We are all aware of Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). This is the lead generation output that follows from the typical marketing funnel. You start with traffic either through organic search or paid media, hoping that the prospect will land on your website or blog. Or, you shoot for MQL with outbound efforts, e.g., email and social channels with a call to action path to a landing page with a form fill.
At this point, a visitor's curiosity has been piqued, and they’ll be spending some time with you which is closely related to the area of their interest. Thereafter, they are nurtured to get them to the next stage, the ideal being that their email/contact information is captured in a form so that you can continue to build a relationship with them.
SaaS companies now have an opportunity with PQL (Product Qualified Lead) where they can let prospects Test Drive the product. A PQL is sometimes defined as them actually using the product and demonstrating that they see value.
MQL and PQL in many cases do not indicate buyer intent. Empirical evidence suggests many real buyers avoid revealing their intent and contact information. In the case of MQL, the number of blog / white-paper reads, webinar attendance and a certain score does not always translate to a qualified prospect. On the other hand, getting on a free trial results in buyers dropping off, since it’s too much work to set up to see the true value of the product.
Marketing loses credibility. Marketing ROI is opaque at best. Sales is left with an empty lead bucket.
So how do you drive MQL and PQL to have the best quality leads? Ideally you want your sales team to say that each lead that you passed on to them was a high quality lead.
Let us consider a way to have your prospect see the product in action themselves with a self-service demo solution.
Why not have leads try out your fully populated product instance before they talk to sales? This is where an interactive demo on your website enters the picture. This demo shows actual product screens, and goes through a story of what value the product brings for their organization. These interactive screens can also include audio or video guidance. The user picks their path and can stop at any point to go deeper as they see how to be a hero to their business.
A self serve product demo on your landing page would help as follows:
- Interactive content drives 5-9X engagement and leads to return site visits
- Prospects are more likely to embrace a product when they can touch it, e.g., via the demo
- If a prospect invests the time to try the demo, it might show more intent than press a “Free trial” button
Your engineering and or product management team can help build a true in-house demo that achieves the above goals. However, this resource intensive effort will also lead to down the road maintenance issues, e.g., how and who keeps up with product changes, new features, etc.
Or you can use new demo build tools like Storylane to easily make a demoable product that can be experienced by your prospects. I have seen others use a similar approach for 2-3X lead results and happy sales’ teams.