For most businesses, success relies heavily on how leads are handled. Knowing when a lead is ready to be handed off to the sales department is crucial. There are two basic types of leads that businesses need to differentiate. They include the marketing qualified leads (MQL) and the sales qualified leads (SQL).
Difference Between MQL and SQL
Contacts that are sales-ready but not quite ready for any personal, direct attention from a salesperson is considered an MQL. On the other hand, when a lead is ready for direct attention from a team member in the sales department, this is an SQL.
These should be a top priority for businesses to engage with. The exact definitions of these two types of leads will vary between industry and can be significantly based on sales and marketing in the company – for more information check the MQL vs SQL article by 310 Creative.
Customer Lifecycle Relating To MQL vs SQL
- Subscriber – Enrolled in subscription or blog.
- Lead – Completed form on the website but no phone number or identification submitted.
- MQL – Completed form on the website using their name, phone number and pain point.
- SQL – Completed a decision form on the website and has accepted being contacted.
- Opportunity – The sales team has been given all the information and turned lead into an opportunity.
- Customer – A purchase has been completed. The sales team will need to initiate onboarding for closing to occur.
A close relationship between the marketing and sales department of an organization is required to best differentiate between MQLs and SQLs. This is crucial for a successful handoff process.
Importance Of Handoff Process
The way a lead is handed off from marketing to sales is very important. To be done effectively will require making adjustments to the process when necessary.
When each stage of your customers’ lifecycles and the handoff process to sales from marketing is being defined, you will need to take time and document these definitions. This is where creating an SLA can come in handy. A service level agreement can set the goals for each team and how they plan to contribute to the handoff process.
Elements Of MQL vs SQL To Consider
One of the more important factors to consider when determining the differences between MQL and SQL is a lead’s behavior when on your website. The way they engage with your company is important. Each company will have to determine the weight particular actions or pieces of demographic information has for each lead. No matter how each behavior gets prioritized, below are some common characteristics all companies should monitor:
- First-time website visitors versus repeat website visitors.
- How many times a lead fills out a specific online form.
- Determining where they are in the buying cycle by reviewing the content they are visiting on the website.
- Source of lead.
- Negative attributes such as job applicants and competitors.
Some leads will fit into ideal customer profiles. This makes it easy to identify and should be sent to the sales team right away for follow-up. Common B2B examples are industry and company size, but persona and pain points are also great factors to take into consideration when qualifying leads as SQLs or MQLs.
Lead scoring involves using different factors to place a value on a lead. This can come from using behaviors and attributes for defining as an MQL or SQL. Many companies use lead scoring methods that require more effort than the payoff they offer. Before a company implements a lead scoring method, it is important to determine if it is necessary. Some businesses would be better off simply sending leads through pre-determined routes over lead scoring.
Two factors to determine if lead scoring is needed are having sufficient data and representatives having more leads than they can handle. If representatives have too many leads, they will not have the time to evaluate each lead separately.
Organizations should take time regularly to discuss and make changes where necessary to their handoff process. As businesses and buyers change, shifts in the process will be inevitable. Growing a business and its revenue requires the smooth passing of any leads to the sales department from marketing at the right time. When done correctly, your targets will be hit and sales will follow.