2 min read



Marketing and sales have evolved through distinct eras shaped by technological advancements, trends, and societal changes.

The year 2020 expedited the digital transformation of B2B companies due to the shift towards remote work, resulting in a demand for buyer-centric approaches.

The Rise of the Revenue Era

Buyers now seek the same seamless experiences in B2B purchases as they do in their personal lives, like shopping on Amazon or using Uber. This shift marks the onset of the Revenue Era, where customer centrality drives marketing and sales alignment around revenue objectives.

Challenges in the Revenue Era

The problem is many B2B companies cling to outdated lead generation processes and demand generation strategies developed a decade ago. These processes yield generic buying experiences and treat customers as mere acronyms, causing three main issues in the Revenue Era:

Impersonal buying experiences

Technology intended to foster connection has paradoxically led to customers feeling like data points. To counteract this, businesses should aim for personal interactions reminiscent of local shopkeepers knowing their customers.

Misaligned marketing goals

The focus on lead generation has detached marketing from revenue generation, hindering collaboration between marketing and sales teams.

Marketing-sales friction

The divergence in goals between marketers (traffic and leads) and sales teams (SQLs and bookings) creates conflict.

Redefining the Funnel

To address these problems, it may be time to reimagine a marketing funnel, placing people at the core.

Think about replacing acronyms with a focus on aiding buyers through the stages, with an emphasis on qualifying leads based on conversation (read more about that here).

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Urgency for Real-time Engagement

Swift response time is crucial in sales, as waiting more than five minutes to follow up with a webform submitter diminishes the connection possibility. This reality aligns with the growing buyer demand for real-time engagement in conversations.

The Evolution from MQL to Conversation-Ready Leads

The traditional MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) model is becoming obsolete due to changes in B2B buying dynamics. With the advent of new models like the Demand Unit Waterfall and ABM, focusing on individual leads no longer holds. Inaccuracies arise as the lead-centric approach doesn't cater to the complexity of modern B2B purchases involving multiple decision-makers.

The Concept of Conversation-Ready Leads

The new paradigm shifts the focus towards Conversation-Ready Leads. These leads are defined by their readiness to engage in meaningful conversations. Oracle's transformation to a Conversation-Ready approach resulted in fewer leads sent to sales but increased opportunity conversion rates, highlighting the significance of timely engagement.

Time Is of the Essence

Recognizing that time is pivotal to both buyers and sellers, it's vital to minimize delays in engaging potential buyers. Traditional MQL processes involve multiple stages like form submissions, CRM enrichment, lead scoring, and routing, each introducing potential delays.

An Inverted Perspective

The success and the broader shift towards Conversation-Ready Leads underscores the need for marketers to embrace an inverted perspective. Buyers seek solutions to their problems and efficient, human-centric interactions, while sellers desire meaningful conversations and genuine connections with accounts.

Embracing the Shift

To succeed in this evolving landscape, marketing and sales must align with a focus on accounts rather than individual leads. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategies allow marketers to provide sales with opportunities for engagement based on the collective needs of an account's buying team.

Is the MQL Dead?

Not definitely. But it's worth reevaluating.

The era of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) is fading as businesses transition towards prioritizing Conversation-Ready Leads. This shift emphasizes the value of engaging buyers in real-time conversations, delivering personalized experiences, and building strong, trust-based relationships.


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