Sales qualified leads (SQLs) are leads that have a high probability of turning into a customer. This is because SQLs are leads that have been vetted and qualified by a sales rep. Essentially, sales reps look at key criteria such as demographic characteristics like job title and seniority. Plus, sales reps look at firmographic characteristics of the company the lead is at like size and industry. Identifying which leads in the CRM have optimal buyer characteristics allows for sales teams to understand which opportunities are likely to close versus others.
But, what happens when the above is defined but the leads that the marketing team is uncovering don’t match? Consider these statistics. 61% of B2B marketers pass along all of their marketing qualified leads to sales. However, only 27% of those leads are actually qualified enough to move from MQL to SQL. The result? Sales reps ignore about half of the leads sent to them by the marketing team.
Obviously, the process mentioned above is inefficient and hardly yields the best results. In this blog, we’re unveiling the top 4 best ways for sales and marketing teams to align on what makes an SQL.
Marketing qualified leads vs. sales qualified leads
Before we dive in, let’s be clear on the distinction between marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads. First, a lead indicates and quantifies their interest in a brand and/or the brand’s offerings via buyer engagement. After being warmed up through lead scoring, campaign development, and other marketing tactics, the marketing team determines if the lead is worthy for sales to review. If the lead is declared worthy, they become an MQL.
Then, when the MQL has been vetted by the sales team and is deemed qualified enough based on specific requirements such as their lead nurturing score, they become an SQL. Only then will that lead receive personalized follow-up from a sales rep, with the ultimate goal of closing a deal. So, it’s critical that sales and marketing teams are in constant communication and alignment. Thus, sales and marketing teams must collaborate when it comes to developing the criteria for SQLs.
1. Implement a lead scoring model to shorten the sales cycle
A lead scoring system is the process of assigning points to leads based on their behavior, personal information, and interactions with your brand. Lead scoring helps to qualify leads based on their engagement with your brand. The number of points awarded for a specific action could vary, meaning many different actions would be required to accumulate a meaningful lead score. For instance, say a lead views several pages on your website in a singular session. If your model is built to mark a lead as an MQL once they reach 100 points, for instance, you could decide that a page view is worth 10 points. Clicking an email is worth 20 points. Downloading an ebook through a LinkedIn ad is worth 35 points. So on and so forth.
A well-thought out lead scoring model shortens the sales cycle as it provides sales reps with highly qualified marketing leads. From here, the sales team can identify the MQLs who check all the boxes in order to become a sales qualified lead. Thus, the sales rep doesn’t need to spend time on leads that are unlikely to make a purchase. Now, sales reps are empowered to win deals by focusing on the most engaged leads — SQLs.
For more information on how to develop a lead scoring model and how lead scoring works, check out our blog, Sales Qualified Leads Increase Win Rates.
2. Leverage email to engage your sales qualified leads and convert them into opportunities
Once an SQL is confirmed, the sales team can begin reaching out with relevant information that will drive the SQL toward making a purchase. Commonly, this outreach is performed via email. Meaning, an email sent from one sales rep to one lead in a holistic and personalized manner. Furthermore, in these email interactions, sales reps share the most relevant content to push buyers to go from sales qualified leads to sales opportunities. Often, the content shared in these emails include (but are not limited to):
- Case studies
- Competitor comparisons
- ROI calculators
So, how will your reps know which content to share with leads? Using a sales enablement platform will allow you to see which content a lead has interacted with recently. This insight can help you determine which use case suits the lead best and then share content pertaining to that specific use case.
To learn more about Sales Enablement, read our guide: What is Sales Enablement?
3. Create an event that will attract and educate potential sales qualified leads
One of the best ways to convert sales qualified leads into opportunities is by creating an event for them to attend. Webinars, meet-ups, and conferences attract sales qualified leads and may just be their final action before converting into a customer. In fact, webinars convert up to 20% of attendees into customers.
Think about it like this. When someone attends your webinar, they’re taking an hour out of their day to listen to your company’s perspective on a particular topic. This is a time-consuming action and so the lead clearly values your company’s insight. Thus, the likelihood of an SQL becoming a sales opportunity after attending a webinar increases.
4. Offer product demos to convert SQLs into customers
Product demos are a surefire way to maximize impact and motivate sales qualified leads to make a purchase. As a matter of fact, the average conversion rate for a product demo is between 26-40% depending on the industry.
In addition, product demos are easy ways to personalize the narrative to best serve the SQL’s needs and use case. For example, take a look at the video below highlighting the features and benefits of Prezentor.
While this video is not a demo (though you can click here to request one), it shows how our sales presentations can be personalized to fit the needs of your prospects. Prezentor allows for the personalization of:
- Specific customer calculations
- Emails including slides of special interest
- Customer branding
Identifying and converting sales qualified leads is critical to sales success, but doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right technology supporting your sales initiatives, you can maximize the impact of your selling tactics.
Find out why Prezentor users increase their sales almost immediately — schedule your demo today.