered another. This information will come in handy when you have to make adjustments to your L S M.
Your sales funnel is as much art as it is science.
Make sure your teams are open, and you’re communicating with them about the process. As I mentioned earlier, they should be a part of your L S M and planning, so they deserve to be in on any tweaking and changes to the model.
For your marketing team, come to them with more ideas and solutions and less complaining about how it’s “not working.” Be specific about what you need and stay open to innovative ideas from your team. Since your marketing is what started the journey, it is vital to communicate and remain open. The content isn’t necessarily bad; it just might need a refresh to stay current and relevant. What worked one time might not work another time.
For your sales team, remember that they might be frustrated after a string of bad leads. They probably want to see changes made as soon as possible but remind them – in a positive way – that tweaks to the model might take a little time. And, while the changes will pay off overall, stay patient while we work out some of the kinks.
Also, your sales team has some valuable information they need to share. If they can provide specific feedback about why a lead shouldn’t have moved through the process, that can help you immensely adjust your L S M. In frustration, we all have uttered phrases like “this sucks,” and you should push for more because there is helpful information to be gleaned.
If you have questions, comments, concerns, or additions to anything we talked about today, please reach out to me, and I’d be happy to chat!
Hey I hope you got something out of this video.
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We’ll see you next time around!