Middle of the Funnel: Getting Qualified Leads to Become New Sales

In the last couple of blogs, we have discussed the marketing and sales funnel, who’s responsibility it is, and a deeper dive into the top of the funnel. Following the sequence of the funnel, we look at the middle of the funnel which is the duel responsibility of Marketing and Sales that requires communication and collaboration. It consists of two stages – Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). This area of the funnel can cause confusion if businesses do not know there is a significant difference between MQLs and SQLs.

Before looking at the differences, let’s look at what happens when a business does not differentiate leads into MQLs and SQLs.

  • All leads are treated the same, both poor and qualified
  • Your CRM becomes cluttered with leads who feel pressured and confused
  • Ownership of leads is ambiguous
  • Divisiveness rises between Marketing and Sales due to unnecessary work and follow up
  • The business loses money in this area of the funnel when qualified leads leave the funnel because they were not properly nurtured

This is not good. Your CRM pipeline should be filled with qualified leads, ownership should be defined, Marketing and Sales should be unified, and your business should not be losing money. This is attainable by understanding the two types of leads.

  1. Marketing Qualified LeadMQLs are leads that are likely to become a customer based on criteria that is defined by intelligence gathered from data. This data is gathered from sources of analytics such as Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. When leads enter into the MQL stage, Marketing must vet the lead and determine based on historical data and patterns if they are considering a purchase or undecisive.
  2. Sales Qualified LeadSQLs, as previously mentioned, have been vetted in the MQL stage and are considered ready to buy. Sales takes the reigns and can guide the lead into a purchase. When the lead is properly vetted, the SQL often moves quickly into the bottom of the funnel.

When Marketing and Sales work together, quality leads are attracted, data is shared easily and leads move quickly from MQL to SQL. When leads slow down in the funnel, either Marketing or Sales takes over based on where the lead is positioned in the funnel. This is a conversation Marketing and Sales need to have to prevent the middle of the funnel from becoming bloated with qualified leads that are not ready to purchase and eventually leave.

If your Marketing and Sales departments have not had a conversation about MQL and SQL, now is the time. 2020 is just a couple of weeks away. Contact us if you would like to talk about integrating the middle of the funnel (MQL and SQL) into your sales funnel.

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