Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are the ties that bind sales and marketing teams together. While the relationship between sales and marketing teams can sometimes be strained, ultimately both sides must work together in a synergistic fashion, with an efficient system of lead generation and lead management best practices. When those leads are not just leads, but MQLs – the highest quality leads that have demonstrated a serious interest in buying – sales is even happier, and prosperous alignment between both teams ensues.
However, once marketing has secured these MQLs and passed them over to sales, it can be tempting for Marketing VPs to assume that their job here is done. The truth is that Marketing VPs should be in constant contact with their sales counterpart to ensure that the sales team is using proper lead management best practices when handling the valuable MQLs they’ve been given.
Here are 3 reports to help Marketing VPs ensure that sales is not wasting valuable MQLs.
Lead Aging Over Time
As valuable leads, MQLs should be worked on promptly and frequently – they should be given the regular attention they deserve from sales reps. Looking at a Lead Aging report, filtered by MQLs, will let Marketing VPs know when the last activity taken by a sales rep on each MQL was. It’s important for Marketing and Sales VPs to not let MQLs be neglected after an initial missed connection and to prevent them from languishing in stages for too long.
While lead management best practices can differ by industry and company, the general rule is that they should be worked on in some attempt at least every 7 days. If a rep fails at his or her first attempt to connect with an MQL, they should try again within 7 business days. Should that fail as well, they should try again within the next 7 business days. This type of persistence and commitment is representative of the appropriate effort befitting such a high quality lead that could transform into a tremendous opportunity for the sales team.
Additionally, both Marketing and Sales VPs should monitor how long these MQLs are spending in various stages of the selling process. They need to build positive momentum and advance these leads toward Closed-Won. Having an MQL languish in the ‘Prospect’ stage for more than 60 days is not a great sign for success.
The Marketing Cycle report, filtered by MQLs, tracks the average lifespan of each lead, or how quickly leads convert to opportunities. The goal is to have a consistently low – and getting lower – marketing cycle each month. After all, if these MQLs are as good as the Marketing VP has boasted, they should convert to opportunities very quickly.
Check out this example of a Marketing Cycle report above, filtered by MQLs. In January, the average lead lifespan for such leads was a robust 60 days. Concerned with this lengthy timeframe, the Marketing VP and the Sales VP huddled to enact changes. They pinpointed the absolute highest-quality lead sources to focus on, changed their definition of MQLs to be more stringent, and worked on lead management best practices with the reps working these leads.
Subsequently, the team saw a steady decline in its average lead lifespan over the ensuing months. By the time June rolled around, both teams had gotten down a nice regular cadence of effectively working on MQLs, bringing the average lead lifespan down to a scant 15 days.
Lead Aging by Employee
Many of the best marketing and sales metrics and reports do a great job of holding individuals accountable in their contributions toward team success. The Lead Aging by Employee report is one such report. While the Lead Aging Over Time report provides a great snapshot of how the overall team is treating its leads, its impossible to discern who the weak links on the team are.
Do you have any other lead management best practices or reports to share? Comment below!