What The Hell... Is An MQL?
by Jo Shaer, on August 4, 2015
If you Google the acronym MQL, the results seem to tell you that an MQL is Metaweb Query Language... but that's not the case in Marketing Land!
No, MQL stands for Marketing Qualified Lead and goes hand in hand with its sister SQL or Sales Qualified Lead.
You're none the wiser are you?
For the sales teams of most British companies, the lifecycle of a buyer is just two steps - Leads to Customers and nothing else matters.
A lead is someone who has the interest and authority to purchase your product/service and who has given you their contact details.
The goal of the marketing department is to generate as many leads as possible to pass on to their sales team. The more leads they produce, the more customers... that's the theory.
The problem is that many a Marketing Department fails to qualify their leads. They may be sending over contact details of people but, in most cases, they are not people who are ready to buy.
The sales team will look at those leads and, based on their experience, be able to tell very quickly whether the lead is worth expending any effort on.
Remember Glengarry Glen Ross? The sales team don't always appreciate the lacklustre efforts of their marketing department.
In fact, the stats show that you can actually get more customers from fewer leads - if your sales team is not having to waste time sifting through people who are not ready to buy/don't have the authority or budget to make the purchase.
What The Hell is an MQL?
What your Marketing Department should be looking to do is send the sales team Marketing Qualified Leads.
Yes, but what does that mean?
Well, an MQL is a lead that is more likely to become a customer compared to other leads - because they have the budget and the authority to make the purchase and they need to buy that product now.
That's the sort of leads that the sales team really wants! They don't want to have to persuade and coerce someone who is not even sure they need the product.
How do I work out the MQL for my business?
You need to dig into the data on your website and look at the activity of those leads who became customers. If you can see that they all visited a similar group of pages, that helps you to understand what your potential customers are looking for. It's almost as if they give you the roadmap they took in their decision process.
So, for example, if it is possible to get a trial or a demo of your product prior to making a purchase, you would want to look at which of the individuals who got the trial actually became customers. Take that number and divide it by the number of people who took the trial in total and you get the close rate for your trial.
A trial or a demo is an example of a marketing event. First, you need to work out what the events are for your business - the triggers that are most likely to lead to a sale. And then you calculate the close rates for each event. A simple comparison will then establishes which are the best events to offer the leads who are visiting your website.
Once you can see that your lead has visited all the pages on your website that you know are most often visited by people who become customers, you have a Marketing Qualified Lead who is ready to pass to Sales.
Are you sending the right people to your sales team?
Effective marketers should not be relying on vague assumptions. They should be able to tie every single lead, customer and pound back to the marketing event that created them. That is the power of closed-loop marketing.
What? You can't see that sort of information for your website? No, it's not in Google Analytics. You need a Closed Loop Marketing Software that does it all for you. Learn how this type of software works with the Inbound Methodology to turn your website into a marketing machine!