Our previous blog article on the CONVERT stage of the Inbound Methodology talked about how inbound leads are not solely generated by prospects who fill out the “Contact Us” form. Not everyone is ready to speak with a sales representative. When you apply inbound marketing for your firm, leads come from different conversion opportunities based on the client journey.
As a result, having inbound leads coming in from different stages does make the sales process a bit more complex. If you only had leads coming from the contact form, the sales process is pretty straight forward for your sales rep. However, if you have an inbound lead that comes from a download of your alternative investment guide, it may not be as simple as picking up the phone and proceeding with the same sales process as with someone who requested to be contacted.
Since inbound leads are coming in from different conversion opportunities according to the buyer’s or client's journey, you need to map out the whole conversion path for each conversion opportunity (i.e. what would be the next steps if someone downloads a guide from your website, registers for a webinar, etc.)
In this article, we will cover at high level the CLOSE stage of the Inbound Methodology
But before we jump into mapping the conversion path, we need to first understand the difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
Marketing Qualified Lead
A MQL, is a contact who you believe is ready to speak with an advisor or an advisor should reach out to because they have met certain marketing criteria set by the company.
For example, a financial services firm have decided that for a lead to be an MQL, they would need to have read 2 blog articles, downloaded 1 guide, opened and clicked on a link in 2 emails. Or if a lead who simply requested to be contacted through a “Contact Us” form, they would be automatically considered as an MQL.
Sales Qualified Lead
An SQL is an MQL that has been contacted by a salesperson and have met certain sales criteria set by the company, in order to continue in the sales process.
Following the example of a financial services firm, for an MQL to be an SQL, they would need to be an accredited investor, have a growth mindset with relatively high-risk tolerance, and are patient (up to 10 years mark) for investments to mature. In order to find out if they would be an SQL, advisors would call the MQLs and ask questions that would specifically get answers for the criteria listed above. If they meet the criteria, they would be counted as an SQL and the advisor would continue with the sales process.
Mapping out the conversion path for every conversion opportunity - Focus on the MQLs
When it comes to Inbound Marketing leads, you would want to focus on how to get a lead to become an MQL because they are the ones who are most likely to buy in the end and you want to provide good quality leads who are engaged with your content (the marketing criteria) to your sales team.
Imagine how much easier it would be for your salespeople to connect and explore investment opportunities with MQLs that have already read a few blog articles, downloaded an alternative investment guide and not only have read a few of your emails but even have clicked on a few links.
The goal of your conversion path mapping is to nurture your leads so that they become MQLs in order for your sales team to work with leads that are worth their time. Therefore, you need to determine how to nurture each lead that converts in order to make them an MQL for each of your conversion opportunities.
For example, if someone downloads your free guide, you may decide to create and schedule automated emails to be sent out in order to assess their level of interest and their potential to be a MQL.
- Email 1: Send a thank you email for download
- Email 2: Send a follow-up email on the alternative investment guide and send a blog article that is related
- Email 3: Ask if they would like to schedule a phone call
- Email 4: Follow-up by sending another blog article about alternative investments and remind them about the opportunity to schedule a phone call.
If they took enough actions from these emails to meet the marketing criteria that you have set, then you can label them as an MQL and get your sales team to call them.
Empowering Sales with better leads to close more customers.
Since inbound leads come from prospects who initiated the search for a solution, came across your business, engaged with your content and as a result become MQLs, your advisors are far better off in closing deals with them.
Not only will the sales team have more leads to work with due to multiple conversion opportunities, but the Inbound Marketing Methodology will provide the right leads for your business to grow.