How to move away from MQLs



The blog discusses the transition from the traditional demand-gen model to an account-based model in B2B marketing. It emphasizes that the shift requires attention to the three key elements: Product (the right ABM tech stack), People (sales and marketing alignment), and Process (documented workflows and metrics). The blog advises that a successful account-based model focuses on quality over quantity and may encounter challenges but is ultimately worth the effort.

By Payal Parikh, Director of Client Engagement at Heinz Marketing

Do you want your organization to move away from the traditional demand-gen model to an account-based model? Which means, starting to measure MQAs rather than MQLs. You are not alone. There are a lot of organizations that are ready to move away from the traditional demand gen model of generating Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). There are some that have already mastered it and all they are measuring is account-based metrics. And there are some organizations that are generating both – MQLs and MQAs. There is no right or wrong answer here and no cookie-cutter solution to a particular model.

When it comes to Account-Based Marketing, the focus should shift from quantity to quality. Plus, in B2B marketing there are multiple people involved in the buying committee – purchase decision doesn’t come from a single person. It is a decision from the entire account.

You already know ‘why’ you want to move away from MQLs if you are reading this post. If you are looking for ‘how’, keep reading.

How to make the shift?

To move to an account-based model, you will need the right tools and tech. But, is it just about purchasing the best ABM platform out there? You can invest in the best ABM platform but that is not going to solve your problem. Your organization needs a mindset change.

3 P’s of Account-Based Model:

There are 3 things you need to nail down for a successful Account-Based Model:

  1. Product
  2. People
  3. Process

1.     Product

The product we are talking about is the tech stack. It is the technology that you will need for a successful account-based model.
Lots of big players are in the market with AI technology. You need an ABM platform that will show you intent data per account that is within your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). Make sure you select the right platform that fits your business model.

An ABM platform should have three essential capabilities to support your strategy and ensure continued scalable success:

  • Account targeting
  • Cross-channel engagement
  • Account analytics

Most importantly, select the right partner that can support you throughout your journey toward this change. You will need a lot of hand-holding in the beginning, so pick someone who is there for you to guide you and train your sales and marketing teams along the way.

2.     People

Are your sales and marketing teams aligned on this new change? Does everyone know what is changing for them? You must make sure everyone is on board with the change you are proposing.

ABM by its very nature brings the two teams together—if both sales and marketing can agree to work together. If you’re finding it challenging to get sales to buy in at first, you’re not alone. Ultimately, you are working toward a sales and marketing partnership. Read the Playbook: Sales and Marketing Alignment for strategies to help you get there.

Where do you start? First, make sure the sales team understands the dramatic benefit that ABM brings to their lives. Then, demonstrate how a successful ABM strategy hinges on their input, and share how ABM strategies can stall.

Ultimately, it is all about quality vs quantity which creates a win-win for both the parties and for the business bottom line.

3.     Process

Another important piece to moving from a lead-based model to an account-based model is Process.

There are a lot of processes you can document, and there are some that are must-haves or the most critical ones.

  • Priority list – Priority list for sales that includes form-fill inquiries, MQAs, and anything that needs their attention. This will provide them with a guideline about who and what to prioritize in their day
  • Checklists – Step-by-step guide for the sales team to use when following up with MQAs
  • Workflows – Flowchart with workflows providing a visual representation of the process
  • Scoring – Documented and clear scoring or intent model
  • Sales cadences – Documented, easy-to-follow sales cadences with a mix of automated and manual touches
  • Training documents – Include tech training and process training documentation
  • Audience documents – Identify and record your ICP, Buying Committee, Personas, Messaging, and buyer’s journey. Sales teams will need this when they do their own research and outreach
  • Metrics – Identify KPIs that you will be tracking to measure success, and align with sales on those KPIs. Read my blog post about what ABM metrics you should be tracking
  • SLAs – Modify your current SLAs and provide more time to sales for a follow-up, to incorporate account-based research. Remember, it is all about quality, not quantity

Remember, this is not a one-time set-and-forget. It should be an iterative process you can update after the pilot test is complete. And, after you’ve fully launched, and you’ve given the teams some time to work on the new process.

The Account-based model can fail without any of the 3 P’s.

Revamping or moving away from MQLs is not an easy or simple solution. You could get pushback from those above and below you. The people you manage will have to revamp their approach to meet a different set of more revenue-focused metrics. Marketing leaders need to start from scratch to truly understand what metrics align with ROI and revenue and develop a new set of KPIs to measure our team’s work. All of this will take time, resources, and patience. But it will also be worth it.

We have helped a lot of organizations make this shift. Let me know if you would like to talk about any of the 3 P’s. Add your comments below or email me.