The marketing end game is to increase MQLs or marketing qualified leads. The success or failure of your marketing strategy will depend on the MQLs it earns or the lack of them.
Yes, look at that figure – 30% of marketers are judged on the MQL metric. So, you really, really need to ensure your marketing campaign throws a lot of MQLs your way. The next lead qualification is of course Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), but we aren’t talking about SQLs in this article. Our focus is on MQLs and how you can increase them.
Easier said than done, but it can be done, and marketers are doing it. But before we get to the tactics that can see you improving your MQLs, let’s spend some time on MQLs.
However, they are in the product/service research phase and are just going over the lay of the land, as it were. They have expressed an interest in knowing more about your brand, by filling in the contact form or signing up for a free offer. As a potential customer, they want to know more about your brand, and its products and services.
They have shown an interest in the product/service you are selling, and it’s their behavior that will distinguish them from a normal lead. It’s the action they take that will help you qualify these leads.
So, what is the nature of these actions? These could be:
………… And more!
Now that you know the kind of actions that help you identify an MQL, it is time you got to know how to increase MQLs. Let’s take a look at the various ways:
Sounds difficult? No, it isn’t! All you need to do is create the ideal buyer persona. Who is it that you want your message to impact the most? That’s the question you must ask yourself. The correct answers means more MQLs.
It offers a slew of marketing features, which means the target users are marketers. Your ideal buyer persona in this case will be the marketing decision makers such as CMOs, campaign managers, martech executives and more – the people who are going to tell the top management that investing in your SaaS solution makes infinite sense.
88% of B2B marketers are giving importance to the informational needs of their audience? That’s because this strategy works for them. But the only way of knowing what these needs are going to be is by creating a detailed buyer persona.
A buyer persona is critical to an ABM. What you are essentially doing is identifying the businesses/companies that you want to pursue with your marketing strategy. And within these companies, you want to target the buyer personas you have identified. ABM allows you to devote a large percentage of marketing effort to companies that you feel can deliver more value to your business and more importantly avoid marketing to businesses that won’t be interested in your products/services.
It ties in with your inbound marketing so that you can actually go ahead and not just engage but delight your target accounts. You can create personalized messaging that perfectly aligns with the needs and requirements of your accounts.
Accounts are made up of people, and within these people are your buyer personas – It’s all connected.
You know a marketing strategy is working if a large percentage of marketers are going after it. In this case, 67% of marketers are using ABM. No reason why you shouldn’t be leveraging its potential. The answer to how to increase MQLs lies in the success of your ABM campaign.
There is no beating the role content plays in your MQL building efforts. After all, your target audience is going through all the content you have published, to know more about your brand and see your products/services as an ideal solution for their pain points. You need to produce content that is extremely compelling and remember, each piece of content will serve to push prospects further into your marketing funnel – end results – an MQL.
No wonder, 70% of marketers are giving more attention to content marketing. But what content are they actively focusing on? Take a look.
Create content that convinces audiences to think positively about your brand, so much so that they go out of their way to look for the content published by your brand. This is what great content creation is all about.
We discussed ABM in the earlier point; do you know which is one of the primary challenges encountered by marketers vis-à-vis their ABM strategy?
For 37% marketers it is creating customized content. This tells us that content is supercritical for creating those MQLs you are looking for.
You need to be able to share content with your target personas through the channels they frequent. More importantly, it should be through the channels that are most likely to use to engage with your content. Otherwise, there is no point in spending all that effort creating awesome content.
No prizes for guessing that it's social media that triumphs over other content distribution channels.
Yes, social media tops the list, and you need a hyperactive social media marketing strategy in place. You must also make good use of your website blog and 86% of companies are producing blogs:
So, what are you going to do?
Before you take a decision take a look at the this:
The top performers used speaking/events as a way of distributing their content. And if you think about it, this is one of the better ways of converting leads into MQLs. By hosting an event or participating in one, you are amidst people who meet your buyer persona specifications (at least a majority of them will meet the criteria). By exchanging your brand information with them, you are taking the first steps to pique their interest in your brand. Don’t underestimate its efficacy.
There is a two-fold purpose behind creation of these magnets:
1. People who get attracted to these magnets are interested in the information you are offering
2. The fact that they are sharing contact information means they also want to hear from you again
This also accelerates the process of sales qualification, because the fact that the prospect has downloaded your content, has converted him/her into an MQL; subsequent lead nurturing through a drip email campaign can quickly convert this ‘lead’ into a perfect ‘MQL’, which makes this lead’s journey towards a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), smoother and faster.
A prospect needs to be nurtured. There is no formulation that helps you get a clear idea of whether the prospect is now an MQL or can still only be categorized as a normal lead ( a work in progress). No doubt, you are going to use lead scoring as a means to qualify your leads, but even the most well-constructed lead scoring methodology is based on data-driven inferences.
This is where lead nurturing comes into play. You have a great opportunity to nurture your opt-in leads by engaging them with personalized messaging.
E.g. If you know they have signed up for a free trial of your SaaS product, you can send them emails through their trial journey to offer strategic suggestions. You can also analyze their dashboards so that they can extrapolate your analysis to draw tangible conclusions.
The key here is to keep engaging with your customers, till you know they are really interested in your products/services and can now conclusively be called qualified leads who are ready to become your customers.
The question – how to increase MQLs can only be answered through an inbound and outbound strategy that is able to segment prospects and then target them through personalized messaging. Also, an MQL strategy doesn’t stop and must be refined continuously for it to deliver optimal results. You cannot take things for granted and more importantly, you must never assume. Your assumption that a particular lead is qualified might see you spending more time on leads that will never convert into sales. So always adopt a focused approach towards increasing your MQLs. All the best!