Improving the Marketing-to-Sales Pipeline

Before jumping into customer journey tools like MCAE’s Engagement Studio or SFMC’s Journey Builder, consider the marketing-to-sales pipeline needed to support a successful lead nurturing strategy. A strong lead distribution process improves results on inbound marketing leads, maximizes sales efficiency, and creates a more seamless experience for prospects.

Defining MQL and SQL.

Start by working with Sales to develop your organization’s unique definitions for MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) and SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). This creates an infrastructure for lead distribution and process automation that surfaces qualified leads faster. MQLs are Prospects that have shown interest in your brand – for example, clicking an advertisement or visiting the website. SQLs are Prospects that have demonstrated intent to buy – for example, downloading a case study or requesting a demo.  

Using the MQL and SQL framework helps Sales close more deals by prioritizing the leads that are ready to convert, while allowing Marketing to continue to nurture leads that require more exposure.

understanding the difference between an mql and sql in process automation

Build Credibility for Marketing Leads.

Unqualified leads will make their way into the marketing funnel, and an important step in building credibility with Sales is minimizing the time they waste to disqualify. Implementing thoughtful processes to maintain data integrity can help uphold the distribution of high-quality leads. 

For example, Marketing can help to ensure only leads with valid company email addresses are entering the pipeline. Because MCAE (fka Pardot) automatically protects your domain’s sending authority by blocking sends to invalid email addresses, using an Auto-Responder email on form completions can validate contact information in real-time, before being assigned to Sales for follow-up. Additionally, advanced form handler settings can be configured to prevent submissions from free ISPs (like Yahoo Mail, etc.). 

Educating Sales on the criteria Marketing uses to capture and validate leads helps build trust that the leads in their pipeline are worth following up on.

Help Sales Close Deals.

Marketing should continue to have a vested interest in leads as they move through the Sales process. This means monitoring Sales activity on marketing-influenced Opportunities, and offering support if they become stagnant. In addition to email nurture campaigns, help Sales leverage other Marketing assets that might be helpful in follow-up outreach. For example: 

  • Site Retargeting: If your Sales team uses the website in their outreach, investing in Site Retargeting can help keep your organization top-of-mind with Prospects across the web.
  • Earned Media Articles: If your Sales team needs a reason to follow-up, packaging earned media articles or relevant industry articles can be impactful direct email opportunities.

Building accountability for both Sales and Marketing throughout the lead process helps create a shared definition, and therefore celebration, of success. It’s important to recognize Sales champions who stay engaged with the lead distribution process and drive results for Marketing. Position these team members as leaders and, where possible, funnel additional Marketing leads to them as added incentive.

At Revely, we believe that quality data combined with an intentional strategy is key to creating experiences that build trust with your customers, while simultaneously driving revenue. Reach out to us at and let’s discuss how Revely can help your business.
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