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  • Writer's pictureRoger Wilks

Why it’s time to ditch MQLs and start focusing on SRLs

Understanding the Shift from MQLs to SRLs in B2B SaaS Marketing

As a marketer in the B2B SaaS industry, understanding the difference between "Marketing Qualified Lead" (MQL) and "Sales Ready Lead" (SRL) is crucial for enhancing conversion rates and overall sales effectiveness. The shift from MQLs to SRLs can fundamentally transform how sales and marketing teams operate, driving better alignment and more efficient use of resources.

Why it’s time to ditch MQL’s and start focusing on SRL’s

What Are MQLs?

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are prospects who have engaged with your marketing efforts—filling out forms, downloading whitepapers, or attending webinars. These leads signal interest but are not always ready to purchase. Forrester Research highlights that fewer than 1% of MQLs convert into closed deals, indicating a significant misallocation of marketing resources​ (Forrester)​.

MQLs serve as early indicators of interest but often fall short of converting into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). This gap reveals inefficiencies in the traditional lead generation process, where a large volume of leads does not necessarily translate to high conversion rates. Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Survey confirms that MQL-centric approaches often fail to account for the complexities of B2B buying decisions, which typically involve multiple stakeholders​ (Forrester)​.

What Are SRLs?

Sales Ready Leads (SRLs) are prospects who have shown strong interest through direct interactions with sales representatives, positioning them further along in the sales cycle. SRLs provide a more accurate indicator of a lead's readiness to buy. The B2B Lead Generation Benchmark Report by MarketingSherpa reports a 10% conversion rate from MQL to SQL, compared to a 50% conversion rate from SRL to SQL, underscoring the efficacy of focusing on SRLs​ (Forrester)​.

SRLs are identified through deeper engagement, enabling a more targeted and effective sales approach. These leads have engaged meaningfully with the company, allowing sales teams to tailor their strategies to meet the specific needs and readiness of these prospects.

Benefits of SRLs

SRLs yield valuable insights through direct conversations, allowing sales teams to better understand customer needs, preferences, and objections. A Harvard Business Review study found that sales representatives with deep customer knowledge are 70% more likely to meet their quotas, highlighting the importance of focusing on SRLs for better conversion rates​ (Forrester)​.

Focusing on SRLs also enhances the alignment between sales and marketing teams. When both teams concentrate on nurturing leads that are closer to making a purchase decision, the sales cycle shortens, and resources are used more efficiently, leading to a more streamlined and effective sales funnel.

Optimising Demand Generation

Tailoring your approach to demand generation involves nurturing MQLs through educational content like email campaigns and webinars, moving them closer to becoming SRLs. For SRLs, the focus shifts to closing the sale, using insights from direct interactions to personalise sales pitches.

Effective demand generation requires a dual strategy: educating MQLs to advance them to the next stage and refining the sales process for SRLs to ensure a higher conversion rate. This approach leverages the strengths of both lead types, ensuring a robust and efficient sales funnel that maximises conversion rates and overall effectiveness.

The Future of B2B SaaS Marketing

At Quantum Marketing, we prioritise qualifying leads to an SRL level before passing them to clients. This strategy enhances conversion rates and aims for a 50 to 1 return on marketing investment. Shifting your focus from MQLs to SRLs can streamline your sales process and yield better business outcomes.

The future of B2B SaaS marketing lies in recognising the limitations of MQLs and embracing the potential of SRLs. By doing so, businesses can achieve higher conversion rates, more efficient sales cycles, and ultimately, greater success in their marketing efforts. Embracing SRLs not only improves the alignment between sales and marketing teams but also ensures that resources are directed towards leads with the highest potential for conversion.

For more insights, get in touch.


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