Conversions Are the New MQLs

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Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are pretty much what their acronym suggests. A prospect engages with a brand in a way that marketing can capture, like filling out a form. Next, their profile is sent through a set of qualifications. If it passes, Sales is flagged for a follow up. Ta-dah! A lead that marketing has qualified.

This story makes it sound like Marketing is handing over a pretty, shiny golden prize to Sales. However, talk to any revenue team and you’ll quickly hear that not everything that glitters is gold.

The Problem With MQLs

“Marketing provides us with poor MQLs.” “Sales left this MQL sitting too long.” 

We’ve all heard these jabs on the MQL battlefield. It’s only scratching the surface. Even as early as 2017, Gartner Analyst Todd Berkowitz called out that just one problem with an MQL-centric model is how it scales. If sales goals double, MQLs need to follow suit. So either the marketing budget has to double or marketers must sacrifice quality for quantity—the age-old paradox. 

Recent changes in buyer behavior have exacerbated this tension. Outside of budget cuts, tailwinds and headwinds, buyer journeys are shifting to happen primarily online. Sales teams already have less of a chance to influence a deal than they used to.

In fact, Gartner research found that when B2B buyers consider a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. Meanwhile, a bulk of their time (41%) is spent researching independently. Any sales face-to-face time is precious.

If marketing focused on MQLs, they miss out on providing content that brings personalized value and insights throughout the entire cycle. They also miss out on providing sales with prescriptive direction on which leads have a propensity to buy and would benefit most from a reach out. When sales’ opportunity is so limited and time is money, alignment is priceless.

Revenue Teams Are Ready to Convert

An MQL model inherently divides a revenue team. It’s hard for marketing to pivot to another metric though. According to McKinsey, 83% of CEOs look to marketing as a growth engine for the business. But CEOs see growth through the lens of revenue. They want to know the action, results, and how to repeat it. At the same time, marketers face the universal challenge of differentiating between the correlation and causation of their campaign results. So for many CMOs, MQLs serves as a key performance indicator (KPI) that easily attaches marketing effort to revenue. But as McKinsey points out in their article, this comes at the expense of the less tangible generation of customer demand and attention at the top. 

Until recently, marketers didn’t have the tools to measure attribution with confidence. Now, more and more organizations are leveraging AI, propensity-to-buy models, and revenue science to take a full-funnel marketing approach. They are ready to convert.

By adopting full-funnel marketing, companies can become more relevant to their customers, develop a fuller and more accurate picture of marketing’s overall effectiveness, and generate more value without having to spend additional marketing dollars. The impact is pretty remarkable with McKinsey estimating a 15 to 20% lift in marketing ROI. 

Conversion-Focused Marketing Makes A Big Impact

Companies are seeing a big return from investing in marketing that is focused on conversion and propensity to buy. For example, Worthy.com, an online marketplace that helps people sell their expensive jewelry, came to Dealtale to help them increase conversions. Their problem? They have a very high ask of their prospects. For prospects to become customers, they needed to physically ship their precious gems to Worthy.com to be evaluated. 

The good news is that once a prospect sends in their jewels, their likelihood to finalize the conversion and agree to sell is high. The challenge for Worthy.com’s marketing teams and Account Executives (AEs) wasn’t getting MQLs, it was knowing who needed the push to commit to that first—huge—step, who would be scared away by a reach out, and who wouldn’t convert at all.

Dealtale introduced Causal Inference to their revenue teams. With it, they were able to glean insights about each lead, how leads interacted with online marketing assets, past decisions made by AEs, and what the outcomes were. They were able to see the whole customer journey.

In the end, Worthy.com saw a 22% increase in conversions. That’s the power of a marketing team that isn’t just supplying MQLs to their sales reps but prescribing the actions to take to close the deal. 

So, Who Do You Need to Convert?

Revenue teams around the world are honing in on alignment and seeing big results. The tech might feel new or too good to be true. Revenue Science is a breakthrough discovery in artificial intelligence and it’s ushered in a new era of marketing ROI possibilities. 

Schedule a call with our team today to finally bring peace to the MQL battle and help your teams focus on prospects who will convert.

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