Why Nobody Cares About Marketing Qualified Leads
By Austin LaRoche, ATAK Interactive CEO
Marketing Qualified Leads might have a nice ring to it, but they aren’t a relevant marketing performance metric anymore. After all, most MQLs do not convert into customers. In today’s episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, CEO at ATAK Interactive, discusses why you should actually be tracking Sales Qualified Leads instead as part of your marketing and sales strategy.
Video transcription below:
Welcome to B2B Marketing Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive. Today, I want to talk to you about the MQL and why it just doesn’t matter. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, MQL stands for marketing qualified lead. So in a standard sales cycle, if you are bringing inbound leads in, you want to make sure that they are “marketing qualified,” which means they are somewhat interested. Now, to get the sales qualified, they have got to go further down the buyer’s journey and have that mind frame of wanting to purchase.
Now, the problem with the MQL is that like many metrics, it is something that agencies typically tip their cap to. It has become a little bit of a vanity metric because if you are really trying to help a sales team grow businesses and close deals, then the MQL doesn’t matter.
It reminds me of this famous scene from The Wire with Stringer Bell. If you are not familiar, he talks to a few of his producers and tells them that they are bringing in too many “40 degree days”. Then he goes on this explicit-laced tirade about how if it is too cold, everyone is all up in arms; if it is too warm, everybody is a little bit too excited. But if it is 40 degrees, nobody cares. And that’s kind of what the MQL is – nobody cares. If you are not getting any leads, that’s going to be a problem. But if you are getting a bunch of MQLs – people who are somewhat interested but aren’t ready to buy – then you are not really helping out a sales team.
In theory, what you are supposed to do with these MQLs is you are going to nurture them. You are going to nurture and continue marketing to them. Then, when they are ready to buy, that is when sales will come in. That is when you will be able to close that deal. But like many things in marketing, it is this “roadmap fairytale” that we have created: “Okay, we’re just going to slowly get everybody down the funnel.” When in reality, if you have somebody who is an MQL, you need to figure out what it’s going to take to make them become an SQL. You need to figure out what you have to do, how you have to communicate, how you have to work with your sales team to make them a sales qualified lead, and give your sales team a real chance to close these guys.
If you are a marketing agency out there, stop tipping your cap at MQLs. Stop tracking them. They are not even important. Just knock it off. When you start putting your KPIs together, why don’t you have SQLs? So when somebody goes, “Well, didn’t we get some more leads?”, go “Yeah, but they didn’t matter. They are not ready. We need to get them up to SQLs.”
So stop tracking them. Stop trying to sell your sales team on MQLs. Give your sales team some more SQLs so they can do their job, close deals, and grow the business. This way everybody wins.
There you go. Thanks so much. That was today’s episode of B2B Marketing Insights. Again, I’m Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, saying, “Good luck growing.“
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