In the second stage of the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall, a marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead deemed worthy to be handed off to sales. Sales should have the ability to reject an MQL for a handful of basic reasons, including procedural (lead has been incorrectly routed), clerical (the prospect record is incomplete or inaccurate) or definitional (the lead does not meet target market, activity or lead-level thresholds).

Clients often ask us what reasons organizations commonly use to disqualify MQLs from becoming sales accepted leads. To answer this question, I have listed the most common MQL rejection reasons used in effective lead management processes. Please note that the number of reasons for rejection should be limited, to ensure usability on the part of sales. In addition, no values should be included that exclude marketing from triggering active recycled nurturing or refining the lead management process.

MQL rejection reasons you might consider using:

  • Not enough bandwidth. The sales resource does not have enough time available to engage the lead. When this occurs, it should trigger reassignment to another rep or partner.
  • Contact information incomplete. The lead is missing data critical to its engagement (e.g. first name of contact).
  • Misassigned. The lead was assigned to the wrong sales resource (e.g a lead for product A is assigned to a representative dedicated to product B).
  • Inaccurate data. The lead’s data is inaccurate (e.g. the phone number has only four digits, the lead’s first name is “Mickey” and last name is “Mouse”).
  • Already engaged. The lead is related to an opportunity that the sales resource is already engaging.
  • Does not meet MQL definition. The lead does not meet the MQL definition (e.g. target market, activity, lead-level threshold).
  • Other. The lead is deemed to be poor by the sales resource, but it does not fit into one of the above categories. Include this option when the capture of rejection reasons is rolled out, to identify other rejection reasons that may be significant for your organization. Review leads tagged with “other” to identify any commonalities and determine if a new category should be created. Phase out the “other” category after several months.