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When an MQL is not an SQL and never will be!

James Crowder | 13 April 2022

In an ideal world every visitor to your website, inbound call or event attendee would be a lead worthy of following up. However, in the real world, you know that leads have to be carefully sifted before you can pass them over to sales.

Inevitably sales will take some satisfaction from telling you when an MQL is not an SQL, so it's important to preempt this and know when an MQL is unlikely to convert. Here are nine ways to tell when an MQL is not an SQL:

  1. The lead visited the website but didn’t actually engage with any of your content – they may have filled a form out in order to access a single piece of content and hence become a lead but did they engage with any of your other content? A single download does not make an SQL.

  2. The lead has been enjoying your content for months and has entered their details on more than one occasion, however before you pass it on to sales – is the company the right size, are they likely to have the budget for your products and services? A simple online credit check from companies like credit safe or Experian can provide the answers.

  3. Just as you can check if a company is suitable, you can also check to see if a contact is likely to be the decision-maker that sales need to speak to. A quick check on LinkedIn could provide you with their job role; from this, you can make an educated guess as to whether they are the right level contact for sales to speak to.

  4. When did the lead become a lead? Today, yesterday, a week ago? Timing is everything, it is no good passing on leads that are a week old as they may already have moved on and begun engaging with a competitor.

  5. Equally, a visitor who downloaded a single infographic aimed at the awareness stage of the customer journey probably doesn’t want a phone call telling them how you can help straight away. Trying to sell to a lead too early in their journey may put them off from engaging with you at a later date.

  6. Just because a lead downloaded a piece of content doesn’t mean that they want to be bombarded with updates and newsletters. Be very clear about what people are signing up for and listen when they say no, nurturing a lead takes time.

  7. Have you thought about all three stages of the buyer's journey and provided appropriate content for each? If a lead doesn’t have enough of the right kind of information, how can they know if you are what they are looking for and if they don’t know, how can you?!

  8. Has your marketing overpromised on the proposition that can actually be offered? If leads are expecting a certain level of service from the marketing materials but find out something different from sales, they are unlikely to continue the sales process.

  9. What is the lead's history and have they been spoken to before or are they a new contact? If they have been in contact before who did they speak to and what was discussed? Sales cannot effectively follow up a lead without knowing the history.

And there you have it, nine times when an MQL isn't an SQL. And that's ok! It's better to know when a lead won't convert, before wasting any of your, or others, time chasing them up. Though be aware of the fact that whilst your MQL isn't an SQL right now, it doesn't mean it won't be in the future. Through lead nurture, you can continue to build your relationship with a lead until they're ready to buy. We explore this process in our guide: How to Convert MQLs into SQLs. 


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