How to Improve Converting MQLs to SQLs to Close

Quick Summary: Businesses could be generating many leads each month, but few are turning into customers. Reassess strategies to improve conversion rates.

What are MQLs and SQLs?

MQL stands for marketing qualified lead, a contact who has expressed interest in your product or service at the top of the funnel sales cycle. MQLs are generated from the user downloading gated content, digital advertising, email signups, etc. The goal of generating MQLs is to gain high-qualified leads eager to become a customer so that an MQL can transition to SQL.

SQL stands for sales qualified lead, a contact who is eager to engage with the business at the bottom of the funnel sales cycle. SQLs are generated when a user signs up for a free trial or demo, requests more information on products or services, and requests to be contacted. Sales teams will determine who is a viable prospect if they meet their criteria.

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Here are 8 ways to boost your MQL to SQL to Close

1. Marketing and Sales Alignment

Until recently, marketing and sales teams worked in “silos,” but as businesses evolve, we’ve learned that unified teams work more efficiently and perform better together. Clumsy lead handoffs and duplicate communications can damage a buyer’s perception of your business and possibly lose the opportunity. Instead, integrate as one organization. This includes goals, processes, communications, and optimizing as a team to boost sales and grow the business.

2. Improve Lead Handoff Process

  • Determine who will own the vetting of an incoming lead. Not all leads are created equal, and it stands to reason that there may be some dead weight that comes in alongside the truly viable opportunities. When it comes to lead distribution amongst a driven team, you’ll want to have a screening process in place to ensure that only truly MQLs & SQLs are being filtered to your salesforce accordingly.
  • Establish a clear & transparent workflow of lead distribution to alleviate any confusion between sales reps.
  • Agree on a process for timely follow-up that ensures that all leads are prioritized and responded to with alacrity.

3. Make sure your team has a solid knowledge of products and services

It’s imperative that each sales team member clearly understands the products and services they are trying to sell, along with business processes for onboarding and such. If the prospect has any objections, be sure the team can ensure the company’s value.

Prospects will have questions before closing and look to the team for expertise, so make sure each team member in contact with the potential customer can be an ambassador for the company.

4. Have case studies/success stories available to reference

Build credibility and trust with prospects by sharing case studies, success stories, and results from your business’s past successes.

5. Define target audience and buyer personas

Define your target audience and buyer personas on the ideal customers you’d like to close for your business. Collect information about current customers and group them based on industry, B2B/B2C, goals, and challenges. Once you understand who to target, your marketing team can use this information to help them attract the right type of customers.

6. Improve follow-up communications

No one likes a pushy salesperson. Ask questions to properly understand your prospect’s buying process, key stakeholders, and timeline to a decision. Obtain approval on their preference for communication and the right cadence for them to ensure that your outreach is met with enthusiasm at the right time in their buying cycle. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of making a transaction all about your timeline and needs rather than prioritizing what will work best for your prospective clients.

Leverage phone, email, or social media communication as appropriate for any given opportunity (though not necessarily equal for all). Be equally mindful of texting prospects. Historically, texting has been seen as arguably the most personal communication method and can be frowned upon in business. However, you may find that some prospects welcome and prefer it as a general means of communication.

7. Analyze and evaluate your offerings

Constant analysis and humility in your sales process are critical to an ever-growing and vital salesforce.

Always be learning. Never rest on your laurels. Growth doesn’t have to be synonymous with NEW products and services, either. There’s an equal value in establishing goalposts on your services and doing a few things really, REALLY well in favor of trying to be all things to all prospects. Then you run the risk of overextending your value and potentially offering subpar services.

8. Always be soliciting feedback on opportunities you lose.

  • How could you have better positioned your services?
  • Did you lose on pricing?
  • Would a trial period have better served you in favor of a long-term commitment?
  • Did you leverage your company’s right resources to make your very best business case possible? And so forth…

Focus on Your Overall Customer Experience

Prioritizing the customer experience and unifying your sales and marketing teams will improve the rate at which you convert leads into customers and hit your sales goals.

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