You should be clear about sales qualified lead definition and the definition of marketing qualified leads. You shouldn’t confuse SQL with MQL.
The sales qualified lead definition includes understanding the terminologies and the indicators (which may be equally important) within your process that will alert you to urge your potential customers to move down the funnel.
When you know all the terms, i.e. prospects, buyer’s journey, but you have a hard time understanding how your company determines and breaks the leads within the sales process, you will end up losing some high-value potential clients.
One of the most important things you need to make sure is to understand the MQL definition and the sales qualified leads definition.
Without a clear array of events that alerts your marketers and then the sales rep of when a prospect is ready to be fit in the funnel and finally closed, you will be pitching the leads that aren’t even ready and lose out on the ones who were ready sooner.
In simpler words, this is the most important step of converting leads into customers.
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Sales Qualified Lead Definition
Sales qualified lead is defined as prospective customer or lead who has been researched and vetted by the organizations marketing department first and then by the sales team of the company and is deemed ready to move ahead for the next stage in the sales process.
Ideally, this lead is someone who is interested in your brand and has come to you either by organic way or through outreach by showing interest in your products up to a certain degree.
After your leads have expressed interest in your product, the details are shown to the sales team who will then vet the leads to further study the leads readiness to buy. At the final stage, the lead is cleared and then made to enter the next stage of the sales process.
The overall process of the sales qualified lead generation looks similar in almost all organizations with both the sales as well as the marketing team.
Difference between Marketing and Sales Qualified Lead Definition
There is obviously some difference between SQL and MQL generation.
If you are the only one talking you are simply giving a lecture. When you lecture an audience to attract them to learn more about your product, you are giving out a grand image of a world which can be created with the products you sell.
Marketing is nothing but giving out a grand lecture and when your prospects begin to ask questions, you begin to converse with them.
The biggest indicator and difference that your marketing qualified leads might be sales ready is their desire and willingness to convert your lecture into a conversation. It’s not that marketing does not involve any interaction.
Email responses, social media, opt-in forms, etc, are the types of communications that can happen during a marketing phase. These conversations are more commonly known as engagement.
These are the things, amongst others, that help a marketing team to score a prospect to study their sales-readiness.
However, the biggest difference between the engagement within the marketing lead and a funnel is when they are looking to start a conversation and who or what they are interacting to. This again will be different for each company.
The Step in the Middle
As per the definition, the layout of both marketing and sales teams are involved before the lead is moved officially in status to SQL.
In a lot of companies, this is done through a separate step called a sales accepted lead. Let’s see a quick break down of this usually speedy step. Once the scoring of the lead reaches a certain level, after which the marketing team alerts the sales team about it.
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A sales rep then schedules a call with the lead to ask other information required for some qualifying questions.
This means that we have moved from the initial lecture to engagement and beyond to a conversation. Also, you may not necessarily pitch them in this call. It will be more of a direct call to learn if they are fit for your product.
You aren’t establishing a club through the exclusion of prospects but you are trying to avoid the customers that don’t really need your product and may not buy it anytime soon or ever for that matter.
Once the sales re-establishes, as per the sales qualified lead definition, that it is indeed qualified for the sales team it becomes an SQL. This means that they have not only accepted the fact that they want to buy your product but are also moving forward with the sales process.
Now that you have landed the leads, what now, how do you go ahead with this?
The best thing about setting a sales funnel process can also be if only sometimes, a traditional sales rep’s biggest nightmare. In case your company has moved the process, you can still use the reps to be all in one with marketing, customer service, and sales team. Your newly established SQL’s can come to a rep who thinks that the leads know nothing.
If you repeat the information and treat the leads as though they are uneducated, this can be a big problem for you.
The opposite of this can also be true. If the reps think that only people who say yes are going to make it through, they can get lazy and will not be able to close all that they could, fully. If this happens, the sales team can get irritated with the marketing team for not sending proper leads their way. Sales Qualified Lead definition explains that the key to having a great lead generation process is the ability to differentiate between the SQLs and MQLs while handling the transfer of leads from the marketing team to the sales team.