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Marketing Qualified Leads are an essential component to a successful and profitable sales pipeline.  The qualification process often uses marketing automation with e-mail nurturing and DRIP campaigns to build customer profiles and understand customer needs, wants, ability and timing of buying.  Now let's take a look at the emergence of Chat for marketing qualification.

The Case for Chat Qualified Leads

Leverage Chat to Redefine Service to Marketing, Sales and Lead Qualification


Marketing Qualified Leads are an essential component to a successful and profitable sales pipeline.  The qualification process often uses marketing automation with e-mail nurturing and DRIP campaigns to build customer profiles and understand customer needs, wants, ability, and timing of buying.  Accelerating the sales pipeline means finding new ways to qualify marketing leads so Sales can close faster and not chase dead-end leads.

Faster Qualification With Live Chat Applications

A simple chat can qualify a lead on-site within 1 minute of engagement by asking 5 simple questions prior to chatting: name, contact info, interest, timing, and budget.  Understanding the metrics that identify a qualified potential customer is a difference between chasing an information seeker who has no intention of buying yet and a real buyer who is looking for something soon.  There may be no tool in your digital marketing toolbox better able to accelerate lead qualification than Live Chat.

Let’s build the case…

Qualification: Visitor to Prospect

Marketing Qualified Leads start as visitors to your site, browsers looking at a home page, product, service or other content.  Some visitors may be worth more to you than others and some visitors are early on customers.  The next step in the sales pipeline is to qualify a Visitor as a Prospect and that means gathering some piece of contact information.  Traditionally, forms have been the capture mechanism along with pop-ups and interstitials to try and engage the customer.  Today, Chat is stepping up by attempting to engage the visitor in a conversation.  “Can I help you learn more about our e-commerce services?”  “Good afternoon – if you are looking for a Case Study on our e-commerce services click this link”.  Chat can convert a Visitor to a Prospect by engaging them on site.  Likewise, chat can also convert a visitor to a Prospect when the visitor engages with a simple “May I have your email in case we are disconnected?  We will send you a transcript of our conversation for your records.”  Easy enough and the Visitor is now a Prospect.  Chat applications also collect digital footprints including IP addresses and regions that can help you narrow down to where the Visitor comes from.  Qualified Prospect.

Qualification: Prospect to Chat Lead

The next step in converting a Marketing Qualified Lead is to get the Prospect to engage with you to discuss something.  This qualification step often involves an email sending a message for the Prospect to review a case study, a video, a gallery, a product page, etc.  In Chat, the Prospect becomes a Chat Lead instantly because you are already engaged with them on your site.  You know what they were looking at when you engaged them or they engaged you.  That information is recorded in the Chat Contact profile.  Congratulations – that is a Chat Qualified Lead.  The speed with which Chat can move a visitor to an MQL is a key element to accelerating the sales process – getting the MQL to sales.

Qualification: Chat Lead to Warm Lead

Chat Leads are known Visitors and Prospects who have shared contact information with you and they are a Lead because you have gleaned an interest from them.  The next step for the Marketing Qualified Lead is to confirm there interest and more of their profile.  In the Chat session, the agent asks the customer for a name so they can address them during the session.  The next step is thanking them for the information and then asking, “Chris can I help you with e-commerce services today?”  The Chat session is recorded and product and service information is collected and you now have a Warm Lead with profile information and product or service information.  This is all in one chat session that is about 45 seconds long.

Qualification: Warm Lead to Hot Lead

The objective of Marketing Qualified Leads is to accelerate the Sales cycle by delivering buyer ready leads to sales for proposal, negotiation and closing.  The qualification process is designed to lower the cost to acquire and convert a customer.  Moving from a Warm Lead to a Hot Lead gets to intent; “Does the Lead have an intent to buy?” and that question is usually determined by asking “Chris, Do you have a timeline for your project?”  Another vital piece of information is collected.  You now have Profile, Interest, Timeline and this is a Hot Lead.

Qualification: Hot Lead to Marketing Qualified Lead

The final step of the Marketing Qualified Lead is the budget.  Depending on your business model, budgets may not be a necessary conversation but can be useful if you sell subscriptions that have higher price points or a product or service that may require some budgeting to complete or a budget that may constrain what you can provide.  The last qualification is asking the customer if there is a budget for the project and what that range might be.  If the range is too low, there may be room to negotiate but that is up to Sales.  The Lead is now a Marketing Qualified Lead and all profile information, chat sessions, etc. are turned over to sales with a Deal that is worth the lower end of the Budget Range.  All completed in a 3-minute chat session.

The Verdict is In: Chat Qualified Leads Work

Chat is the winner!  Chat is an essential tool for e-commerce and for qualifying leads.  Some 60% of Americans say they will not even transact on a site without chat support.  But you are thinking chat is a staffing issue?!?!  Maybe – and maybe not.

Welcome to Chat Bots.

While a Bot may seem frustrating. a Bot with intelligence can be charming, witty and effective.  You can actually program words that are a personality and even name your bot.  Chats can be configured with forms to collect customer profiles before the chat begins  – that’s a big step in the right direction from just an email.  Chat Bots can also take questions from customers and using keywords from the question direct them to the best content that might answer their question and then ask them if they would prefer to chat with an agent.  Well designed chat can save you time and money qualifying leads, help you capture higher quality opportunities and accelerate your sales process which is beneficial to cash flow.  And here’s the best part – they are VERY inexpensive.  Chat on site can range from FREE (yes FREE) to about $125/seat/month.  There is a litany of players in chat from Zendesk, Drift, LiveChat, Kayako, WP Live Chat, and ChatterBot A single small business could use 1 seat and accomplish the mission of customer service, sales and marketing qualified leads for $125/month.  Chats help your SEO and PPC program improve their efficiency because the mousetrap on your site is more efficient than email marketing.  Not everyone will engage in chat, but if you do not have it, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to improve productivity, sales and profits.  Check it out…