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Sales-Qualified Leads (SQL)

A sales-qualified lead is a prospect that has shown some level of interest in your product or services. Your marketing team will typically identify them in advance based on research on your prospects’ buyer journey.

Depending on the size of your organization, you might have multiple teams working together to qualify prospects. These teams focus on identifying potential customers that fit your ideal customer profile. Once these individuals have been identified, they can then be passed from marketing to sales for further prospecting.

SQL vs. MQL: What is the difference?

A marketing-qualified lead (MQL) is a lead who has already engaged with your brand via email, phone call, social media interaction, etc. These leads are typically generated through paid advertising campaigns, such as Facebook ads, display ad campaigns, remarketing campaigns, etc., and represent the highest quality prospects. They have shown interest in what you offer and are now ready to talk to someone to learn more.

An MQL becomes an SQL (sales-qualified lead) once they are ready to speak to a sales expert. A sales-ready lead is a lead that has engaged with your company but hasn’t yet reached out to your sales team. This might mean they haven’t purchased anything from you, or they haven’t even taken action yet. Regardless, they are still interested in what you offer and could potentially become a customer if nurtured correctly.

Lead scoring: What is it?

The process of moving a potential customer from a marketing-qualified lead to a sales-qualified lead can vary depending on the type of business, but it usually begins with lead scoring.

Lead scoring is the practice of assigning points to each lead generated for the business. These points are used to determine whether a lead is worth pursuing further.

You can score your leads based on several factors, including the professional information you receive about them, how they engage with your website and brand online, or even the job title of the professional. This data allows sales and marketing departments to prioritize hot leads, respond to prospects appropriately, and increase the likelihood that those promising leads turn into actual customers.

How to increase sales-qualified leads

Sales managers have the greatest incentive to pursue only those pre-qualified leads they can actually sell to – their closure rate. By chasing poor quality leads, however, their closure rates plummet. But what happens when you chase leads that aren’t even worth pursuing?

Worse still, it is a major source of frustration for sales reps when they struggle to close sales, not due to the weakness of their pitches but because the leads are just not ready or interested enough in buying.

So if your sales team’s closure rates remain low, maybe, before reviewing your pitches, consider whether the quality of leads sent down to the sales department is high enough.

Here are 10 ways to increase sales-qualified leads:

  1. Use lead scoring to identify potential buyers
  2. Create nurturing content marketing campaigns to keep prospects engaged
  3. Make sure your marketing automation system sends out relevant and personalized emails
  4. Track your campaign performance using analytics
  5. Measure the success of your content by tracking the click-through rate and conversion rate
  6. Identify the best times to reach out to your audience
  7. Follow up after initial contact
  8. Ask for referrals from existing clients
  9. Offer product demos
  10. Have a strong call to action

The key to increasing sales-qualified leads is to get more prospective customers into the sales funnel. Once there, you need to nurture them until they are ready to buy.

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