[This post was originally published in December 2010. I have rewritten and updated it recently. Last Modified Date: 09/26/2022]
Lead generation for manufacturers is not easy, and it takes time and effort. A lead is a lead, right? Depends – are you in Marketing or in Sales? Industrial lead generation for sales is complicated.
On top of that, manufacturing marketers have to deal with and understand a bunch of acronyms—AIDA, ToFU, MoFu, BoFU, CTA, MQLs, SQLs, SAL, PPC, CTR, ROMI, etc., to name just a few. Are you familiar with all of them?
- AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action
- ToFU: Top of the funnel
- MoFU: Middle of the funnel
- BoFU: Bottom of the funnel
- CTA: Call-to-action
- MQLs: Marketing Qualified Leads
- SQLs: Sales Qualified Leads
- SAL: Sales Accepted Leads
- PPC: Pay-per-click
- CTR: Click-through rate
- ROMI: Return-on-marketing-investment
Really, the list is endless.
The success of industrial lead generation depends on SAL
You know all about the problem of Sales and Marketing operating in separate silos. Sales always blames Marketing for generating “crappy” leads, and Marketing points fingers at Sales for not taking follow-up action.
SAL to the rescue!
Huh? What am I talking about – Sales Accepted Leads is the bridge between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Clearly defining MQL, SAL and SQL are critical to the success of lead generation for manufacturers.
What are MQLs and SQLS?
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is someone who has shown some interest and filled out a form with their basic contact information to download your content they believe is valuable. These are top-of-the-funnel (ToFU) leads.
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is someone who has shown an interest in your product or service and not just in consuming your content. These prospects are further along in their buying journey. These are middle-of-the-funnel (MoFU) leads who may be ready to have a conversation with your sales team.
One of the biggest mistakes Marketing makes is they tend to hand off MQLs to Sales to qualify and close. However, marketing’s job doesn’t end with generating MQLs. There is a lot more work to be done.
What is the best way to generate good MQLs and nurture them into SQLS? The answer – Manufacturing Content Marketing for Industrial Lead Generation. I’m obviously biased, but plenty of independent research studies have shown this to be 100% true.
How SAL brings together Sales and Marketing
There is an essential step between MQLs and SQLs. I refer to it as SAL – Sales Accepted Lead; it bridges the gap between the two.
SAL cannot be subjective or arbitrary. Assigning a numeric score to qualified sales leads based on a predefined set of rules removes the subjectivity out of qualitative ranking like Hot, Warm, and Cold leads. Quantitative lead definitions reduce the friction between Sales and Marketing.
SAL is a three-letter word that is the critical step in achieving Sales and Marketing alignment.
- The two have to work together to come up with a unified definition of a qualified lead
- Sales agrees to take follow-up action on these leads
- Sales provides feedback to Marketing to refine these definitions and scores over time
- Marketing must be willing to adjust scoring rules based on feedback from sales to refine lead scoring for optimal results (closed loop system)
Without SAL, Sales and Marketing will continue to point fingers at each other when things don’t go right
Marketing Automation for manufacturers
Scoring and grading leads manually or using a simple spreadsheet are time-consuming and prone to errors. Manufacturers should use Marketing Automation software to make the process a lot more efficient and accurate. There are many more benefits to using Marketing Automation.
I came across an excellent guide, “The Manufacturer’s Guide to Data-Driven Marketing Automation.” I suggest you download the free guide. (I’m not affiliated with the publisher).
The key takeaway is that you may be making a very costly mistake if you treat all your leads the same, put them in a common bucket, and toss them over to sales to qualify and close. Instead, you will need some form of SAL to maximize your ROI for lead generation for manufacturers.