Establishing workflows that consistently generate quality leads is an absolute must for any organization’s revenue goals. Making sure that those leads are qualified to be in the sales pipeline is another crucial step that often requires a significant amount of trial and error, open communication between marketing and sales teams, and sometimes a little creativity. There’s no specific formula that guarantees a steady influx of marketing qualified leads (MQLs), but there are several tactics you can explore that may yield ideal results — more customers and revenue.
What is a marketing qualified lead?
A marketing-qualified lead is a prospect that has used specific actions to express they would like to learn more about a company’s services or products. Additionally, the prospect meets a preset criteria to establish that they’re a quality lead. Your marketing and sales organization should work closely to develop what the criteria will look like.
You’ll also want to develop a target number of MQLs that your marketing team should aim to generate on a consistent basis. All of this should take into account what your average conversions look like from MQL to SQL to customer.
Marketing-qualified lead generation tactics
If you’re starting from scratch you may want to take on as many different avenues as possible, then identify which channels result in the most MQLs for your organization. The purpose of this is to cast a wide net with several different lead generation methods so that you can have a better overview of how your marketing efforts perform in different sectors. As you track and measure conversions you’ll want to dial into the channels that are performing best. This will give you a clearer idea of where the majority of your time and budget should be spent. Simultaneously, you’ll also be able to identify what isn’t working for you to offload any underperforming channels.
1. Content marketing
Having a defined content marketing strategy is a great way to generate MQLs throughout every level of the buyer’s journey. If you’re already consistently producing content there’s a good chance that prospects are finding your business through what you’re creating. Let’s take a look at the different ways content can help with MQL generation.
A content hub is standard for your content marketing strategy. Ideally this is an online resource that will highlight your company’s products, services, customers, thought leadership and more. Think of your content hub as a gateway for potential customers to learn more about what your company does, and an informative resource for current customers that want to be an expert on the products or services that you provide. Content hubs are also a great way to share about internal company culture and promote your company’s brand. Let’s take a look at some of the different content types you can create:
Case studies and customer testimonials
When a prospect is in the research phase of learning more about your business, they may want more than a general overview. This is great because the more time they invest in learning more about your business, the more likely they are to convert. Case studies and customer testimonials are resources that can clearly communicate the value you offer.
Use this type of content to conduct thorough internal data research, interviews with your most notable customers, and establish some finite stats that highlight growth. Make your case studies and customer testimonials speak to common pain points for your customers. Use real metrics to show off the way your business makes a difference. Tell an exciting story that gives your audience a vision of success.
Product and support documentation
As prospects continue to invest their time they should be asking tons of questions like:
“How easy is it to adopt your product or service? What does your on-boarding process look like? How long will it take before everything is fully up and running? Is there a significant learning curve with your company’s product or service? Is this something I can manage on my own, or will it require significant assistance from your business?”
All of these are great questions from a prospect because it shows that they’re genuinely engaged. That’s exactly where you want them. Prepared product and support documentation is a great way to ensure that people can access answers and solutions without having to depend on submitting a support ticket, or reaching out to an internal team member directly. Ideally you want to create these types of articles to show that you’re aiming to enable people to troubleshoot common issues on their own.
Create this type of content in a way that’s easily digestible for readers. This can be achieved by using illustrations to help explain complex material, and by giving relatable examples. Follow up with your best customers and ask them what processes are most difficult. Ask your support team which question they get the most. Maintain an up-to-date support library of content to prove your dedication to the customer.
One of the most valuable types of content is what you’re equipping your sales team with. Sales reps are often the first human impression of your business for leads. Once they’re reached this stage of the buyer’s journey, a sales rep is going to do everything possible to get them to convert. Much of this process involves answering more intricate questions and reviewing pricing. The more collateral a sales rep can share with a prospect the better! As a sales rep is qualifying a lead, they’ll also have a better idea of what content is best to share with a specific prospect. Marketing should work very closely with sales to ensure that they’re always equipped with the best content to engage, educate, and convert qualified prospects.
Stay plugged into what type of content sales reps are using the most. Measuring which content is used when sales is working a lead, and how leads are engaging with that content, helps identify which content pieces are directly contributing to conversions.
Videos & Webinars
Visual content is necessary in an era of minimized attention spans. While written content remains powerful and necessary, creating videos to accompany written content gives your prospects the option to decide how they want to consume content.
Webinars are a great way to create conversation with your prospects and customers about new product launches, trendy industry topics, general Q&A sessions, and more. Webinars can be pre-recorded or live to create a more engaging atmosphere. They’re also a great way to have your best team members get in front of your leads and really sell the value of your company.
Videos and webinars are perfect for flexing creative marketing skills. Create a time-lapse video of a big project. Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Have some short and fun videos introducing team members. Don’t be afraid to go outside the box with this one.
Another alternative to non-written content are Podcasts. Podcasts are great for people who don’t have time, or don’t prefer, to read or watch content. Come up with catchy topics that are relevant to your business to discuss on your podcast that’ll entice your listeners. You can have internal experts highlight what’s happening with your business, or even bring in your best customers to brag about how your product or service has helped them.
Tips, guides, tutorials, quizzes, and more
Anything geared towards helping prospects become better educated about what your business does, and how your business provides value, is always great content. This should always be at the core of any content that you create. This type of content can be incredibly creative and fun for people to engage with.
Gated vs ungated content
Gated content is anything that is available for your audience to consume, but they have to fill out a form before they can have access. The form should have fields that are valuable data like name, email address, phone number, and any other fields that are helpful for marketing purposes. Gating content can be great because you’ll be able to collect lead data. However, you run the risk of a prospect leaving your site because they might not want to provide their information.
Investing in a solid SEO strategy can drastically increase MQLs for your organization. The core focus of SEO ( search engine optimization) is to steadily increase the organic traffic to your company’s site. SEO targets quantity and quality so that the leads coming to your site ideally fit your target persona. Strategies like keyword research, cross-linking, or repurposing dated content are great for SEO. You can also A/B test landing pages and forms to develop or improve your SEO strategy and start getting more MQLs.
3. Paid Search
The opposite of SEO, paid search displays ads to leads that your business pays for, but only when someone clicks on an ad. Developing a paid search strategy to generate more MQLs does require a budget. However, if it’s something your business can afford to start doing the results can be promising. Paid search is an incredibly measured channel, so you can easily identify what ads are, or aren’t, generating the best MQLs.
Depending on your industry, social can be a great channel for lead generation. One of the best ways to connect with an audience is to target them on platforms that they use all the time, like social media. Now, most people hate being bombarded with pushy ads on social, so aim to leverage social in a way that naturally entices users. Great social media content isn’t about selling a product or service. It’s about capturing and sharing relatable moments. Use social to develop your brand first, then sell second. Also, social is a great tool to join in on trending topics that naturally engage your target audience. Everything on social doesn’t have to be solely focused on your brand. Expand the scope to make your social media presence pervasive and inclusive.
5. Trade shows and events
Again, if you have the budget, participating in or hosting trade shows and events is a great way to generate quality MQLs. The best thing about this lead generation channel is that you’re interacting with actual humans in real life. When you’re right in front of someone you have more opportunities to qualify them and learn if they’re really a good fit for your business or service. Identify a list of trade shows and networking events that are relevant to your industry and go meet some future customers.
6. Customer referrals
Referrals from your customers are almost always going to be some of the most best qualified leads your business can have. Customers that genuinely value your product or service, and that are open to sharing that with others who would also benefit, are one of your best lead generation channels. If you find that you get great business from customer referrals, it may be a good idea to create a customer referral or reward program.
Generating better MQLs through marketing and sales alignment
Trying all of these different channels is a great way to get the ball rolling for boosting MQL numbers. However one of the best ways to ensure that you’re constantly getting better MQLs is for your marketing and sales teams to talk about what’s happening with leads. Having, or not having, these conversations can make or break your lead generation strategies.
There’s nothing more frustrating for a sales rep than weak leads. If marketing delivers leads that aren’t a good fit, it creates a poorly stocked pipeline for sales reps to sift through. Moreover, this often creates a strained relationship between the departments, even though both teams have the game goals — more customers and revenue.
Marketing and sales should work closely to develop a criteria that enables both teams to succeed. The more that marketing understands about how sales is qualifying leads and closing deals, the more strategic they can be with top-of-funnel campaigns that produce better MQLs. Brainstorming and incorporating new tactics should always be a dual effort from both teams, while still allowing each department to keep their core focus on what they do best. For marketing, that’s finding qualified leads, and for sales, that’s converting those leads into long-term customers.
How CallRail helps generate better MQLs
CallRail is a leading analytics platform that helps marketers track and measure which of their marketing efforts are generating leads from inbound calls and form submissions. Having CallRail in your analytics stack is a sure way to better understand where your leads are coming from, how they’re converting, and how you can focus on getting the best MQLs for your business.
Call Tracking is CallRail’s staple product. It helps marketers identify which campaigns are generating inbound calls to businesses. Although many people believe that phone calls are diminishing as a whole, calls to businesses remain a crucial tool for the success of industries like automotive, healthcare, law firms, home services, and more.
With unique phone numbers for each of your marketing channels, you can easily see which campaigns get the most inbound calls and quality leads that are turning into customers.
For inbound leads that come in via form submissions, there’s Form Tracking. Forms can be just as valuable as inbound calls, and you being able to better understand which campaigns get the most form submissions is incredibly helpful for lead generation strategy. With CallRail’s Form Tracking reporting you can have a total view of the buyer’s journey and quickly optimize your campaigns.
CallRail and Google
Pairing CallRail with Google gives marketers powerful insight into what’s happening at all stages of the funnel. CallRail offers several direct integrations with some of Google’s most notable products so you’re fully equipped with an analytical powerhouse to generate the best MQLs for your business.
- Google Analytics: Every time someone calls your tracking number, we send the call straight to your Analytics account. You can view your call tracking data alongside other granular visitor events, all in the Google Analytics dashboard.
- Google Ads: Tracking calls as conversions within Google Ads helps you measure the full effectiveness of your PPC campaigns.
- Google My Business (GMB): CallRail’s Google My Business integration places a call tracking number as the primary phone number customers see in your listing, while your actual business number is kept as a secondary number in the listing to maintain NAP consistency.
- Google Ads Mobile Click-to-Call: With our Google Ads Mobile Click-to-Call integration, you can identify the specific PPC keywords that drove each call, and match the conversion to additional information such as phone call duration, call recordings, and full caller ID.
- Google Data Studio: CallRail’s built-in data connector will allow you to choose which call data points you’d like to display in Google Data Studio.
Ready to start generating and qualifying for marketing qualified leads? Sign up with CallRail today.