sales versus marketing

Leads…are they sales or marketing’s job?

Are SDRs actually mini marketers?

If the role of Sales Development teams is to boost the number of qualified leads, is that not a marketing function?

In a world where Inbound is typically generated by marketing and Outbound by sales – who owns the task of generating reliable, profitable and predictable leads?


The questions above are inspired from my friend Eric Quanstrom, CMO at KiteDesk and I would like to address these issues in my first post of 2017.

A source of frustration for many marketers, sales people and entrepreneurs is echoed by Eric – at the end of the day; who has the job to put the fuel in the fire?

My opinion, like it is on many things in life – is rather extreme. I believe that jargon, titles and corporate belligerence often limit our ability to efficiently address issues in our business.


Let’s look at the example of the MQL vs the SQL. Textbooks would tell us that a MQL is generated when a person is ready to interact with a real person – and a SQL is when this individual is deemed to be capable of making a purchasing decision. Given this logic, a SQL is in fact just a more qualified MQL – thus we can assume SQL > MQL in terms of value to a business owner.

However, taking this notion further could we perhaps tell if a MQL is sales qualified without requiring human intervention? Furthermore if what we are after are actually more SQLs than MQLs is there any point in measuring MQLs at all?

My answer is that the term MQL was invented for two reasons – that the standard industry process has always been to warm up individuals and pass them onto a sales team for closure. Secondly I believe that the increase in data driven touch points from e-marketing has egregiously replaced conventional lead scoring with the term MQL.

In my opinion all organisations should be measured on the number of TRUE leads they generate (sales qualified, opted in) and instead the role of marketing analysts + sales enablement teams should be to understand how to develop lead pipelines using strategic initiatives which include but are not limited to:

  • Using technographic and firmographic data to auto-qualify based on what we ALREADY know about a potential account
  • Adding value through marketing messages should be done on an role-specific level
  • Create trust to induce a solid opt-in for human interaction not soft marketing signals such as case study downloads, ebook shares e.t.c
  • When this human interaction occurs it should be used to uncover previously unknown data
  • This data should then be appended and tested in accounts which exhibit similar characteristics
  • Building web based experiences which allow users to explore your solution and self qualify

I will give you an example of the below coming into action:

  • I am looking to target firms in the IT security industry – I can use a product like Datanyze to see that 5 firms in the Bay Area use Salesforce and have recently made a key hire in customer advocacy
  • My marketing team is able to add value to Customer Advocacy Leaders by providing tools for them to do their job better. When they interact with these tools they are not yet qualified but such signals are stored and contribute to their overall lead score. Under the status quo if any of these individuals engaged with this content they would be considered an MQL
  • At a certain level, the tone of the messaging will shift to booking a 1-1 meeting with a sales representative
  • The goal of this sales rep is to uncover previously unknown data and upload this to Salesforce where it can be categorized and deployed to similar accounts i.e. IT Security firms generally take 6-12 months to generate a case study
  • A follow up to the call allows the individual to explore the demo of their own accord providing further indicators for lead scoring

Given the steps involved with the above – determining at what point this is a SQL vs MQL is no longer relevant – instead what matters is establishing a criteria for the conditions for a client profile + activity to become a TRUE lead which is sales qualified. For mmy product this would look like:

  • Has direct access to budget over $10k p/a
  • Is in IT security
  • Has over 100 employees
  • Has agreed to chat with a rep
  • Has a Salesforce environment
  • Has delivered a positive NPS score on the demo
  • Looking to deploy a voice of customer solution


What does this mean for modern marketers?

Given that most organisations have embraced the traditional split of MQL vs SQL – many marketers are simply measured on the no. of MQLs generated. However more and more I am seeing that marketers are simply measured on the amount of attributable revenue generated which I feel shows a slow trend of organisations embracing that there is more to the equation than just the top of the funnel contribution. I believe revenue is a fair metric – but I believe raising the bar for lead qualification and measuring the amount of marketing lead activities involved in contributing to a TRUE lead is a much fairer way to construct a KPI.


Where do SDRs fit in?

Marketing can struggle to add value when the content is not highly personalized & relevant, when the content is not engaging and limited by the size of the time and when the brand does not resonate with the user (a large challenge for startup companies). I believe that cadences should be hitting individuals in an account but may not be effective at times given the challenges above. Thus the role of the SDR is to be the lasso – harvesting and nurturing individuals carefully to come closer into the nest who exhibit traits of being partially qualified. The marketing/enablement team needs to be the whirlpool – continually optimizing and creating the conditions for the right people to drift into the qualified center.


Inbound vs Outbound

Ideally all marketing should be inbound but based on my comments above – we go outbound when people who do exhibit the right qualifying tendencies have not taken any or the right kind of action. Secondly we go outbound when we have people who have escaped through the cracks and are not being actively targeted by our efforts to drive them inbound.


About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube