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How to Generate Higher Quality B2B Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

Are you are looking to improve your B2B Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and lead nurturing process?

Fact: 97% of the leads from marketing are not useful to sales(1).

Marketing Qualified Leads

Most B2B marketing and sales teams find it difficult to set up a good process to qualify “leads” before spending valuable time on them.

The harsh reality is that marketing often scores and qualifies a lead based on actions such as downloads, clicks, form submissions, and open rates. But these signals are not necessarily sufficient for sales. For example, there may be no budget, no urgency or a real need, the action could be purely for education etc.

Over time the sales team comes to view these “MQLs” as less and less valuable.

That’s a big problem. 

So, instead of using the sales team as the lead qualifier to reject leads, how can B2B marketing teams adopt a more robust lead nurturing and qualification process?

A Quick Review of the Challenge

Lead scoring and nurturing has widely been reduced to a mathematical problem.

  1. We assign points when certain things happen.
  2. Then when the score exceeds a threshold we want to pass the lead on to sales
  3. We check the various boxes on our monthly dashboards.
  4. We showcase the leads that result in something 

The trouble with steps 1 to 4 is they look really logical but no one is genuinely happy with the process. The process looks great for a few months as the shiny new toys are implemented, but when folks start drilling down into the actual impact such as revenue or new deals, there is a real danger of focusing on driving the wrong things.

We go through the motions even thought we know that we need to do something else to get to real value.

So, most B2B marketing teams will spin harder and faster to produce more content, send more emails, run more ads, and so on. It’s a vicious cycle but it seems to be the only way to go. The focus on top-of-the-funnel content becomes paramount even though that’s not where the problem really is.

It’s even more complicated when your sales team rejects a lead. What happens then? How do you nurture them back “knowing what you know now”? If lead generation is in focus, then lead nurturing and qualification are difficult to get the attention they deserve.

Finally, if you have a marketing automation system AND a separate CRM system, then it’s guaranteed that the integration is finicky or pretty dismal at best. Everyone is happy in isolation with their kingdoms, but very few are actually looking at the end to end process of how you qualify and nurture leads.

The Solution to a Good B2B Marketing Qualified Lead

We think one of the big problems underlying all of this is the inability to interact with the prospect with context.

Here is how you could empower both your marketing and sales teams with Evalinator:

  1. Create interactive content to generate granular lead data. That will allow you to enable personalized auto-responders rather than sending overly broad material. 
  2. Give users incentives to take it. e.g. get access to a infographic or benchmarking 
  3. Marketing now can hand off the really relevant MQLs to sales, while keeping the others in the nurturing pool. 
  4. Sales can also use the same interactive content to continue the interaction. So sales leaders can now develop an end to end sales pursuit process.
Follow Up & Lead Nurturing

Here’s how you can upgrade how you interact with the leads that are coming in from your interactive content. Conversations with SDRs or the follow ups by the marketing team can follow a semi-automated cycle like this:

  • Follow up 1:  “70% of respondents actually scored higher on this category. Do you want more information?. Do X or Y”.
  • Follow up 2: Let’s set up a short term goal to do Z?

As is evident, X, Y, and Z are options that indicate a higher level commitment. For example, provide more information on budget and project need, ask other members of their team to get involved, agree to a short term goal to do something, etc.

All of this can still happen through your marketing automation system. You can compliment that with a little bit of manual touch for more promising leads.

Three things can happen:

  1. The lead is going to push for a sales meeting – the best case.
  2. You will build up valuable context about the lead (important goals, budget, schedule etc.). Such leads work out much better when sales gets them.
  3. The lead will not respond in the right way to any higher level commitment. In which case, it was never a good lead to pass to sales to begin with. So you keep nurturing them.
Summary

The process of flagging a lead as a Marketing Qualified Lead needs to become more sophisticated. 97% of such leads are not useful to sales or are ignored.

In the long run, this is bad for a B2B marketing team’s morale, and also affects the productivity of the entire sales and marketing engine.

So, if you haven’t already, consider creating interactive content that is aligned with your key bets and sales offers. For example a marketing agency might have something like, “Is your SEO cutting it for you?”. A technology services company might create “Are you maximizing the time of your data scientists?” or “Is your data strategy up to the mark?”. A product development firm might create “Is your product development cycle geared for success?”.

Try Evalinator and see if it is right for your situation. You don’t need to pay anything until the free trial ends.

References:
  1. Marketing Qualified Leads statistics
Next steps

If this approach sounds reasonable to you, then there is nothing better than testing it out! Get started for free and craft your first assessment. We are here to help you be successful.

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