‘The Leads Are Weak’: It’s Time to Go Beyond MQLs and Drive Pipeline with MQMs Instead

There is a moment in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross when the big seller of the HQ broadcast confronts the sales team screaming and asks them to close the tracks or get fired. But a salesman, played by Jack Lemmon, doesn’t want to know: “Leads are weak,” he explains.

So, what is strong or good leadership?

Sales teams are looking for marketing to deliver qualified leads prepared for closing. As our marketers develop our main funnel, our goal is to guide thousands of potential customers through the funnel, from initial discovery and recognition to brand and sales messages, education and consideration, and eventual closure, or so we hope.

We allocate our annual marketing budget with one measure in mind: the ROI of our marketing spend, as measured by the sales and revenue stream. There is a lot of friction in the sales funnel – thousands of potential customers are falling for whatever reason. But the goal is to maximize leads in Qualified Marketing Leads (MQL) – leads who are interested enough in our product or service to be delivered to the sales force.

At this point, the sales team qualifies the prompts as “good” or “bad”, a process by which MQLs become qualified points of sale (SQL), ready for the next stage of the sales journey.

Nobody wants to hear that “the leads are weak”, so we must constantly strive to maximize the quality of the leads across all marketing channels.

An important ingredient in the main qualification is the involvement of the potential customer.

Does the lack of face-to-face events mean less skillful marketing directions, fewer potential customers, and less profit?

Last year, generating strong leads was especially challenging for event marketing teams planning corporate conferences or trade shows, field marketing teams organizing local events, and demand generation teams conducting webinars or social media campaigns.

We will focus on events, as they have been particularly affected by social detachment.

After abandoning plans for live events, conferences, and corporate fairs, the event teams reinvested in virtual events and webinars. These are great ways to bring together large groups of people, but the virtual environment lacks an important sales tool that is often an integral part of face-to-face events: meetings with potential customers and customers.

Prospective meetings are an indispensable tool for increasing B2B sales, the most important indicator of turnover. A business sales process involves moving potential customers from awareness to education, consideration, and decision-making. In B2B sales situations, the last three stages provide the best results as the focus shifts to individual meetings, product demonstrations, expert meetings, board meetings, partner meetings, and so on.

Since these important face-to-face meetings are impossible, marketing and sales teams focus on virtual meetings. If marketers can do this on a large scale, the sales department can get something more valuable than a qualified marketing leader: a qualified marketing meeting (MQM).

Successful business marketing teams generate hundreds or even thousands of MQMs. These teams have concluded that it is no longer enough to produce just one MQL. MQLs are still important, but it is not possible to generate the MQL generation process from raw leads.

Classic virtual events can be the main motivators of MQM

Consider the following illustration of different types of meetings with B2B customers that we can now virtually manage

If meetings of prospects with experts and our managers are worth more than just leads, we need to generate more.

In previous years, if customers wanted to see a demonstration, they would attend an event, roadshow, or discussion session. But these activities will be virtual shortly. A customer can still request an “expert” information session or GDP meeting before making a multimillion-dollar purchase – this will be done virtually.

The same goes for round tables with partners, distributors, and customers and any situation where several people get together to solve problems and discuss solutions.

Webinars and other virtual events are now one of the most powerful tools to accelerate the buyer’s journey, and sessions with experts and partners are always essential to convince customers to switch to new technology or solution.

Focus on MQMs to increase your pipeline and revenue

If you want to increase your sales, you must first increase your pipeline. The higher the revenue target, the more pipeline you need to implement, as the pipeline is the main indicator of earnings (which is a lagging indicator of marketing success).

The safest way to predict and build a pipeline is to focus on the maximum number of planned meetings with B2B customers and other interactions.

In short, MQMs feed the pipeline, which then generates revenue.

A successful MQM program will generate a large number of meeting requests, which must be handled and monitored carefully for efficiency and follow-up. Setting up an appointment with a potential client or customer can take up to a dozen emails and calls if done manually. Therefore, companies that take MQM seriously should use a meeting automation platform extensively.

Adding a MAP to your marketing technology stack can significantly increase your MQM resources, as it automates three time-consuming tasks:

  1. Pre-meeting planning: orchestrate the meeting set up for participants and make sure everyone has the information they need to make the meeting a success
  2. Workflow management: Enable meeting managers or marketing personnel to oversee all meeting requests and confirmations to ensure that relevant sales information is captured and meeting logistics is managed

Post-meeting analysis: impacted revenue statistics toolboxes and research and management meetings to understand buyer performance and intent

Think about how to add MQM to your multichannel digital marketing programs, globally and regionally. By booking more virtual meetings with customers, you shorten your sales cycle and generate more profit in your sales pipeline.