MQL and sales follow up best practice

Top Contributor

How do you to close the loop between leads that are being assigned to sales, making sure all of them are being followed up by sales and that the ball is not dropped by no sales person, and then actually getting stats on how many of the leads you created were qualified vs. non-qualified.

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Regular Contributor | Diamond Partner

Gil1001,

 

You are asking about one of the most critical issues facing inbound marketers.

 

Here is what we do (we are a Platinum Agency Partner focused on B2B and industrial clients):

 

1. Make sure that every new lead is assigned a contact owner. This enables accountability to prevent “dropping the ball”. When the lead becomes an MQL, change the ownership to a sales manager for reassignment (or to the appropriate salesperson if you have lead assignment rules/automation. Create a deal for MQL that starts with initial contact. Make sure the contact, company and deal are associated as you will need this for reporting.

 

2. Ensure that the sales process is reflected in the sales pipeline as deal stages. (Your company may need multiple pipelines if you have different lines of business.) This provides guidance to salespeople on next steps, and enables the tracking mechanism to see the status of each deal. For companies whose products have long sales cycles, we sometimes include “On Hold” and “Not Qualified” stages.

 

3.  Don’t let salespeople drop or delete leads that are not qualified. “Recycle” them for further nurturing. Use the lifecycle stage or use a property to capture the reason the lead was not qualified.

 

4.  If you are unable to get reporting at a sufficient level of detail from HubSpot, consider using a tool like Microsoft Power BI. It comes free with Office365. There is a HubSpot connector for Power BI in the HubSpot Integrations directory here: https://www.hubspot.com/integrations/powerbi (Disclosure: My firm, Bayard Bradford, provides this service).  The Power BI integration includes setup assistance and templates to get you jump started on tracking and reporting on salespeople activities at the individual level.

 

5. In many cases, we assign a inbound sales analyst to review inbound leads with sales team. This sort of ongoing training and coaching provides the change management support required to drive adoption.

 

At the end of the day, marketing is judged on sales’ performance. Get actively engaged with the sales team, teach them how you are generating leads so they trust your process, and help them learn how to work in the HubSpot platform.





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John Elmer
John Elmer, Bayard Bradford



Advanced CRM | HubSpot Integrations | Inbound Marketing for Sales Success

HubSpot Platinum Partner


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Top Contributor

Thanks, once the salesperson creates a deal it is fairly easy to track. I'm looking to track their activity with an MQL before creating a deal. While I let them create a pre-qualified deal I don't want them to create a deal before they engaged with that contact.

Also how do you suggest marking a lead status?

 

Thanks!

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New Contributor

Curious how you're determining MQL. I have a client in e-commerce and they are selling online courses.

 

Forms and Facebook ads will go to Leads status, then they are in our funnel. 

When you transition the lead to MQL?

 

And at what point do you transition them to SQL? Can you automate this?

 

Thanks!

 

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Regular Contributor | Diamond Partner

Hi Gil1001!

 

johnelmer makes some great points on making sure all leads are assigned and having your sales process mapped to your deal stages within HubSpot.

 

One thing I would add is to work out service level agreements (SLAs) with your sales team. Such SLAs could cover how long sales people have to respond to new leads, and how long they generally take to get to a decision point as to whether or not to create a deal, recycle the lead per johnelmer's suggestion, or to outright disqualify it.

 

If you have clearly defined lead statuses and are diligent in using them, you could set up automation to track how long leads are in each status and trigger notifications to the owners of those leads if the agreed upon time frame has passed and the leads are still in a particular status. This generally requires workflows and date stamp fields to capture those dates, and then additional workflows and notification emails to notify the lead owners.

 

Furthermore, you could create reports to look at all leads created during a particular time period and what there status is (to help get your qualified vs. unqualified rates), and also SLA enforcement reports to show all leads that are in a particular lead status longer than they should be to help marketing and sales leadership to keep an eye on things. 

 

Hopefully these points are helpful. If you need any help setting these components up, don't hesitate to reach out. 

 

Best regards,

 

Mike

 

mike@measuredresultsmarketing.com

Measured Results Marketing | HubSpot Platinum Agency Partner

Regular Contributor

Hi @gil1001,

 

What I do is I create a general marketing/sales process workflow that just runs in the background. Then, within this workflow, I periodically send tasks to sales reminding them to check on the contact. These reminders are coordinated with breaks in the sales cycle. The only way the contact is removed from this workflow is if they convert to the next stage, which is the workflow goal, or the sales rep indicates the deal is lost.

 

Also, I try to engineer the sales process such that the first message is an automated email so that the workflow gets the benefit of tracking the entire processes performance.

 

Why do it this way?

 

It ensures that a contact is always attached to something. And, most things are a process, so a workflow fits here. If you can lock the contact into this workflow, you can prompt a sales rep if the contact is in a current stage for too long.

 

The other nice thing about this is you do not need to hire any new people or dedicate someones time to just manually checking if contacts are being forgotten.

 

I hope this helps.

Regular Contributor

We had similar issues in not being able to appropriately track this process. We came up with the below solution after almost a year of working with HubSpot. Hope it is helpful to you! 

 

Situation: Wellsource is a B2B software company that often has very long sales cycles. It is not uncommon for a prospect to become an MQL, then revert back in the buying journey and re-convert as an MQL months (or even years) later. The company’s process was if a MQL did not move into a deal stage, its lifecycle stage was set back to Subscriber so that contacts would automatically receive our monthly blog updates to keep them engaged. The marketing team is measured on the total number of MQLs delivered to sales per month.

 

Problem: Every time an MQL was reset back to subscriber, the ‘Became a marketing qualified lead date’ would get stripped from the contact. This meant that if marketing brought 20 MQLs to sales in the month of January, and 10 of those didn’t move to a deal stage and were set back to subscriber, historical reporting would only show that marketing brought 10 MQLs in that month. This meant that marketing was not providing accurate reporting of total MQLs delivered, but only those MLQs that moved forward into a deal stage. I posted this issue on the community forum in 2018. Many B2B companies seem to have a similar problem as seen with similar ideas posted here and here.

 

Solutions Explored and Failed:

First we attempted to simply copy the ‘Became a marketing qualified lead date’ value into a custom property so that it wouldn’t get stripped if the contact was moved back in lifecycle stage. However, because the ‘Became a marketing qualified lead date’ property was a date:time default, it could not be moved into a standard date stamp property.

 

Next, we tried exporting the entire history of the ‘Became a marketing qualified lead date’ property, reformatting the spreadsheet to make the date:time default compatible with the standard date property in Hubspot. This, while a tedious and manual process, did work. However, we then struggled with how to show how many TIMES a contact became an MQL. There were some situations were a contact had become an MQL 3 times in the course of a year. Marketing needed a way to show how it was reconverting prospects to MQLs through ongoing nurturing campaigns.

 

To try to solve for this problem, marketing created multiple custom fields. ‘First date became an MQL’, ‘Second date became an MQL’, etc. Each month, marketing would do a full property export of the ‘Became a marketing qualified lead date’ property, reformat, and import each date into the appropriate field. This was a time consuming process and was not a scalable solution.

 

Solution: Once a contact becomes a MQL, instead of being passed to sales via lifecycle stage, it now gets passed to sales as a new deal on a pipeline called MQL Pipeline. 

The sales rep will then reach out to the contact and mark the lead status appropriately (reached out, connected, etc.) All MQL Pipeline deals will either get marked as Closed Lost or will be moved into the stage ‘Qualified Right Fit’ on the MQL Pipeline. This will trigger a workflow, which will move the deal into the Sales Pipeline under the ‘Qualified Right Fit’ deal stage. From here, sales should move the deal through either to a Closed Won or Closed Lost status as per the HubSpot Sales Process documents.

 

We are now able to report on how many deals move into Qualified Right Fit stage, and how many are marked as closed lost, and can even track re-converted contacts who have hit the MQL Pipeline more than once.

 

Marketing needed a way to report on both unique and total MQLs delivered to sales. Without fundamentally changing its process, there was no way to effectively report on its attribution efforts. By fundamentally changing the structure of how MQLs were delivered to sales using the Deals tool, marketing was able to effectively gather the reporting it needed to show its attribution efforts.