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The word value as it relates to an inquiry or lead for your company is defined in different ways. Many definitions arise, and those definitions vary depending on the professional trying to define it and the hat they wear within your company.

As a lifelong marketer, my perspective is quite­ simple, there is value in a lead if a targeted marketing approach has been activated, a person has seen your marketing and they offered their personal information in return for your company to get back with them — pretty simple. The first value transfer has occurred. Now they are in your funnel and the work really begins!

This, in essence, is called a top-of-funnel Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

Value Transfer

The value to the company comes in the form of a trade or “transfer of value” – product info for personal contact information. Without that transfer of information, there is very little or no value to either the consumer or company.

But wait… there’s more.

Qualified leads are not always derived from marketing campaigns. Sales teams invest loads of time communicating with suspects trying to connect with them to earn their trust. All while gauging whether or not they are of value or not. A sales derived lead is called a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) once certain criteria are met.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road

As a marketer, an MQL is like gold, and we give each other high fives when we get them. However, as a sales professional, the MQL doesn’t always have as much value as a SQL does because it may not be as easy to nurture through to purchase –at least that can be the perception in some circles.

Regardless of whether you have an MQL or SQL, both have a value transfer of customer information and product information.

My suggestion is to devise a strategy to work on those leads quickly and efficiently. The goal is to further pre-qualify the suspect beyond where they are currently and get them to take the next step of action… preferably toward a purchase.

Watch marketing leader Neil Patel talk about “4 Questions to Generate Quality Leads”

Neil Patel

Sales Cycle

If your sales cycle is short, pre-qualifying a suspect must happen quickly. If your sales cycle is long, this does not have to happen immediately. You must understand the difference and think about nurture methods (for marketing and sales teams) that will work with your sales cycle length and customer funnel position (Top or middle).

Value does have credibility in both sales and marketing circles. We need to consider both the sales and marketing piece of the puzzle and come together as teams to accomplish our common goal of earning new customers. But we also need to understand what the common value is so we know how to define it and understand what it is when we see it.

So how do you establish value from a marketing qualified lead? As a marketer, it’s our job to build a strategy and use the right tools to nurture the top of funnel suspects so they filter down to the middle – when they do, the sales team will have a much higher close percentage because the suspect is no longer a suspect but a warmer prospect that has been willing to give even more information about their needs, pain points, motivations and buying potential.


Scott MacFarland is a lifelong marketer with a passion for content, marketing, digital, social, web, video, analytics, and all things that lead to successful conversions. Scott is currently the Marketing Director for the premiere Yacht brokerage in the US. HMY Yachts in Jupiter, Florida.

Follow Scott on LinkedIn or Twitter

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