Tech Marketing

How To Improve Your Lead-to-MQL-Conversion Rate

Article Summary

In the B2B marketing landscape, the conversion of leads to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) is paramount. Surprisingly, less than half of the leads generated by B2B marketers are genuinely qualified to purchase their products. To enhance the lead-to-MQL conversion rate, businesses must adopt a series of strategic steps. Establishing clear qualification criteria is essential, helping marketers identify potential buyers that match an ideal customer profile. Implementing lead scoring systems can further streamline the qualification process, assigning point values to leads based on behaviors and characteristics. During the lead capture phase, using forms that filter out unqualified leads can be beneficial. Adopting targeted marketing strategies, such as content syndication, ensures that the audience reached is more likely to convert. Lastly, an omnichannel approach, encompassing various marketing methods, can provide a holistic view of leads, aiding in accurate qualification. By focusing on these strategies, businesses can significantly improve their lead-to-MQL conversion rates.

Did you know that not even half of the leads B2B marketers generate are qualified to buy their products? That's a staggering number, considering how much time and effort marketers put into attracting those leads and collecting their information. However, through targeted marketing efforts and consistent qualification processes, B2B marketers can engage more buyers who match their target customers and have a greater chance of moving from a lead to a marketing qualified lead (MQL).

Learn five tips to improve your B2B marketing strategies and attract higher-quality leads.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leads become marketing qualified leads (MQLs) when they meet the basic qualifications of a customer
  • Create a consistent qualification process to ensure you don't lose any leads along the way
  • Increase your conversion rate by using targeting strategies to attract more MQLs

When Does a Lead Become a Marketing Qualified Lead?

A marketing qualified lead is the second stage in the qualification journey from stranger to a customer:

  • Lead: A customer that a business captured data from
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): A lead that matches an ideal customer profile
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): MQLs with a high buyer's intent
  • Opportunity: An SQL with interest in a specific deal with a high closing probability
  • Closed: A lead that made a purchase

Every lead a business attracts isn't automatically an MQL. That title denotes those that match an ideal buyer persona. For example, a B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company's target persona would be decision makers within relevant businesses. Individuals and hobbyists aren't MQLs, even if those individuals downloaded an asset or signed up for a trial.

Increasing the number of leads a business can qualify as an MQL starts with targeting the right audience, knowing who a business wants to attract, and then identifying those leads.

The average conversion rate from lead to MQL to SQL to an opportunity to closed

Why Tracking Your MQL Conversion Rate Is Important

To calculate an MQL conversion rate, divide MQLs by the total number of leads generated. Multiplying that number by 100 turns it into a percentage.

For example, if a business generates 1,000 leads, and 300 of those are MQLs, the conversion rate would be 30%.

Marketers use lead conversion rates as a benchmark for success. Every successful marketing campaign starts with a goal, which includes numbers the team wants to hit. Lead generation campaigns often use MQL conversion rates to track a campaign's success.

This calculation tells marketers how effectively their strategies reached the right audience. For example, if an ad brought in 500 new leads, but only 10 were potential buyers, then the ad spend wasn't worth the results, and the marketing team needs to reevaluate the campaign or find new strategies altogether.

How To Increase Lead-to-MQL-Conversion Rates for B2B Businesses

Use these five strategies to increase the number of MQLs your business generates.

1. Establish Qualification Criteria

What does an MQL look like?

Building an ideal customer profile tells marketers the type of leads that are potential buyers. A buyer's profile outlines the customer's:

  • Title
  • Business
  • Age
  • Interests
  • Pain points
  • Primary motivators

These personas keep the qualification process consistent.

In addition, understanding who an MQL is helps marketers target those leads through campaigns, so a higher number of MQLs fill in the lead generation form. Unfortunately, marketers lose 50% of their marketing budgets on unqualified traffic. Marketers can save money by focusing on marketing to qualified leads from the start through direct campaigns and industry-specific channels.

2. Incorporate Lead Scoring

Lead scoring streamlines the lead qualification process and ensures the marketing team remains consistent. Lead scoring assigns a point value to the behaviors and characteristics of leads. The more points a lead has, the higher that lead ranks. Once the lead hits a designated qualification score, the lead becomes an MQL.

For example, a lead named Bob might be in the right industry, giving him three points, and be a primary decision maker, giving him two more points. Then Bob clicks on an email link, which makes his second interaction with the business's content. That multi-touch behavior gives him five more points boosting his overall score to 10. If the customer management system is programmed to qualify anyone with 10 points, Bob will receive a promotion to the list of MQLs, receiving more targeted marketing content to continue moving him through the sales funnel.

Bob's example is basic, as most businesses will have far more criteria and a higher score requirement before a system qualifies a lead. However, the concept is the same: Establish a set score for behaviors and remain consistent to ensure no lead falls through the crack and you catch every qualified lead.

3. Filter out Leads During the Capture Stage

To capture leads, marketers use forms for downloading digital content, signing up for events, scheduling a demo or free trial, and receiving more information. Marketers then add those leads to a database and begin the qualification and nurturing process.

When initially generating leads, the form fields play a considerable role in the qualification process. For example, fields asking leads for job titles and industry help marketers know from the start which leads are MQLs so the business can qualify those leads faster.

Lead qualification form fields

Image from ActualTech Media

4. Use Targeted Marketing Strategies

Marketers can increase the number of leads they generate by attracting qualified leads through targeted strategies. A targeted approach is a marketing campaign directly to a niche market.

For example, ActualTech Media uses content syndication for lead generation to target a specific audience. Through this strategy, businesses share gated assets in third-party locations with filters, so the asset only collects information from qualified entries. This way, the marketers' list of leads received from the campaign will only be MQLs.

Another way to target a specific audience is through webinar lead generation.  A thought leader presents during the webinar to an audience of tech professionals. Then, the presenter receives a list of attendees and information about each attendee, which the marketer can use to qualify those leads.

5. Use an Omnichannel Approach

Marketers shouldn't just stick with one method for generating and qualifying leads. Using an omnichannel approach helps to qualify more leads in a shorter time. Through omnichannel marketing, businesses collect more data on each lead for more accurate qualifications.

For example, a lead might download an asset and attend a webinar. Because that lead participated in both marketing campaigns, it demonstrates a greater potential to buy, and the marketers receive more data on that lead to move them through the sales funnel.

Generate More MQLs

ActualTech Media helps B2B marketers reach their target audience so more leads become MQLs. Our content syndication for lead generation solutions directly connects you to your target audience as a B2B marketer. You can also reach hundreds of tech professionals through our webinar lead gen.

Contact us to learn more about our lead generation services.