How to Squeeze the Best Results from Your MQLs

Author:

Aurelien Mottier

How to Squeeze the Best Results from Your MQLs

Author:

Reading Time: 4 minutes

How to Squeeze the Best Results from Your MQLs

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

One of the biggest grievances that marketing teams have with MQL activity is their perception that the sales team is failing to follow up on leads that they have painstakingly developed. We’d like to share 3 insights highlighting common issues with MQLs, which could help to increase your conversion rate from MQLs.

How to communicate directly with decision makers

Only 37% of MQLs originate from a decision-maker within the prospective company — this is an average figure across the programs we’ve managed over the years. This means that almost two thirds of the time, your lead will originate from someone who does not hold the authority to sign off on a purchase for your product or solution — an influencer on the decision who may only have some degree of input on the final decision to buy. C-level executives in your prospective companies are hard-pressed for time. As such, they aren’t always able to be researching online, attending events and webinars or trawling through white papers. Good managers delegate these tasks, so make sure you’re well prepared to speak to someone lower down in the hierarchy initially, but try to reach out to the decision-maker. In order to help reaching the decision-makers within prospective organizations, you need to proactively identify and research the account, mapping it out along the way to understand who the individuals with the power are. Inevitably, there will be times when you end up having to sidestep the influencer from the equation. Try to be as sensitive as you can about it by staying in touch with the initial point of contact, and approaching the decision-maker in a manner that will not make the influencer feel as though they’re being ejected from the process.

It’s all too common for sales teams not to follow the points we’ve just mentioned here, and very often they don’t proactively engage with decision-makers. The reason behind this is simple: people who don’t hold authority tend to be more responsive and more readily available. What this does, it makes your BDR or sales representative ‘feel good’ about the opportunity — lulling them into a false sense of hope. In reality, the same salesperson is likely to be told 6 months down the line something along the lines of “I’m sorry, I really was a sponsor, but my boss decided to take another direction for now.”

How to increase the conversion rate of MQLs

Don’t expect to have the same conversion rate from MQLs as you would with an organic and proactive opportunity that has been created at a business and technical level by the sales team. These proactive opportunities are not subject to the same level of competition that your MQL will be subject to. If you consider that a C-level operative in a prospective company will have delegated the task of finding a particular solution to someone else, you can bet your bottom dollar that the delegate will be asking for quotes from several of your competitors as well as yourself. In these cases, it’s essential that your sales representative doesn’t take the lead for granted. When the sales representative is first following up on an MQL prospect, it’s important to qualify the lead by asking some key questions: where are they in their buying journey? How many quotes or proposals have they already received from your competitors? How many of your competitors have they reached out to? What are the value propositions that your competitors have offered? Which of your competitors is leading the conversation? Who is the decision-maker in this process? Try not to fall into the trap of simply offering a quote before you’ve undergone a thorough qualification process. Ultimately, a prospect that is reluctant to give away too much information on the questions we’ve just detailed is likely to be shopping around for quotes. If one of your competitors is already conversing with the prospect at management level, it’s best to either leave that lead alone, or ensure your sales team refers to what we’ve mentioned in point 1. You don’t want to be relying on someone within the prospective company to be doing the sales process in your place.

How can a follow up process increase conversions?

A fisherman can do a great job in catching the right fish, but that’s not the only part of the process of getting the meal onto your table. Similarly, the marketing team can do a fantastic job of generating inbound interest, but without an effective follow-up process from the sales team, it’s rendered useless. The first and most important aspect of the follow-up process is your customer experience management. Far too often we see MQLs stuck within a lead queue and subsequently ageing beyond any kind of usefulness. Taking too long to respond to enquiries is a surefire way of losing that prospect to one of your competitors. Here at Operatix, we’ve found that you triple the likelihood of successfully converting an MQL if your sales team follows up within a 2-hour window from initial contact being received. Bear in mind that the lead has likely shown interest in not just you, but your competitors too. Following up as soon as you can reduces the likelihood of the prospect defecting to one of your competitors because you were too slow to get in touch before they did. Granted, this is common sense. But how would you feel if you showed interest to a solution at a trade show or online, and the vendor took 3 weeks to follow up?

Be very careful of inbound response making your resources complacent. It’s easy for your resources to get a little too comfortable, and begin to neglect their outbound duties. Really, it’s just human nature. Inbound activity is more attractive than outbound, and it will take a strong and disciplined management system to make sure your resources maintain an effective mix between the two. MQLs are not the holy grail to closing business; they are simply prospects showing interest. The importance of generating that interest with outbound should never be underestimated.

Far too often we see effective and creative marketing campaigns held back because they weren’t properly followed up on by the sales team. On the other side of the spectrum, we often see sales teams let down by marketing failing to zero in on the correct kinds of campaigns, and failing to ditch sources that are not proving to be fruitful.

Fostering a good working relationship between marketing and sales is the key to success here. See how Operatix can help your company increase conversions of MQLs – request a call back to discuss your options here.

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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