MELs is placed at the top of any B2B organization’s conversion funnel.
Typically, prospects that fall into the MEL category are those that have submitted only a small piece of information or converted on a piece of content that is mapped to the top of the funnel. In general, the form submits or touch associated with the MEL is lacking the information necessary to qualify the lead. This does not mean a MEL cannot become qualified though – it simply has yet to happen.
Within the MEL category, there are two sub-audiences:
- Suspects are leads that have only provided one or two pieces of self-identifying information, such as an email address.
- Prospects on the other hand are leads that have provided much of that missing information, such as name, email, and phone, but have not reached the criteria around qualification.
In general, MELs are the largest pool of potential customers because of the content; the content they consume and where that content fits in the larger sales funnel should reflect this. The goal with MELs is to help guide them down the funnel with appropriate pieces of content marketing and promotion to turn them into Marketing Qualified Leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
MQLs are those leads that have reached the level of qualification defined by your marketing team. These leads usually enter your funnel as a MEL by reading a blog post or submitting a limited amount of information to receive a piece of content focused on their industry. Through retargeting initiatives or other marketing channels, they were then presented with a product-specific piece of content, brochure, or some other sales-related asset that lead them to fill out a form resulting in qualification. Typically, this qualification is a result of their interest in your brand or product beyond what a prospect would have expressed in the MEL stage of the funnel.
What is most important to understand about the MQL stage is that you have now driven a lead to the point of handing off to your sales team based on their interest and other qualification criteria.
Sales Engaged Leads and Sales Qualified Leads
In various B2B organizations there are different qualification standards set by the marketing and sales departments based upon size of lead, potential revenue, and likeliness to convert into a customer. Thus, SELs and SQLs are marketing qualified leads that have now reached the sales team.
The transition from SEL to SQL simply takes a phone call or demo to understand the needs of the customer and scope of the potential purchase in terms of deal size and revenue. Just because a lead has entered into the sales team’s realm does not mean marketing should stop trying to close the deal.
Social retargeting based on email addresses and onsite interactions, such as a demo request form submit, are excellent targeting methods to use in nurturing a lead into a closed deal. This is especially true when assets such as case studies, new product features, or a blog post about a recent award that was won are available. Promoting these materials through social advertising and retargeting work in tandem with the more business-focused conversations being had with the sales team to effectively shorten the sales cycle and close the deal when it’s down to you and a competitor.
B2B Marketing that is Funnel-Focused
There are so many moving parts in the B2B marketer’s world, that the definition of a business’s conversion funnel is just the tip of the iceberg. This definition is critical to setting in motion marketing conversations around who to target, what marketing channels to use, and what content to create to effectively hit each stage of the funnel and drive a lead from a MEL to a customer. The ability to market to each of these stages effectively is what truly defines B2B marketing success.
If you’re interested in learning more about Global Martek marketing services contact us GlobalMartek.com