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How about leads?
Now, the third, and perhaps the most important question: how many did you nurture into marketing qualified leads or opportunities?
Most companies can answer those first two questions relatively easily. It’s that last question where clarity begins to drop off.
We tend to be so focused on the top of the funnel, even down to the lead generation metrics we track in our lead generation dashboards that often times the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of our middle of the funnel, goes unnoticed.
I’m Parker Short, co-founder at Jaxzen Marketing Strategies, and I recently filmed our first contribution to Data Snacks all about how marketers can more effectively measure and improve their middle of the funnel activities.
*Editor’s note: Parker was cool enough to create a unique offer, a free funnel analysis, for any of our readers looking to improve their marketing and/or sales funnel. You can grab some time with him here.
On to the lesson…
Many marketers focus on tracking their top of the funnel lead generation because it’s easier to track and they have difficulty seeing whether they’re middle of the funnel and nurturing activities are actually working.
Hi, I’m Parker and I want to talk to you today about marketing qualified leads and how to track them to make your marketing team more effective.
If you’re not familiar, marketing qualified leads really help you begin to see how effective your marketing activities are. It’s not just about how many new leads came in or how many form fills you got, but also showing how many of these people were really qualified enough for us as a marketing team to hand them off to sales.
So the marketing qualified lead metric, if you have a really strong definition around it, can help you begin to see if your middle of the funnel marketing or lead nurturing is working.
Are you getting people to the point where they’re comfortable enough with your offerings that you are ready to hand them off to sales? This is a great way to begin to separate out just functionally, you’ll usually have a large contact database of leads and it’s hard to know who exactly is ready for sales and who isn’t.
By making rules and definitions around a marketing qualified lead, you get that insight and you can begin to hand those people off to sales and also begin to report on the value your marketing organization is providing to the company.
With that, let’s take a look at how we can track marketing qualified leads in Databox.
The first thing we’re going to do is set up a custom query to pull this information from HubSpot.
So I’m in the Databoard here and I’ve got a few things already set up for us. No marketing presentation is complete without a funnel, so we’ve got that going to give some context to what we’re looking at.
We’ve also got the total number of new contacts and new leads and we’re going to add in new into new MQLs as well. We’re going to look at creating a custom metric here. I’m going to call this new MQL metric and we’re going to run it on contacts. Our metric is “Became a marketing qualified lead.”
For dimension, we can leave it blank. If you want, you can look at original source or owners and get more detailed reporting, but for us, we’re fine with displaying and we’ll select some timeframes. I always like this month, this quarter, this year, last month, last quarter, and last year. We’re then going to compare that with previous period and then run the query.
Now we’re looking at how many people didn’t necessarily come into our contact database last month or this month, and maybe have been in our system for a while, have finally hit our qualified definition, which is really important.
Like we said before, there are a few different reasons that this metric is so important. You don’t want to be tracking only your top of the funnel activity. That’s how you end up with just a big database and nothing going to sales. When this happens, everyone kind of shrugs their shoulders and doesn’t understand why.
MQLs begin to solve that piece between sales and marketing alignment and how you actually complete the lead handoff.
So what we’re looking at here is an example of 21 new contacts being generated within this month. Fifteen of those are new leads–some of them could have come in before them, some could come in after–and then eight of those have hit that MQL status.
They’re not necessarily the same people that were “new”. They’re just the people who hit that MQL criterion in this month. That gives us really great visibility into how effective our overall marketing strategy is. Bringing people in through the front door is nice, but you really need to understand how many of these people are qualified.
That’s what more sophisticated and mature marketing organizations report on.
It’s not just how many new people showed up, but how many you handed off to sales.
If you have a solid understanding of how many MQLs you’re generating, then you can begin to look at how many of those convert into opportunities and customers down the road because you’ve got good insight into who’s actually being passed off to sales and who isn’t.
So just to recap here, there are three reasons that we want to track MQLs.
First, MQLs are going to show if you’re actually generating good leads, not just leads.
Second, these are the leads that you want to have sales actually reach out to and contact. You want your sales team working hard to make contact with these people.
And perhaps most importantly, this is actually how you help to explain the value that marketing is bringing to the team. So there’s no longer a question for other departments or upper management of, “is marketing actually doing anything? I see the traffic numbers, I see the leads, but I don’t see sales.” MQLs are how you begin to approach that misalignment.
You can report on how many of these leads are actually qualified, how many of those got passed off to sales, and lots of cool metrics from there.
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