Learn How to Look at B2B Lead Generation Services through the lens of the MQL and SQL Leads Qualification
Whether you’re an established business or a startup, you have most likely arranged b2b lead generation services somehow, either in-house or by outsourcing. And you know there is a huge number of lead generation methods, from cold emails and social media (business leads are better to search on LinkedIn rather than Facebook and Co, you know it, right?) to public events and trade fairs. But you’re wondering whether it is possible to speed up b2b sale leads through all the stages of your sales funnel. In fact, it is indeed possible, if you can qualify leads and use different nurturing strategies accordingly.
Let’s zoom in on
- Marketing Qualified Leads, and
- Sales Qualified Leads
This article will tell you the characteristics of basic lead types in marketing and sales – MQLs and SQLs – and how they differ and are unlike each other. If you’re willing to choose a b2b lead generation services company, you will know what to look for. Once a business gets a knack of how to make a b2b sale lead generation gets easier.
Use an ICP for B2B Sale Lead Generation
The first step in qualifying leads is not just to know your target audience but to differentiate all types of customers into a number of Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP). Then you will have a better understanding of what brings b2b sale leads to your landing pages and what conditions they require to make their first purchase on your website. Next, you will see at what stages of your sales funnel different leads convert. Having such data, you will find it easier to match a batch of leads at hand to your ICPs and stop wasting your time and efforts on those who are way outside the scope of your business.
At that, it would be misleading to suggest that there is a clear-cut set of criteria for you to follow, having learned which you can apply to all your leads. The fact is that all businesses are different and what’s good for a certain company in a certain industry won’t fit your business situation. So what’s left for you? To figure out what works best for your particular purpose using our advice and recommendations.
How to Tell MQLs from SQLs?
Basically, MQLs and SQLs differ by the leads’ readiness to make a purchase. And in fact, the abbreviations ‘MQL’ and ‘SQL’ are almost the same as the good old basic ‘lead’ and ‘prospect’. Having several terms for the same phenomena does confuse people but on the other hand, specifying terms helps us develop a more nuanced understanding of what is going on. So, let’s take a look at a buyer’s journey and see how leads move through it.
From common website visitors to people on the verge of making a deal, a lead has developed a wide array of connotations. If website visitors have no interaction with your content: they refrain from downloading your content and providing their contact information in your forms, they remain just visitors. Once visitors engage with your content somehow, they become leads, unqualified yet but based on their behaviors your sales reps and marketers already have enough information to qualify them and assist their movement along the sales funnel. If leads do at least something more than just browsing your website and passively consuming your content, you can qualify them as MQLs. The difference between ‘start-of-the-journey’ leads and Marketing Qualified Leads lies in particular actions they take. In addition to reading articles, clicking on your ads, and repeatedly coming back to your website, as ordinary leads do, MQLs also share their contact details, request additional information, sign up for your newsletter, and do other actions that imply that they are trying to find a solution for their pain points with your product. Normally, MQLs don’t make a purchase just yet. They need some time to ponder on the qualities of your product and nurturing strategies can overall help them move along the sales funnel.
In turn, leads can be qualified as SQL when they are approaching a purchase: they request price lists and discount rates; add products to a shopping cart, and ask questions from sales reps. In fact, active sharing of relevant information is a major criterion for SQL. If a lead lets sales reps know their role in the company, their pain points, and their needs, most probably they are about to make a deal. So many sales reps, SQLs also go by the name of ‘prospects.’
How fast your potential clients move through the stages of MQLs and SQLs depends on a chosen strategy both from marketers and sales reps. Sometimes leads take their time before making a purchase and you may find it difficult to tell MQLs from SQLs. Rely on their readiness to make a purchase. If leads are just learning about your services or are not in the position to buy, they are MQLs. Offer them more material or suggest solutions for their issues. If they are on the verge of buying, they are SQLs. Offering discounts or custom-tailored pricing offers may encourage them to close a deal sooner.
Should You Buy B2B Leads?
You may. But you need to be cognizant of the drawbacks of ready-made lead lists. First of all, companies that sell ready-made client lists do not normally promise addresses to be fresh and updated. As a result, you pay and get loads of names and addresses your sales team will spend hours and hours on checking and evaluating with rather insignificant results. You might as well have spent that much time on your own lead generation.
However, if you want to buy b2b leads no matter what, do it through paid services that sell subscriptions rather than ready-made lists (i.e. VoilaNorbert). They keep a constant flow of fresh leads for your pipeline and offer integrations with other features.
Furthermore, you are right to think that you need to invest some money into lead generation, but let it be software rather than lead lists. Keeping your outbound efforts the most efficient, make sure email deliverability rates for your email campaigns are high. Prevent bouncing off of your emails by installing a trustworthy email spam checker.
What Do You Think?
Now, when you know the difference between b2b sale lead types, decide whether you do lead qualification on your own or hire a lead generation agency. At Belkins, we can not only generate leads for your sales funnels but also hand-pick the best leads for your sales times to close deals.