Generating qualified leads is as easy as making a landing page with a special offer and running ads. Kind of like a backyard cookout. Your landing page and special offers are the food, and the ads are your invitations.
However, you don’t make a good cookout with only invitations and burgers. A ‘good cookout’ requires a lot of engagement between you and your prospects. Everyone needs to have fun.
Consequently, the difference between a regular lead and a qualified lead is the amount of interest and engagement they demonstrate toward your product. In other words, did they bring the coleslaw? A qualified lead will show continued interest in your product (i.e., bring the coleslaw) instead of bringing nothing.
What’s an MQL?
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a lead that your marketing team identifies as having a high amount of potential. Maybe this means that they’re a part of your target audience, or they’ve reached out directly to enquire more.
Your MQL’s are guests that RSVP beforehand or are invitees that you know really enjoy cookouts in general. (Can you tell that I’m hungry?)
The exact definition of what an MQL is to every business will be slightly different, but you’ll know an MQL when you see one. They’ll commonly be pre-identified through analytics as part of a target market.
How About an SQL?
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a possible customer that’s ready to talk to a sales representative.
SQL’s emerge during the ‘cookout’ itself. They’re the guests who visibly enjoy the food you made and with whom you connect on a more personal level. These people are more likely to become close friends (or potential customers), coming back for BBQ after BBQ and purchase after purchase.
You’ll know a sales qualified lead through the behavior they demonstrate on your landing page/main business page. An SQL will revisit your page several times in a short timeframe, download your materials, and demonstrate a high level of general interest.
These prospects are often ready for a more direct sales push.
MQL vs. SQL Leads
These two kinds of leads are often closely related and overlapping, so it can be hard to differentiate between them. However, you can think of the difference like this. (Don’t worry – no burgers will be charred during this comparison.)
MQL Leads are based mainly on predictive data. Targeted marketing to predetermined audiences and well-known niches is the cornerstone of an MQL lead generation strategy. While an unexpected MQL can happen, you’ll often know who your marketing qualified leads will be and how to access them.
SQL Leads are based on reactive data. SQLs are often MQLs that have fulfilled criteria that the sales team has identified as promising. However, while MQLs often become SQLs, sales qualified leads are not limited to MQLs and often present a less predictable customer base.
When considering MQL vs. SQL leads, you should understand their benefits and drawbacks to better search for new customers.
So, what metrics can you use to identify MQLs and SQLs in your new leads?
Identifying MQLs and SQLs in Your Marketing and at Your BBQ
Here are several factors to consider when identifying qualified leads in your marketing efforts. We’ve also included good ways to gather each piece of information.
How a lead behaves on your website is an excellent indicator of their intentions. Do they wander around, not interacting much? Do they move with a purpose? Do they grab what they want and leave right away? Here are some excellent general guidelines for vetting your leads.
Great ways to get this information are site heatmaps, interactive videos like the one below, and Google’s tracking codes.
The more ways you can track and identify lead behavior, the better.
Frequency of Visits
A first-time visitor is often an MQL. If the same lead shows constant engagement with several landing pages (AKA they come to several BBQs in a row), you can begin transitioning them to SQL status.
You can up the chance that an MQL lead will transition to a SQL lead by adding story-based and interactive elements to your page by contracting a video service or by adding them to your email communications with our tool, The Video Bot.
Is an MQL always converting on your interactive videos, returning to your site to watch a video, or filling out a form multiple times to download content over and over?
Congratulations! You’ve just identified an excellent possible SQL for your sales team.
You can encourage this kind of behavior by filling your pages with engaging or beneficial content.
Actions the Lead Has Taken
Did your MQL/SQL/qualified lead download free content? Have they scheduled a live demo of your product? Did they ask to be invited back to your next cookout?
You can determine how to categorize your leads depending on the actions they take. Listen to your cookout guests. They’ll tell you what they want to see and how they want their meat prepared.
Provide several special offers available in a couple different funnels to give MQLs options. Look at the data you’ve gathered and further refine your strategy based on the value your MQLs and SQLs consistently ask for.
The Origin and Demographics of Your Leads
Your marketing department can probably tell you your target demographic off the top of their heads. Customer personas and profiles are central to any marketing push. So, any lead that comes from those channels has a higher chance of becoming an SQL that’s ready to buy.
In short, you know the market better, so you’re more likely to have a better conversation with them.
You should build up a bank of resources specific to your target audience so that you can move them toward SQL status as quickly as possible. Statistically, marketing videos are very good at this.
If a lead asks for direct contact, then they should be a top priority.
Any lead that asks for your time directly demonstrates a strong desire to connect with you on an individual level. This is the business equivalent of your lead asking to get drinks after the BBQ finishes.
They WANT to spend time and money with your organization.
You can increase the chances of direct outreach by putting call-to-actions, contact buttons, and inquiry forms all-around your website and in your interactive videos.
Now That You’re Tracking Your Leads, How Do They Score?
Did you know that 90% of leads disappear because their commitment levels aren’t identified correctly?
Lead scoring is a common practice in the marketing field used to transition qualified leads from MQLs to SQLs.
In short, each lead is given a value based on past data. Afterward, that data is used to determine the steps that need to be taken to create a conversion and, eventually, a paying customer.
Improper lead scoring can demolish any trust that you’ve already built, so proceed with caution.
We suggest using video as a non-threatening way to engage potential customers in a low-risk-high-reward way. The more a customer relates to your brand, the less likely they are to leave, and the faster they convert.
Throwing Your Next BBQ: Transitioning MQLs to SQLs
Now it’s time to hand good leads to your sales team. To do this, you need a sales toolset in place to make stable connections with your newly qualified leads.
Our favorite tool for this is The Video Bot. We like this tool even more than company explainer videos, brand story videos, and outreach through email and over the phone (but only just).
The Video Bot is our sales team’s ultimate soft intro tool.
With just a few clicks and blanks filled in, you can create a personalized, interactive video prepped for emailing to anyone you want. Those videos demonstrate that you care about the connection you’re trying to make with them. Any prospect appreciates that kind of thoughtfulness.
Think of The Video Bot as an extra plate of ribs (or hot dogs, if your BBQ is more “low end”) your prospect can take home with them after your cookout is over.
You can also do more discovery by running slightly more targeted ads that ask for more information from your MQLs. If your MQL engages with those ads, you can move those leads to a SQL status.
Of course, none of this hand-off process is possible without communication between your sales and marketing teams. Check-in on your marketing and sales teams regularly to keep everything moving smoothly.
That’s a Wrap. It’s Time to Clean Up!
Sales is an art form. However, there are some things you can do to increase your odds of success. First, run continuous analytics on the qualified leads you’re bringing in.
How closely are they matching your target customer? Do you need to re-adjust your customer persona or your marketing message to re-optimize your campaign?
Do you need to re-brand to thrive in a changing market? Is your content diverse (do you use text, video, pictures, and interactive elements)?
All of these considerations are going to help you design the best landing page (backyard BBQ) you can have, bringing in many new qualified leads (new friends, YAY!) in the process.