What happens when an interested buyer lands on your website? If your lead generation flow is designed to deliver MQLs, the prospect probably browses some free content while you try to guide them to some gated premium content. Once the prospect fills out the form, the MQL process is set in motion.

Here’s a look at the typical MQL flow and how each step in the process represents a delay:

1. FORM SUBMISSION
As soon as the prospect submits the 8 or 10 form fields, that info is captured in the marketing automation platform (MAP).

2. SYNC LEAD FROM MAP TO CRM
Often, there will be insufficient firmographic data on the form-captured lead, so leads are synced every few minutes to the CRM, which is typically responsible for lead enrichment.

3. CRM DATA ENRICHMENT
The CRM appends data to the lead so there is enough information to score it. If a third-party data enrichment tool is used, the CRM system sends a real-time request to the third-party data company, which returns the enriched lead.

4. SYNC ENRICHED LEAD FROM CRM TO MAP
Because it is the MAP that manages scoring and lead lifecycle stages (example: Inquiry → MQL → SAL → SQL, etc.), the lead needs to take a return trip back to the marketing automation platform for additional processing.

5. LEAD SCORING
Using the behavioral data tracked in the MAP and the firmographic data acquired from the CRM, it’s now (finally!) possible to score the lead.

6. SET LEAD LIFECYCLE STAGE (MQL, SQL, ETC)
MAPs are a system of record for identifying where the lead is in the funnel. For example, if a lead is already part of an open opportunity, it would be marked as an SQL. Alternatively, if the lead fits both the firmographic and behavioral profiles, but no opportunity is open, then it’s identified as an MQL.

7. SYNC MQL LIFECYCLE STAGE FROM MAP TO CRM
The lead lifecycle stage now needs to be re-synced with the CRM so it can be properly routed.

8. CRM MQL ROUTING
Using CRM or a third-party lead management tool, the MQL is routed to the right BDR or salesperson for follow-up.

9. WAIT FOR MQL ACCEPTANCE
Assuming the MQL is routed to the correct person (which is, unfortunately, a generous assumption), the BDR or sales rep responsible for follow-up typically has 24 hours to accept or reject MQL. Delays associated with an incorrect lead assignment are unavoidable in a fast-growing organization where people are regularly promoted or change territory/business segment. Routing rules also rarely account for absences due to vacations and other real-life circumstances.

10. MQL ACCEPTED
If accepted, follow-up begins. If rejected, the lead is sent back to marketing for further processing.

11. MQL FOLLOW-UP
If the lead is accepted, the game of tag begins as the BDR or salesperson tries to connect and engage the MQL via email and phone and any other points of connection at their disposal.

Clearly, there are a lot of steps in this process, but the issue is less about the complexity of the process than it is about the sequence of events. In the MQL flow, each step represents a delay – something standing between the prospect and a conversation. The whole process has to be completed before a salesperson can even begin the follow- up process to initiate a conversation. The entire operation is rife with potential bottlenecks and roadblocks that can derail an opportunity.

Your buyers don't want to be treated like MQLs.

Treat your buyers like people. Here's how conversations are transforming the marketing funnel as we know it (and what you can do about it).

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