B2B Performance Marketing: Everything You Need to Know
by Cat Hausler
7 Min Read
Speak to a CTV Expert
8 Min Read
When considering your sales funnel, you may have heard of MQLs and SQLs. But SALs tend to go under the radar. Nonetheless, they are an important part of the consumer’s journey from “possible” to “definite.” Read on to learn more about this important inflection point in which your potential customer becomes a customer worth your serious attention.
SAL stands for “Sales Accepted Lead.” The Sales Accepted Lead definition can vary somewhat from brand to brand, but in short, an SAL is someone whom the marketing team has vetted and considers ready for the sales team’s attention.
An MQL, or “Marketing Qualified Lead,” is someone who is showing interest in your brand and whom your marketing team believes may eventually make a purchase. They may be identified as an MQL for reasons such as:
They have shown some initiative, at least. MQLs are open to persuasion and hearing more about your offerings. They’re interested in buying a product or experience and are gathering research on their options. MQLs are curious about you, but they aren’t seriously considering a purchase yet and are probably still querying others.
An SAL is someone who has moved down the sales funnel. Your marketing team has agreed they are worth passing on to your sales team for a more targeted pitch.
The hope is that SALs become SQLs based on your sales team’s efforts. SQL stands for “Sales Qualified Lead.” They’ve been qualified as true leads by the sales team as opposed to having accepted them as worthy of sales efforts.
An SQL is a lead that your sales team believes is poised to make a purchase. Sales qualified leads are further down the sales funnel. They are interested in seeing how your product or service can meet their needs.
SALs are important because they represent plausible sales leads—leads whose behavior your actions can influence.
It can be a perilous journey from MQL to SQL with customers easily slipping through any cracks in your sales funnel. It’s worth focusing on your SAL marketing to see what you can do to turn them into buyers.
By making your process more granular, you can find where leads are falling out of your funnel. While it’s true that only a fraction of SALs become SQLs that in turn become sales, you owe it to your brand to increase the odds as best you can. If a bit more personal attention or targeted advertising content makes it possible, then that’s a huge win for your brand.
The window for converting an SAL to an SQL can be very narrow—just one day or two at most. It’s important to strike while the iron’s hot, and tracking your SALs can help you follow up with them in a timely way.
SALs are determined by marketing metrics, but your sales and marketing teams must be in alignment. Company acceptance rates of leads should be 90% or higher—if they’re not, your sales and marketing teams should work out why.
You can use the number of SALs you’re generating as a metric of how effective your demand generation funnel is, i.e. how well you’re doing at creating desire and interest for your brand and products. You should have a healthy monthly number of SALs whom you can focus on turning into SQLs. Demand generation strategies include:
Once your demand generation has been successful, you can move on to the more targeted approaches of lead generation.
By looking closely at sales prospects at each stage, your sales team can focus their efforts on the best candidates, applying offers that will make the biggest difference. These may include free trials, custom plans, or discount offers. SALs also represent an inflection point where sales reps can decide how much potential the leads have before applying effort to convert them.
This is the question every marketer wants the answer to. Thankfully, there are some criteria that make it easier to tell which SALs are more likely to convert than others:
Do your SALs have the power to make a large purchase or do they need permission from someone else (or a higher level of management if a B2B situation)? If they are just on a fact-finding mission, it’s less likely they will make the final leap.
Do they have adequate resources to make the purchase? If not, no amount of persuasion or outreach will help.
If you’re selling cars, for example, and someone’s car has just been written off, you’re in luck—they have an immediate need to fulfill. But, if you’re dealing with a luxury item or trying to sell a car to someone whose current car is perfectly serviceable, it’s going to be a much harder battle.
Similar to the above (but subtly different), if your prospective buyer is motivated by a personal need or pain point, your job will be much easier. If someone needs tutoring for their children, for example, they’re highly motivated to find a solution. This means that you as a marketer or salesperson only have to stress the preeminence of your product, not the need that the customer already knows they have.
If someone is still perusing other sites and getting quotes, they’re not ready to take the plunge. However, if your data shows that a consumer has narrowed their search to you and is now (for example) choosing between two or three of your models, indications are that they’re ready to make a purchase.
By focusing on demand generation, you end up with more quality and motivated SALs. Use the tips above, and don’t neglect:
These are more personalized and targeted than demand generation. They may include such elements as:
Your aim as a salesperson is to give your lead all the knowledge they can use to feel empowered to make a purchase. Don’t pressure them. Adopt a helpful and authoritative tone as you do your best to nurture your lead.
People whom you’ve dealt with before already have a sense of trust around your brand. Pick up the phone and call them to see what their current needs are and if you have a product that can fulfill them.
MNTN Performance TV uses the power of data to make it easier to reach your ideal audience on Connected TV (CTV). When you know who will see your video, you can deliver a memorable ad that speaks to them on a deeper level. You can make an emotional connection, provide useful information and spark their interest without needing an overt sales pitch. In other words, you can create TV ads that don’t feel like ads. This helps move people from MQLs generally interested in your area to SALs who are likely to make a purchase.
Knowledge helps, and that’s where MNTN comes in. MNTN loves helping brands to craft Performance TV campaigns that are efficient, fun and move the needle. If you want to learn more, check out this article on how CTV advertising works!
Including SALs (Sales Accepted Leads) in your process can help you take a focused and thoughtful approach to your marketing and sales funnel. You don’t have to do all the work of conversions on your own. It’s better with a partner who knows both the power of data and the power of Performance TV to move leads down your funnel. Get in touch with MNTN today to see how you can turn Sales Accepted Leads into actual sales.
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