In today's business world, we've all come to expect things to be made easier with technology. Whether this is automating portions of our social media management, tracking marketing analytics in real-time versus using static
So, what about tracking and qualifying website leads, whether these are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)? Can this only be done using marketing automation or are there workarounds that don't require too much manual work?
Steps to Qualifying Leads
Let's first look at the required steps to qualify new leads. This obviously depends on your type and size of business, the size of your sales team, and how eager your sales team is for new leads.
Between Marketing and Sales, agree on what criteria will be used for defining Leads, MQLs, and
Develop a website conversion form strategy that asks the right questions in order to qualify leads based on your agreed-upon lead qualification criteria. Just be sure not to ask them too many questions.
Tracking Leads as They Become Qualified
Once you've determined how leads will be qualified, the next step is establishing a protocol for how leads will be tracked, followed up on and then reported back to Marketing. That way you know if they need to be further nurtured, if they're turned into new opportunities or, better yet, if they became a new customer!
Depending on whether your company has a centralized CRM that's actually used by the sales team, and whether your website conversion forms integrate with your CRM, tracking new website leads can be a pretty tedious process if you're converting a lot of them on a daily basis. Especially as those leads come back a second or third time.
This becomes especially onerous if you're without a centralized CRM or marketing automation software where these leads can be stored, sorted and organized.
A potential solution is to use a Google Sheet that the team can all view and use in real time. As new leads come through your website, Marketing can add these new leads and alert Sales if they're qualified. Sales can then manually update the lead status as they begin their connect attempts.
As tracked leads reconvert or provide additional information, this Google Sheet can be updated so that newly qualified leads (MQLs or SQLs) can be passed onto sales.
Our rule of thumb is that if your Sales team isn't getting enough SQLs they should be working on further progressing MQLs. And if they don't have enough MQLs, they should be working to further evaluate new leads that could become MQLs, if they knew more about them.
The hardest part with this approach is obviously the manual upkeep, getting Sales to actually use the tool, and keeping it updated.
Sounds painful as a manual process, right? Maybe this is your reality and, if so, I feel your pain.
How Marketing Automation Makes Lead Qualification and Lead Tracking WAY Easier
There's a better way to do all of this, and it's been around for a while.
Marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot eliminate all of this manual work and automate the process in real time. Here's how the process outlined above changes when you leverage the power of automation.
Your criteria for Lead, MQL and SQL definitions are built into your automation software, so as new leads are converted, the software can automatically update the lead's lifecycle stage based on the information he or she selected in your conversion form.
This can even go beyond form conversions by tracking their behaviors such as website page visits and email clicks to determine if they're sales qualified.
Instead of manually importing leads into your CRM or adding them to a Google Sheet, marketing automation software allows you to use customized forms that automatically capture new lead conversions. They also allow you to create progressive forms that ask additional questions over time in order to further qualify them. This can be very powerful!
LEAD TRACKING & REPORTING
Lead history and changes in lifecycle stages, from MQL to SQL, progress on their own and can be set up with customized lead alerts for the appropriate sales person to follow up on that lead.
Sales then has more real-time insights into what leads have shown interest in. This keeps Marketing informed of how those leads have become opportunities or closed customers, or if they need to be further nutured.
This is a very high-level overview of the benefits you gain using automation. Yes, automation isn't free but if you factor in the manual time you're saving between both marketing and sales, and if it frees up your sales team to be acting on the most qualified leads, it certainly pays for itself!