In track and field, a smooth handoff in the baton race can be the split-second difference between a gold medal and not making it to the podium. In American football, a poorly executed handoff can result in a disastrous fumble and turnover. Meanwhile, in sales, the poor transition of marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) to the sales team can prevent them from effectively handling these leads, essentially wasting these incredibly valuable prospects. Therein lies one of the key reasons of having MQLs as a lead status in Salesforce.
As the last lead status before being passed on to sales, MQLs are a hot commodity. Theoretically, these leads are the cream of the crop among your potential prospects, the ones who have demonstrated a real interest in buying. Therefore, it’s critical that sales connects with these leads promptly and frequently.
One of the most essential reasons to having MQL as a lead status in Salesforce is this process of identifying when leads are absolutely ready for sales. Through a lead scoring program – and your sales organization’s own specific definition of what makes an MQL – your reps should be able to choose ‘MQL’ from the customized picklist in Salesforce that lets your sales reps know when it’s ready to tackle these great leads.
Once these MQLs have been properly identified, the critical process of handing-off the leads to sales must be optimized for maximum efficiency. Having an MQL slip through the cracks and not see any activity or follow-up from your BDRs for two weeks or more is a cardinal sin that is sure to give your Marketing VP a coronary – “I gave you these great leads and you just forgot about them??” Having MQL as a lead status in Salesforce allows your reps to have a clean and organized MQL queue, full of leads that they can prioritize and work on accordingly.
Finally, having MQL as a lead status in Salesforce allows you to test the effectiveness of these MQLs in the first place – just how qualified are they? Is there anything that differentiates them from the buckets of other leads that your outbound prospecting team has sourced?
Looking at a Won/Lost report separated first to include MQLs, and then without, is a good indicator of just how marketing-qualified these leads are. Check out the two reports below. The first one is a Won / Loss report of every opportunity that this sales team has worked with, at a success rate of 16 percent.
The next report filters out all opportunities that began as MQLs. This winning percentage has plummeted 5 percentage points to a scant 11 percent, if the sales reps did not have access to such great leads. Clearly, the MQLs were substantially more valuable – and more likely to Close-Won – than regular leads.
If the data had revealed something different, then the marketing and sales teams would have to huddle up and rectify the situation. Perhaps they need to redefine what qualifies as an MQL, applying more stringent standards to separate the wheat from the chaff. After all, if these MQLs really are a cut above, the data should be representative of their quality.
Having MQL as a lead status in Salesforce is absolutely crucial for you to make these determinations, so ensure that you have an accurate definition for MQLs, that your reps are accurately recording these leads and that there is an efficient workflow for making sure the right reps are putting forth a concerted effort to work on these leads.