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  • Writer's pictureMichael Venman

Don't send all your MQL's to SDR's

Not all Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are created equal, and their downstream conversion rates vary wildly. And yet... it's ingrained into our psyche's that MQL's always get sent to SDR's for qualification prior to "wasting" the time of the AE. Understanding the downstream conversion rates allows for data-driven decision-making, increasing efficiency and ROI. Integrating Marketing Automation with SFDC empowers businesses to make informed choices, align sales and marketing efforts, and drive higher conversion rates down funnel. It's pivotal that you remove this as part of your cannon.

There are two types (ok... many more, but for this example I'm going to call out two) of MQL's:

  1. High Intent MQL's - Leads that are part of your ICP who reach out directly for a meeting or for more information.

  2. Score-up's - Leads that have interacted with your business' content (website, emails, conferences etc...) to a point where Marketing says, "This is ready for Sales!"

Historically, these have been treated the same by a demand generation / marketing team as they hand off leads to the Sales function within the business. Every MQL will be sent through some sort of lead routing system and 9/10 times it will be sent first to the SDR first to qualify and then (after BANT or an equivalent has been established) the lead will be handed off the Sales team. The thought behind this is to protect the sales person's (high value company resource) time.

Not a bad thought, but especially as selling motions become harder (increased SDR's across the tech sales landscape, tightening budgets, glut of information on the web before they need to engage) it's important to follow the buyer's journey. If a VP or C-level decision maker at a target company is reaching out for information, there is nothing more insulting than their time being wasted on a BANT call with a vendor resource that can't give them what they want.

There is also a good reason why companies don't typically do this. Here are just a couple:

  • The SDR function depends on receiving these "layups" as part of their compensation plan.

  • The Marketing Automation integration with your CRM and/or routing system isn't prepared to identify the differences between high-intent and score-up MQL's.

  • The Sales team has historically lost track of leads and can't be trusted to call within a given time frame. (Fear of delay and decay.)

Even with the above, it's important to recognize your funnels and approach them directly.

  • If the SDR function depends on receiving layups instead of doing the hard work to actually drive new leads for the business, probably time to reorganize their priorities and start compensating them on the right actions for he business.

  • Placing a converting campaign or differentiating through your flows a high-intent MQL is absolutely possible, especially with help from someone like The Sales Nerd...

  • Managing your team to responsibly receive and give handoffs should be a baseline expectation. If you're not there, time to start talking to your management.


We are always trying to squeeze water out of a stone in RevOps. Especially as you get past the big integration puzzles and start focusing on optimizing your funnel (that last 5-10%) you should make the most out of what the resources (MQL's) you are paying for. If you'd like to learn what other companies are doing to ensure they increase their conversion rates and granularly track their marketing results please reach out to me at The Sales Nerd. We work with companies and firms to ensure their SFDC+ ecosystem is developed for long term success and would love to help!

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