Inside Part 1 And Part 2 In this series, Why We Focus on Individual Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), although many revenue processes are still common, an old and limited method. In this blog (Part 3 of this series), we will explore why shifting focus to Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQA) is equally problematic.
An MQA has good intentions but the wrong focus
Over the past several years, based on the introduction of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) as a practice, a new option for focusing the revenue process, MQA, has emerged. ABM’s goal is to focus on what is considered a high-value account. The introduction of ABM platforms has intensified the focus on account-level scenarios. The goal of MQA is to look at all the relevant insights and hints that occur between these accounts and combine them into a relevant score based on a combination of fit and engagement. Once the account score reaches a certain threshold, the account is referred to the Revenue Development Representative (RDR) or the account executive as MQA.
While the intent to capture and share insights about an account may initially seem to be an effective method, it also introduces a number of major challenges that lead to inefficiency and lost opportunities. Here’s why the focus on MQA is not and should not be the next logical improvement after MQL replacement No. Will be adopted as the new standard for the revenue process.
MQAs do not represent buyers
Just as the decision to buy B2B is not made by an individual, so the decision to buy is not made by an account. Accounts are legal entities that do not make purchasing decisions and therefore cannot be “qualified” to understand progress and buying trends. Instead, the actual buyer is a group of people (purchasing team) in an account who are working together to solve a business problem. Our relationship with the purchasing group drives progress (and can be tracked) through the revenue process. As an organization ACME did not buy our talent management solution. Instead, it includes a purchasing team of individuals from the HR, IT, and business lines within ACME who are working together to improve the accuracy and efficiency of ACME’s hiring process and to make purchasing decisions to address this need. This potential opportunity of our Talent Management Solutions (with the respective purchasing group) is then tracked as it flows through our revenue process.
There can be many opportunities in the account, each at a different stage
The vast majority of our clients (possibly excluding early-stage startups) have a portfolio of solutions that they market and sell that meet the needs of a variety of functional businesses. These solutions can expand their target potential across different purchasing groups and functional needs. To achieve best-in-class alignment between marketing and sales, it is important to understand all the potential opportunities that exist within an account or market segment.
Figure 1 illustrates the concept of an opportunity map, a tool used to identify potential opportunities that exist within an account. Opportunity maps identify relevant purchasing groups, effective business needs, and relevant solutions that create these potential opportunities. In this example, the client targets three different purchasing groups (talent management, HR operations, and learning management), each with a different functional requirement for a total of three solutions. Each of these combinations of purchasing groups, functional business needs, and aligned solutions represents a unique purchasing decision and aligns with three unique potential opportunities. It is these potential opportunities, and not the account, that must be tracked through the revenue process
Figure 1: Example Opportunity Map
Since each of these opportunities represents a unique purchasing decision, each can be at different stages of our revenue process. Opportunities for talent management may be in the late-stage pipeline, while opportunities for HR operations and learning management in the same account may be at the very beginning of the process (i.e., at the detection stage). It is impossible to use an Account Level (MQA) to reflect the progress of multiple opportunities. The correct way to think about it is to embrace and embrace the idea of a set of “worthy opportunities” as opposed to the irrational “worthy account”.
Sales hate noise
The purpose of combining signals across a single account into a single score is to create actionable insights that enable RDR and high-quality actions from sales, but instead often cause a lot of noise that limits an action. Why? Because while salespeople can see a high interest / employment at an account level, it is not clear that eShould be the expected and best action. An account score shows that 15 people are employed for a total of 642 minutes, but it is not clear what they should do with this information. Who should they call? And what should they talk about?
What sales need is an added layer of context. To get the job done, ask the salesperson “Who cares about what?” Need to understand more detailed insights and “Are there groups of people interested in the same solution?” Seven people interested in talent management solutions, five people interested in HR operations and three people interested in learning management are infinitely more powerful and effective.
But if we lack this context, an MQA appears as a voice, and appropriate actions are much less obvious. Sales can only explain MQA to reflect interest in talent management solutions but miss insights into the additional opportunity interest in the account. When this happens, additional opportunities may be lost.
The answer is an opportunity-focused focus
Aligning marketing, RDR, and sales with a general approach to the revenue process is critical to success. With MQL, the focus on individuals is very small. With MQA, the focus is very thick granular. Both methods have problems. Inside Part 4 In this series, we’ll look at why an opportunity to focus on the right approach to marketing, RDR, and to provide valuable context throughout the revenue process.