Why Nobody Cares About Marketing Qualified Leads

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, the MQL is a marketing qualified lead. So in a standard sales cycle, if you’re bringing inbound leads in, you want to make sure that they’re marketing qualified, which means they’re somewhat interested. Now, to get the sales qualified, they’ve got to go a little bit further along the buyer’s journey and be a little bit more in that mind frame of wanting to purchase. 

Now, the problem with the MQL is that like many metrics, it’s something that agencies typically tip their cap too. And it’s become a little bit of a vanity metric because if you’re really trying to help a sales team grow businesses and close deals, then the MQL really doesn’t matter. It kind of reminds me of this famous scene from The Wire with Stringer Bell, if you’re not familiar. He talks to a few of his “producers” and he tells him that they’re bringing in too many 40 degree days. Then he goes on this really explicit-laced tirade about how, if it’s too cold, everyone’s all up in arms; if it’s too warm, everybody’s a little bit too excited. But if it’s 40 degrees, nobody cares. And that’s kind of what the MQL is. Nobody cares. Really. If you’re not getting any leads, okay, that’s going to be a problem, right? But if you’re getting a bunch of MQLs, people who are somewhat interested but aren’t ready to buy, then you’re not really helping out a sales team.

Now, in theory, what you’re supposed to do with these MQLs is you’re going to nurture them. You’re going to nurture and keep marketing to them. And then when they’re ready to buy, that’s when sales will come in and that’s when you’ll be able to close that deal. But like many things in marketing, it’s this, you know, “roadmap fairytale” that we’ve created that makes it sound like, “Okay,” and then we’re just going to slowly get everybody down the funnel. When really, if you have somebody who’s 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 be able to get them to come in, become a sales qualified lead, and give your sales team a real chance to be able to close these guys.

So if you’re a marketing agency out there, stop tipping your cap at MQLs. Stop tracking them. They’re not even important. Just knock it off. You know, when you start putting your KPIs together, why don’t you have SQLs? And then somebody goes, “Well, didn’t we get some more leads?” Go, “Yeah, but they didn’t matter. They’re not ready.”

Okay? That’s on us. We need to get them up to SQLs. So stop tracking them. Stop trying to sell your sales team on them being important. And why don’t you go give your sales team some more SQLs so they can do their job, close, grow the business, and then 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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