Marketers, do yourself a favor and think outside the MQL box. It’s a dated and irrelevant concept that has outlived its usefulness. Sales doesn’t care about it, your board shouldn’t, and neither should you.
Rethink your lead scoring model!
It’s time to put more emphasis on the account vs. the individual. Start to incorporate more stringent demographic criteria into your lead scoring and lead assignment to reflect the target accounts your Sales team cares most about. One strategy is to consider a sliding scale that rewards leads from top tier accounts with extra points, while penalizing leads with fewer points if they’re from the wrong companies that don’t fit your sales profile.
Tip: You might set these lower score leads aside and have a partner work them, so Sales doesn’t get bogged down with them and become resentful of having to spend time on them.
Don’t worry that lead volume decreases. Lead quality will increase, and with that, conversion rates. Sales will start paying more attention to inbound leads and actually look forward to following up!
In addition to scoring, there are other ways to optimize the percent of target account leads who hit the top of your funnel, helping you be more selective about what gets passed to sales. For example guaranteed/pay per lead programs, content syndication, and intent-based campaigns let you establish demographic and persona based criteria up front. This helps to ensure that your responses come from the right accounts and functional areas.
Tip: Content syndicated leads will likely require additional nurturing before they’re ready for Sales.
Evaluate your trade shows differently
When evaluating prospective trade shows, try to determine the ratio of audience to target accounts so you can get a feel for quality booth traffic. Reputable event producers should provide past attendee lists for you to analyze. You should also review the speaker list as it can be a good indication of the size and industries who may be attracted.
Tip: Eliminate vendor and sponsor companies from your audience analysis.
If the estimated percent of target companies at the event is less than 30, you may want to forego the event for a better one.
Correctly identifying these inbound target account leads may require appending 3rd party databases like Rainking or Avention, as well as some company name standardization. The data investment is well worth the insight it will return and you’ll be on the road to better alignment with Sales.
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About the author: Linda’s expertise in demand generation, sales development, ABM and marketing operations helps enterprise software companies drive predictable pipeline.