Introducing the Inside Sales Qualified Lead (ISQL)

April 7, 2021

demandDrive’s Inside Sales Pipeline enables our Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to most effectively identify, nurture, and convert Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) into Sales Accepted Leads (SALs).

(whew, talk about a mouthful of acronyms)

In order to maximize this conversion rate, we track and utilize a metric (and another acronym) called Inside Sales Qualified Leads (ISQLs).

What are ISQLs?

These leads are comprised of prospects who are nurture candidates, partially qualified MQLs who need further contact, or target prospects who have shown some level of interest through rep outreach.

In short, they make up the SDR’s pipeline. Leads that aren’t quite ready to enter the sales cycle and involve your AE, but are certainly much closer to ‘qualified’ than a cold lead.

More often than not, ISQLs are full of prospects that are missing a key piece of qualification criteria – typically timing. There’s a need, your solution can add value, they want to learn more…but they’re locked into some type of contract or don’t have the bandwidth to evaluate a new solution.

Why track ISQLs?

SALs are the standard by which inside sales teams are often measured. It makes sense, as SALs are the most direct indicator of closed business trends. Therefore, converting MQLs to SALs remains the most tracked KPI for inside sales managers.

With a concentrated focus on SAL volume, sales and marketing teams can struggle to bridge the gap between MQLs and SALs. If an MQL isn’t immediately sales-ready, it will often be in jeopardy of falling through the cracks and become a missed opportunity. As a direct result, lead generation teams won’t be maximizing their MQL to SAL conversion rates, therefore losing out on potential revenue and new business.

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Even if a rep’s SAL rate is superb, a lack of ISQL development causes hidden decay at the top of your funnel and prevents the rep’s conversion rate from being truly maximized. Imagine how much better a great SAL rate would look with a healthier top of the funnel!

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In sales, your bottom of the funnel metrics are directly influenced by top of the funnel quality. Learn how to build a productive sales funnel to increase overall lead quality.

How to capitalize on ISQLs

One of the best ways to prioritize your ISQLs and prevent them from leaking out of the funnel is through good old-fashioned SDR work. Building rapport with decision-makers & influencers allows you to focus on the long-term and stay on top of your ISQLs.

Tactics like Two-Way Nurturing allow you to remain engaged with your prospects. Leveraging social channels keeps you top of mind and carves out more space for your brand in your prospect’s brain.

An ISQL pipeline enables managers to assess short and long-term goals more accurately. By tracking ISQLs, you can:

  • Convert more sales-ready leads through prioritization that is more actionable than using marketing automation tools.
  • Maintain open communication/create relationships with interested MQLs.
  • Project revenue that will be both predictable and sustainable.
  • Accurately quantify top-of-funnel metrics and health.

Utilizing the ISQL is just one way to maximize the returns of the work done by your SDRs. By taking advantage of the increased visibility ISQL’s give to your sales pipeline, tracking and converting long-term leads becomes an easy and efficient process.

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We tackled questions around engaging with and flipping ISQLs in our Symposiums series. Give it a read for some best practices!

Looking for more tips on creating & converting ISQLs? Give us a shout!

Contact Us

aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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