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Christina Lee Marketing, Inc. 2020

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What The Heck Is an MQL?

Updated: Apr 13, 2019


The title of this post surely received some eye-rolls - I get it. However, this post is for those of you who want to,


1) Look at how you define an MQL in a new way

-OR-

2) Understand what an MQL is and why it's important



How Do I Define an MQL For My Company?


MQLs (marketing qualified leads) are made up of two parts: Demographics and Behavior. Using data from your current customer set or target market focus, you can define what an MQL is for your company.


I am a strong advocate of never setting anything in marketing and then leaving it alone. Defining an MQL is going to be very useful for you and your sales team but you should consider a plan for how you want to revisit the definition every so often (I would base this on your average sales cycle).


During the review phase, you want to see if your assumptions for what makes up an MQL are correct. Do MQLs actually turn into customers? If not, what adjustments can be made to improve? Consult with your Product Marketing team to see if there any upcoming product changes that you should consider. One example is a new feature being developed for a specific industry target.


Now let's get started with the fun part of defining your MQL.


Building a Demographic Profile


To build a customer profile to capture the Demographic attributes of your ideal customer, answer the following questions*:


1) What are the job titles of the team involved in the sales process? This may be one person or an entire buyer committee made up of numerous stakeholders.

2) What industry categories are your customers in?

3) What is revenue size or employee count?

4) What geography are they in?


*If you don't have data, you still want to answer these questions based upon your defined target. Once you start acquiring customers and have a good data-set to work from, you will want to go back and review these answers with actual data.


Building a Behavioral Profile


To build a customer profile to capture the Behavioral attributes, answer the following questions*:


1) How did your customer interact with your company before becoming a customer?

2) What action did they take prior to an Opportunity being created?

3) What message did they respond to?

4) How did they learn about your company?

5) What content did they view on your website?

6) How many times did they visit your website?


*If you don't have data, you still want to answer these questions based upon your defined target. Once you start acquiring customers and have a good data-set to work from, you will want to go back and review these answers with actual data.


Putting It All Together


As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the name MQL implies it is defined and determined by marketing. While some organizations may function this way, I highly discourage a silo'd approach like this.


Now that you have your Demographic and Behavioral attributes, review with sales what you discovered and your recommendation for defining an MQL. In this discussion be prepared to provide them with an overview of what you will be delivering to them ie. how are you defining an MQL. Then open the discussion to feedback, questions and concerns.


If you are starting from scratch with no data, provide your sales team with a defined plan for your approach to revisit the data. Are you going to revisit in 30 days? 60 days? What involvement will they have?


Before you leave this meeting, ensure everyone is excited about the definition of an MQL. Your sales team is counting on you to deliver leads they can turn into paying customers. This is a team effort through and through.


TIP: An MQL is a marketing defined lead. But it is not defined solely by the marketing team.
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