Set a Strong MQL Follow-Up Strategy and Close More Sales

Strategy Leads Become Oppotunities

You received a marketing qualified lead! You’re ecstatic and shoot them an email requesting a time to meet. Days go by, you hear nothing, your enthusiasm fades. Maybe they aren’t interested after all. Wrong! A percentage of your leads are ready to have a conversation right now. Others find your content or website useful but aren’t ready to talk yet. You won’t know this unless you call, and keep pursuing.

Think about it.

Your potential client only became a marketing qualified lead (MQL) because they met the engagement criteria you defined at the start of your lead generation campaign. Something about your company and services grabbed their attention. But unless your MQL is desperate for a solution right now, they won’t take the initiative. It’s your responsibility to follow up and start the conversation. Use prospecting strategies to follow up with your leads.

Use a Variety of Tactics to Follow Up with Your Leads

Like I said, one email isn’t enough. You’ve got to call them too. Your marketing qualified lead might be excited to hear from you, or they might not return your call. That doesn’t mean your MQL is ignoring you. They might be busy or may have simply forgotten. You can’t rely on a single outreach strategy. Call and email. If they don’t pick up the phone, leave a voicemail. You could even try using social media, like a LinkedIn message, to reach out to them.

Make multiple attempts over 3 or 4 days, trying different times of the day. They may not respond to your 9:30 a.m. phone call because they have a daily 15-minute meeting at that time. If after a week you don’t reach your MQL, leave them in your campaign, and try again later if they continue to engage.

Use messaging that fits your personality

My friend and peer, Lynn Hidy, often uses creative messages when she follows up with marketing qualified leads – she’s even worked in movie references to her emails! It fits who she is and her target market. I tend to be a bit more conservative but will still share a fun detail when appropriate. If I’m following up on a Friday afternoon, I might mention how I’m getting ready to leave the office and go on a weekend ski trip. It’s a small detail but can have a powerful impact. It reminds your MQL you’re a person and can help build rapport.

When to stop sending lead generation campaigns to marketing qualified leads

Your outreach objective is to determine if your MQL is actually a sales qualified lead (SQL) and then start moving them through your sales process. If you make contact, and your prospect is qualified, you no longer want to include them in your lead generation campaigns. You’ll also take them out if they aren’t qualified, with a few exceptions, because you now know that they’re not a fit, so including them in your lead generation campaigns doesn’t make sense anymore.

When you aren’t able to make contact with your marketing qualified lead, leave them in your lead generation campaigns. It might be that they’re not ready to talk yet. Leads that are marketing qualified, but not yet a sales opportunity, will stay in your campaign and continue to bubble up to the surface. You can follow up with them periodically. Unless, of course, they ask to be removed. In that case, remove them. You’re not going to win them over by sending them campaigns they’ve asked not to receive.  

Keep track of how many of your marketing qualified leads convert to sales qualified leads. This is the basis for your MQL-to-SQL conversion rate.

Why You Need to Monitor Your MQL-to-SQL Conversion Rate

One of the critical sales metrics I advise sales reps and managers to monitor is how many MQLs convert to SQLs. These metrics can help you identify challenges in your sales process. Often, when your MQLs aren’t converting to SQLs, it’s time to refresh your prospecting skills.

Part of getting to “yes” faster is building a relationship. Your lead generation campaign is the first step. You continue the process through conversations where you get to know your prospect, their concerns and goals.

If your sales process is breaking down, MQLs aren’t converting, or you want hands-on learning that will help you and your sales team generate more revenue sign up for one of our prospecting training courses.

Your marketing qualified leads do want to hear from you. With the right follow-up strategy and a little patience, you’ll see more of your marketing qualified leads turn into new opportunities!

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