How Sales Managers Can Use StarfishETL to Tighten the MQL to SQL Process

Businesses decide to integrate for many reasons, but two of the most common use cases we see are 1.) getting customer financial information in the hands of sales and 2.) integrating to build alignment between sales and marketing.

These use cases make sense for just about any business.

If people are purchasing your products on an e-commerce website, of course you’d want internal teams up-to-date on customer orders, delivery status, and payment status. And if sales and marketing are trying to convert more leads, of course you’d want them to share data points on the status of those leads.

Understanding what a customer is purchasing can help complete your customer profiles, leading to better targeted marketing.  This improves your overall chance increasing sales with your customer. It informs the “people who use product A also buy product B” part of marketing and sales.

Sales managers in particular are under a lot of pressure to maintain high MQL to SQL conversion, but with the average MQL to SQL conversion rate dangling at 13%, it’s safe to say most aren’t hitting the mark. Understanding the customer better helps you increase that conversion score. 

With disconnected MQL and SQL experiences, a lead can easily slip through the cracks, or sales doesn’t have the real-time data to recognize that an MQL is ready to be converted. Think of the power in providing sales with information about a customer returning to look at a product or pricing page. This could generate an opportunity for an outbound call to see if you can help them. 

While the marketing team is hustling to get MQLs into the pipeline, fragmented processes make them unsure of how effective their efforts even are because they can’t see it through to the end. So, the MQL ends up lost in the dark abyss that is the disconnected MQL to SQL handoff process.

An integration backed by a dynamic and scalable iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) can tighten up that MQL to SQL handoff and make life a lot easier for everyone.

The Catalyst for Change: Communication Breakdown

It usually takes a few missed opportunities before teams start to recognize that there’s an issue between sales and marketing handoff. When systems are separated, so are collaborative processes. Without a mutual understanding of how information should flow and the role each team plays, there’s little to work with in the way of meaningful MQL to SQL conversion. Let’s look at some examples of how this can manifest if sales are using one system (CRM) and marketing is using another (marketing automation):

  1. Marketing sets the marketing automation system to ping the sales manager when a new form is submitted on the website. Good start, but, if those form submissions aren’t also recorded on a contact record in the CRM, sales can’t accurately monitor customer journey progression.
  2. What’s working and what isn’t working in the sales process? How do you know? Insights from both the MQL and SQL workflow can shed some light. However, without integrated systems, that closed-loop reporting is impossible.
  3. The sales manager has a contact in the CRM named John Stamos. The marketing team also has John Stamos in the marketing system, but one of them has a typo in the email address. There’s no way to compare these inaccurate, duplicate records when sales and marketing are working in silos. What other information on John Stamos’ profile might be incorrect?
  4. Marketing generates MQLs from a webinar or live event and gives them to sales to enter into the CRM manually. The contact’s CRM profile is now created. However, subsequent actions that contact takes (such as engagement on a web page, newsletter sign ups, etc.) aren’t recorded in that profile, so sales can’t see the additional engagement. If that contact shows interest in another product or service, that’s a missed opportunity for cross-sell.
  5. Marketing has leads in a nurture campaign in the marketing automation but no way to assign a lead score for sales to review. In turn, those leads go untouched by the sales manager. Sales has no idea those leads exist, or that they’re ready to convert.

Supporting MQL to SQL Handoff with StarfishETL

Integrating the core sales application (CRM) with the core marketing application (marketing automation) tightens the MQL to SQL process for sales by:

  • Automatically sharing insights on email marketing campaign engagement and website visits
  • Maintaining real-time data and lead scoring for every MQL
  • Revealing upsell and cross-sell opportunities with triggers based on contact behavior
  • Shortening the sales cycle by automating how leads are passed through the MQL to SQL workflow
  • Unifying data management for more complete customer profiles
  • Eliminating duplicate and incorrect profiles by using one solution as the “system of record”
  • Creating closed-loop reporting to better track the pipeline
  • Fostering fewer errors in the MQL to SQL handoff process by eliminating manual tasks
  • Helping sales managers identify gaps in the MQL to SQL process with accurate reporting
  • Giving sales managers access to all MQL data points to inform smarter customer interactions

StarfishETL simplifies the MQL to SQL process by removing the barriers to alignment. By allowing teams to visually map how the CRM and marketing automation will interact, define those automation use cases with professionals before the integration project begins, and test that the connections are correctly sharing the information before running the full data load, StarfishETL ensures a seamless and accurate transfer of data.

Critical information can be shared in real-time for up-to-the-minute insights between departments. Information that’s not as timely can be transferred on a set schedule to maintain a consistent stream of new data points for your sales team. When it comes time to build reports, the full scope of information is accessible to you.

StarfishETL Differentiators

Not only does StarfishETL offer connections to hundreds of popular CRM and marketing automation applications, but for many of these integrations, we provide what we’ve dubbed “Starter Templates” to make those connections even easier.

Starter Templates come with pre-configured maps that have all the basic data connections set up for you, so your teams can integrate faster. For example, you know you’ll want your CRM leads and marketing automation contacts to share data, right? With a Starter Template, you don’t have to spend any time building that connection because it’s ready out-of-the-box. All you need to do is add in your custom fields or omit any connections you don’t want to use.

Speaking of custom fields, if your sales team is using custom CRM fields, those can transfer over, too. StarfishETL can personalize your integration to bring data from your custom CRM fields into the desired location in the marketing automation, and vice-versa.

StarfishETL also differentiates itself through its powerful and secure iPaaS engine. An iPaaS enables users to connect anything to anything, so even if we don’t have connectors for your solutions, there’s still a way to unite their data with the parameters you prefer. To learn more about what StarfishETL offers and find out if a Starter template is available for your integration, contact us at

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