What is a qualified lead? A lead with money, and a lead with potential to buy. Doesn't that pretty much sum up every person you talk to? Developing a sales enablement strategy means you are getting your marketing team involved in the lead generation process. In order to this your sales and marketing team need to be on the same page (aligning sales and marketing goals) as to what a marketing qualified lead (MQL) is.
The main thing your marketing team (or plan) should focus on is generating leads which your sales team (or process) can turn into customers. Identifying an SQL requires answering two questions.
- What makes someone a good fit for your offering?
- Which actions demonstrate that someone is sales-ready?
The ideal customer profile is a checklist of the most basic attributes which make up your ideal customer. By using this metric your marketing team can narrow down the target audience and quickly determine if they are a good fit or poor fit for your product. Being a poor fit does not automatically disqualify a lead from talking to your sales team, this is just a way to help you find the leads who are most likely to buy sooner and prioritize them for your sales team.
Actions speak louder than words
Once you have determined if a lead is a good fit or poor fit, you are ready to answer the second question. What actions demonstrate that a lead is ready to speak with sales. This step requires the input from both sales and marketing. If you do not involve both teams in this process then you will end up with unpredictable results. Losing deals that based on ideal customer profile is frustrating for everyone. When you feel like a lead is a great fit for your product but the deal doesn't happen its easy for sales to blame marketing and say "the lead was not properly qualified" and marketing will blame sales "they couldn't close the deal".
Sales enablement will align your sales and marketing team and have them focused on the same revenue goal. If your sales and marketing teams can agree on common actions your past customers have taken during their path to purchase, then you have a framework where you can build actions leads will take to become sales ready. This is going to vary from company to company, so it is important for your team to meet regularly and discuss the wins and losses. Find out what went right so you can repeat it, and what went wrong so you can correct it.
Mastering Lead Qualification
Using the Lead Qualification Matrix you can identify which leads should be passed on to sales and which should stay with marketing. A poor fit lead who is ready to buy should stay with marketing until they are a good fit. This can be as simple as bringing in another person from their company with more authority to buy, we see this all the time where a lower level employee finds a solution to their companies problem, but does not have the authority to make the purchase.
If you have a lot of leads falling into the bottom half of the matrix, then you may need to review your qualification process, or lead generation strategy. If you are attracting a lot of good fit leads who are not ready to buy, then you need a strategy to nurture these leads and stay relevant. If you are generating poor fit leads, who are not ready to buy then there is obviously a big problem with your overall marketing strategy.
Sales enablement is only possible if, sales and marketing have a shared definition of a qualified lead. Answering these two questions: What makes someone a good fit for your offering, and what actions demonstrate that someone is sales-ready? you can use them to create a lead-qualification matrix that divides leads based on how good of a fit they are for your solution and how sales-ready they are. Decide which categories should be sent to sales and which ones should stay with marketing to be nurtured. That is how build a solid lead-qualification foundation for your sales-enablement strategy.