Lead generation is an imperative role for any B2B marketer that is worth their salt, and yet, according to the HubSpot State of Inbound report for 2018, the top challenges for 61% of marketers are generating traffic and leads. It, therefore, isn’t a surprise that when it comes to lead generation, most marketers simply focus on getting in as many leads as possible. The emphasis is more on quantity rather than the quality of leads. The problem with this focus soon becomes apparent because getting leads is not the end goal but rather a means to the goal of getting more customers.
Unfortunately, the issue of aimlessly gathering more and more leads doesn’t just end here. Soon, the leads are directed to sales teams, who then have to plow through an unnecessarily large number of low-quality leads. Teams then become discouraged, stop following up, and miss the few good leads that are among the vast amount of low-quality leads. Then the blame game starts, and sales and marketing teams soon start going after each other instead of working together.
Before things spiral out of control, it is essential to understand the unified lead generation strategy (source of leads), the nuance behind each lead, how to differentiate these nuances, and how these nuances are important to the B2B marketer.
Types of Leads
All leads can be qualified or placed in one of two main categories. They can either be:
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
An MQL is a person who knows that they have a challenge/issue/problem because they are experiencing its symptoms. They are keen to find out more about their specific challenge and have shown some interest/intent to purchase an appropriate solution once they better understand the underlying issues.
An MQL is either symptom aware and/or problem aware and is open to receiving detailed information including calls to action and strong marketing messages including telemarketing. They are open to being nurtured by different brands because they want to understand all the features and benefits of each product that can potentially solve their problem.
Once the MQL makes their choice about the brand or product that will solve their problem, they then become an SQL. The SQL is solution aware they know they have a problem, they understand that the issue needs to be dealt with and they already have an inclination towards a specific brand. All that is left is to make the final purchase decision.