Do you want to be able to predict which leads will quickly turn into sales? Wondering how to categorize and score lookie loos? Do you know which leads are of highest priority and which leads need nurturing?
Understanding the difference between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL's) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL's) is of utmost importance as you work to grow your sales funnel. As you receive leads from your website and other lead generation efforts, it’s important to work with your marketing and sales teams to ensure you’re scoring leads and handling the hottest leads first. If you're working solo, use the information in this article to begin creating a simple scoring system that you can refine over time. Let's take a look at the difference between MQL's and SQL's and why the distinction is important.
In the beginning, a lead starts out as someone who has shown interest in your real estate listing or your service but isn’t necessarily a MQL or SQL (likely a lookie loo). Once you determine the lead's traits and patterns, you can score and categorized them as a MQL or SQL .
Let’s start by taking a look at MQL’s. MQL’s are engaged leads, likely to become customers but are not yet in the buying stage. They may have initiated contact through your website, after filling out a lead generation form, or downloaded material from your website, for example. You, or your marketing team, will call the lead to determine their level of interest and begin the scoring process. Some criteria to consider when scoring a lead may include the following:
- Which stage of the buying cycle they’re in
- Website tracking
- How often they’ve visited your site
- If they downloaded material (ex. ebook)
- If they watched a video
- Social engagement
- Email engagement
Lookie loos, who stop by open houses regularly but haven't decided if they really want to buy a house, are in the early stage of the buying cycle and a MQL. If the lead meets a combination of the criteria listed above and aren't ready to buy/sell, they would be categorized as a MQL as well. Systems vary between agents and offices and what works for some won't work for others. Focus on creating a scoring system that works for you and then refine it as you learn more about the habits of your current and future leads.
- High score: meets the majority of the criteria above. If they're ready to buy/sell, send them to the sales team to be categorized as an SQL.
- Moderate score: match one or two factors from the list above. Will need some nurturing before becoming an SQL.
- Low score: simply filled out a form on your website but have no intention of buying or selling in the immediate future. Add them to a nurture campaign.
Once the lead’s level of interest has been determined, the marketing and sales team needs to continue to interact and vet the lead for interest and ability to purchase. Once the MQL is qualified as a potential customer, the lead is considered a SQL, ready to buy or sell. SQL’s are the hottest and most promising leads and the sales team should rigorously work to get them into your sales funnel.
As you close more and more sales, you will start to see patterns develop. Update your scoring system as you start to see these repeatable lead activities. For example, you may notice that nearly every lead who fills out your lead generation form and downloads your ebook, typically lists their home with you. Suddenly you can identify the lead’s pre-determined path, apply it to upcoming leads and determine your biggest profit drivers.
For the best results, your marketing and sales teams should work closely together to convert leads into a customers. Working side-by-side, they can determine the most beneficial scoring system and ultimately boost revenue. Once a scoring system is in place, you will have a clear understanding of which leads need the most nurturing (low score) and which leads are the highest priority (high score).
As you can see, it’s important to score your leads and categorize them as MQL's or SQL’s to grow your sales funnel. Track down specific behaviors and the lead's level of engagement and then develop a scoring process that works for you and your team. Soon you'll have a system in place that will help you predict which leads are most likely to turn into sales.