What is an MQL and why are they important?

What does the phrase ‘marketing metrics’ mean to you? To many people, marketing metrics are about how many followers you have, how many times your marketing emails are opened, and how much traffic you get to your website. But how important are these metrics to your leadership team? While they are important aspects to your overall marketing campaign, and absolutely important to you the top dogs in your business care about more than how many visitors go to your site, or how many likes you get on a post. Read on to find out what marketing metrics your leadership team cares about most.

It’s a question we are getting asked more and more by clients and prospective clients.  Is it just the latest jargon? Is it important? Can we ignore? Well, this piece of ‘jargon’ is actually extremely valuable, especially in professional services. So, let start with the what it is. An ‘MQL’ is an acronym for a ‘marketing qualified lead’. Leadfuze defines them as “a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence, often informed by closed-loop analytics”.

An accurate definition but in perhaps more simpler terms, an MQL is a contact whose engagement levels indicate that he/she is likely to become a customer.

A great deal of firms neglect the marketing qualified lead approach because they fail to see the true value it can add to their sales pipeline. Understandably, they want to get a new contact’s information over to sales as soon as it hits the inbox for them to call or send an email to. However, let’s be honest, if you contact every lead who comes into your database straight away with direct sales emails, then there is a high probability that they will hit the “unsubscribe” button and ask not to be contacted again.

So, here are three reasons why we believe the MQL approach is the way forward in professional services:

Offers an in-depth understanding of ideal client

An MQL is someone who has a high probability of becoming a client. The simple act of finding such prospects with potential and offering ongoing relevant thought leadership improves the understanding of who the ideal buyer is and allows them to build trust in your firm.

Improves ROI of Thought Leadership

An MQL has the intention of buying and this intention is reflected in his or her actions. So first and foremost there is a need to put together a list of actions that reveal the desire to purchase. According to Hubspot and Linkedin, 41% of marketers do not use a buyer persona. This is crazy. Create your buyer personas, then define and use the concept of MQLs to boost the ROI of your thought leadership.

Makes the sales funnel more effective

Handing over an MQL to your sales team will be a better utilisation of their time than simply bombarding them with all the immediate contact data you receive from your website. Believe it or not, many companies still do this. Have your sales team and consultants focus on the contacts who have the propensity to buy. This waste of resources can be immediately stopped by following the MQL approach.

Defining a Marketing Qualified Lead:

So, how can you go about defining the criteria for an MQL? Below is a list of steps to help you implement this process with as little disruption as possible:

Develop an agreed-upon definition of “Marketing-Qualified” lead

To develop this definition, sales and marketing must work together. Despite the best intentions, marketing often creates a qualified lead definition but sales never see it. Until there is a clear understanding from both sides, the MQL stage will not be of much assistance to your organisation. Have your marketing and sales team work together to agree a definition.

Determine demographic factors

Choose factors that are already well represented in your customer base. Demographics that are commonly used include industry, company size, location, job title etc. However, you should also include any factors that makes sense for your end goal.

Determine behavioural qualification information

Everyone who interacts with your marketing will leave online and offline footprints that show what they are interested in and, in most cases, how urgent their issue is. By observing the buyer’s behaviours, you can develop scoring criteria for which actions qualify a lead to speak to sales. When a total benchmark score is reached the MQL gets passed over to sales.

Constantly revisit the qualified lead definition

It is so important that each quarter, your sales and marketing teams meet to determine whether the MQL definition should be modified. A good example is if you are launching a new solution, you may be able to reach a whole new demographic.

The hardest part of this process is getting it done, but it is a wise investment of up-front time that will reward your business with better-qualified leads, shorter sales cycles and more sales quotas being met. Always remember that in sales and marketing, the object of the game is to grow the pipeline and win new business.

There are several platforms that can allow you to monitor your marketing qualified leads, including: Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua and MailChimp and more and more new platforms are emerging every day.

If you want to learn more about how an MQL approach will benefit your firm, or to get advice on which platform is most suitable for you then feel free to speak to us. From London to Dubai, New York to Shanghai, we’ve rolled out programmes that have helped professional services firms to increase both revenues and awareness. And most importantly, we’ve found out what works and what doesn’t. Contact us to find out how we can help.

What does the phrase ‘marketing metrics’ mean to you? To many people, marketing metrics are about how many followers you have, how many times your marketing emails are opened, and how much traffic you get to your website. But how important are these metrics to your leadership team? While they are important aspects to your overall marketing campaign, and absolutely important to you the top dogs in your business care about more than how many visitors go to your site, or how many likes you get on a post. Read on to find out what marketing metrics your leadership team cares about most.

Revenue creation – ROMI

Your leaders will want to know the positive effect your marketing investments and campaigns are having on sales productivity – both in terms of pipeline and closed revenue. In short, they will want to know what they are investing and what they are getting out in revenue numbers. Make sure you share success stories and be able to share your ROMI (Return on your marketing investment) percentage. This is a simple equation, just calculate how much you are spending and what you have been getting in, in terms of revenue and the percentage difference between the two is your ROMI number.

The Cost – Customer acquisition

Your leadership team will also want to know how much marketing is costing the business. Aside from the overall marketing budget, your leadership team will want to know the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) which is calculated by dividing the total sales and marketing cost by the number of new customers you’ve brought in. For example, if your total sales and marketing cost (including all marketing activities, staff salaries, commissions and overheads) comes to £100,000 for a month, and you get 100 new customers, your CAC will be £1000. The ideal is to show you are bringing this number down by reducing spend yet increasing customers.

Marketing Originated Customer Percentage

It’s not always easy to assess how many clients you get as a direct result of marketing. If possible, allow clients an option to say how they heard about the company, and include several options for different forms of marketing. Google analytics is also a great source of finding attribution. Once you have the information simply divide the number of customers you secured as marketing leads for a given period by the total number of customers for the same period. This will create the marketing originated customer percentage, which you can use to show your leadership team how effective your campaigns have been.

Marketing Influenced Customers

Ideally, all customers would originate from your marketing efforts however that’s not going to be the case. But, some of the non-marketing originated customers may have been influenced by your marketing activities. They may have been invited to an event or a webinar or sent a report to download from one of your sales team or consultants. Activities which might not have generated the original lead but can still have played a role in closing a sale. To calculate this number, determine how many leads in a given time period interacted with your marketing efforts at some point and then divide this number by the total number of converted leads, you’ll then have the percentage of marketing influenced customers.

It’s then important to provide context around your numbers. Highlight some of the names of the customers, especially if they are tier 1 target organisations your firm has been targeting. Share stories. Show your value.

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