πŸ”† SaaS qualification Mistake #4: Too Early

As you have noticed, this month, I am on a hunt to uncover the mistakes made in SaaS qualification. Here’s another one: Stepping in way too early.

The prospect is not ready at all to make a decision – no matter how compelling our arguments are or how hard we push.

There are two fundamental issues:Β 

  1. Hand-over from Marketing to Sales is ill-defined.Β 
  2. Marketing and Sales have individual targets.

What happens:Β 

  • The sales team wastes precious time on people who ghost them.
  • Fingerpointing about who’s to blame for underperformance.
  • Management makes decisions on unreliable forecasts.

Here’s the thing.Β 

In theory, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) are separate stages in lead qualification. They represent different levels of engagement and readiness of a potential customer to make a purchase.Β 

The ultimate difference lies in two subtle words: Interest and Intent.

 

An MQL is a lead that has

  • shown interest in a company’s products or services but may not be fully ready to purchase.Β 
  • engaged with marketing efforts, such as filling out a contact form, downloading a whitepaper, subscribing to a newsletter, or visiting the website multiple times.

In other words, They typically exhibit behavior indicating interest but haven’t necessarily expressed a strong intent to buy.Β 

 

An SQL is a lead thatΒ 

  • may have had direct conversations with a sales representative, requested a product demo around a specific problem, or submitted detailed inquiries about pricing and implementation.
  • have cleared specific criteria set by the sales team, such as budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT).

In other words, they are considered more sales-ready because they have shown a stronger intent to buy soon.

 

So, how do you go about it?Β 

Two simple tweaks:Β 

  1. Align targets between Marketing and Sales. It gets them to talk to each other because now they’re in it together.
  2. Clearly define what needs to be true for an MQL to turn into an SQL. It cuts out the irritation and waste.

 

Remember:
Average SaaS companies are busy with everything that shows interest.
Remarkable SaaS companies perform because they prioritize strong intent.

Question for you to reflect upon

What % of your Sales Pipeline can be labeled ‘Too early’? What would happen to sales performance if you move them back into nurture mode?

 

Be Remarkable

 

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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.