What Is a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

A sales qualified lead is a lead that has a high probability of turning into a customer. They’ve expressed interest in your product or service, and you know there is a chance they will purchase what you are selling because they have the financial means to make an immediate purchase (i.e., not something on credit).

For instance, if your company manufactures tires, a person who has visited the tire section of an auto store and is leaning towards purchasing some tires might be considered SQL sales.

Sales Qualified Lead

What Is A Marketing Qualified Lead?

A marketing qualified lead is someone you know will probably not buy something from you, but they are still worth talking to because their opinion matters. They influence other people. For example, a blogger that gives your company positive feedback may influence their readers to buy from your brand.

MQLs can be created by prompting people who are interested in your product to enter their email address.

SQL Vs. MQL: Difference Between a Marketing Qualified Lead and Sales Qualified Lead

Obviously, there is some difference between an MQL and SQL marketing.

How about an illustration?

Marketing qualified lead vs. sales qualified lead

If one person does all the talking, it’s a lecture. You’re lecturing an audience to entice them to learn more about your product. Giving a grand image of a world that can be created with the things you sell.

Marketing is more of a grand lecture and when your “students” begin to raise their hands—you begin to have a conversation.

Sales (especially with higher ticket items) always involves a conversation. Click To Tweet

The biggest difference and indicator that your marketing leads may be sales-ready is their willingness and desire to turn your lecture into a conversation. Not that marketing doesn’t involve interaction.

Social media, opt-in forms, email responses are all types of communication that can happen during the marketing phase. These are commonly known as engagement. These things (among others) help a team score the lead to gauge sales-readiness.

The biggest difference between engagement within the marketing funnel and a lead looking for conversation is what/who they interact with.

Again, this may differ from one company to another. A few examples may include:

  • Webinar Registration/Attendance: Depending on the content. If it’s geared more toward your target industry/audience, it may not move the leads to sales. Although, if it explains X ways your product improves Y—it could be close.
  • Email Response: This is a much clearer indication of sales-readiness. If you send a resource or other means of communication via email and the lead responds with some questions, they may be ready to have a fit call.
  • Filling Out a Contact Form: Having ways for visitors to reach out on the site could be an easy way to pick out those who were further along in the process than you thought. Be ready, though. The faster the response, the more likely you are to land a conversation.

Interesting: One study shows that you could be up to 100 times more likely to get a conversation with a lead if you can respond within five minutes. Only 5% of companies strive to do so.

16 Ways to Produce Sales Qualified Leads

There are many ways you can generate sales qualified leads. Here are some ways to do it:

1 Know your leads and segment them

Knowing your leads is important for making sure you don’t waste resources on the wrong lead.

Segment them by their interest in your offer or type of business, and then give them different content based on which segment they belong to. This will help them make a decision faster.

2 Create an event for people interested in your offer

Events are great for generating leads because they get your message in front of a big audience and have the potential to generate hundreds or thousands of contacts with just one event. They’re also an excellent way to meet new people, even if you don’t show up looking for business.

You can organize your event around a specific topic. You can also use it as the occasion to make an announcement, or get feedback from your audience

3 Automate prospecting through social media

Social media is one of the best ways to generate leads because you’re reaching prospects organically and building relationships with them at no cost.

And with automation, you can get started with as little work as possible on your part.

4 Enable contact form submissions

Most forms on your website ask for a name and email, but you can also enable them to submit their contact information through the form.

This is especially important if you’re using landing pages or have an e-commerce site with products people want to buy right away.

5 Set up lead magnets

Lead magnets are freebies that people can receive in exchange for their contact information.

Offering something of value like a whitepaper, cheat sheet or even just an eBook will make it worth your prospects’ time and get them to give you their name and email address in return.

6 Create lead capture form fields on your website

If you’re using a website to generate sales qualified leads, it should be easy for people to give up their contact information.

That means creating hidden form fields that will automatically capture the prospect’s name and email address when they finish filling out your lead magnet content.

7 Create an “opt-in box

The opt-in box is a white box on your website that features the lead magnet you’re offering and asks prospects to give up their contact information in exchange for it.

You can also add social media buttons or icon links if people want to follow you there as well, encouraging more engagement with your brand.

This way, you’ll be able to capture the prospect’s name and email address in one fell swoop.

8 Attract, engage, and delight

Once you have a lead’s contact information, it all comes down to one thing: how well you can engage and delight them.

Sending an email that offers value before asking for anything is the best way to go about this — so always be sure to include links with your sales follow-ups.

Work on building trustworthiness and trustworthiness with your prospects before asking for anything in return.

You will also want to use an email marketing software that allows you to segment your list of contacts by their interests, so you can send them more personalized emails on a regular basis.

It’s up to the marketer how often they want to contact their leads this way.

9 Use SEO tactics

Using SEO can help you raise your rankings and get more visibility on search engines.

Once you have a solution that is in demand, make sure to create an online landing page for it so prospects can access the information they need in one place without having to fill out any forms or download any attachments.

10 Avoid sending too many emails – just enough!

Don’t bombard your prospects with emails, but don’t be afraid to send a few either.

If you want them to subscribe for more updates and offers, make sure they know about it in the first email or two by including a link that says “Subscribe here!” at the bottom of those messages.

Too many emails can backfire because a prospect may feel like they’re being spammed and stop reading or clicking on any of your messages.

If you send too few, prospects may feel like the email is not important enough to pay attention to it so use this tactic sparingly!

11 Select the right promotional channels

Promote your offers via channels that are the most appropriate for your business.

The best way to determine which channel is right for you is by considering where potential customers spend their time and what types of promotional tools they use like social media, email marketing, or advertising on third-party websites.

For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you may want to promote your specials through social media rather than television.

12 Create a sales funnel

The goal of a sales funnel is to get as many potential customers into the top-level, or widest part of it.

At this point in your marketing strategy, you should offer something that’s valuable and helpful on its own for free such as an ebook, webinar, coupon code, etc.

If they go through all three levels of your sales funnel, then you can try to sell them on a bigger purchase.

13 Bet on long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases that have a lower search volume but also higher conversion rates.

For example, “green tea recipes” would be more specific than just “tea recipes” and the latter could generate many pages of content whereas the former only has one.

You can usually find long-tail keywords by looking at the search traffic for a broad keyword.

14 Implement the lead scoring technique

A good way to know which is the most qualified sales lead is by assigning them a score.

The higher the number, the more time and effort you’ll want to put in that lead because they seem like better prospects.

You should also have different levels of scoring so if one person has a low rating but needs minor help, then it’s probably not a good use of your time.

15 Integrate marketing platform with CRM

If you are using a marketing platform, there should be an option to sync it up with your CRM.

This way, as soon as someone fills out the form on your website and becomes a lead- which is usually when they do their first search for keywords related to what you’re selling– then that information will automatically be sent to your CRM and you can start working with them.

One of the best CRM tools out there is LeadFuze.

LeadFuze is a CRM designed specifically for marketing and sales teams that want to stay on top of their leads.

It eliminates the need for tedious manual data input, enabling you to spend more time closing deals!

Furthermore, it can help you find sales qualified leads because it’s also a lead generation company that specializes in finding and qualifying the best prospects for your business. It has helped companies of all sizes find their next big customer, so you can have more time to focus on what really matters.

With LeadFuze, you get access to thousands of pre-qualified leads every month with no strings attached. You don’t need to worry about wasting hours searching through databases or paying expensive fees just to reach out and see if someone is interested in your product or service. This tool will do all the work for you! All you have to do is pick up the phone and start making calls!

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Run Google Adwords

Running Google ads can be a great way to get qualified leads, but it’s also time consuming. Though the ads are easy to set up and you only spend money when someone clicks on your ad, there is still work involved in setting them up, running reports and taking care of other administrative tasks that come with advertising.

An easier option might be to use Google Adwords. With Adwords, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and this will help you save money while still getting the leads that you need to stay afloat in today’s competitive market.

If people are clicking on your ads but not buying anything from your site or giving their information so that they can be contacted later then it might mean that your ads have been low-performing. The best way to improve this would be by using a campaign strategy that involves some of the following:

  • A/B Testing: This can involve testing out different options for your ad in order to see which version is more effective or what you want people responding to most. You could also use this test as a way to see if you want the ad text or images in your ads.
  • Personalization: This means using people’s names, interests and location as well as other personal information when advertising with Google Adwords so that only those who might be interested will actually click on the ad for a better chance of higher conversion rates.

Conclusion

Overall, a sales qualified lead is the key to a successful business. It’s all about finding out what your customers want and providing it for them in order to make their experience with your company as memorable as possible.

Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.