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You can't optimise your funnel without knowing where leads are in their lifecycle.

This was the problem Chris Kiertz faced when he first arrived at Jasper AI. Here's how he implemented proper definitions and systems so their entire business could align and track leads at every stage of the journey.

Giving the revenue function the ability to correctly measure and report activities and make better decisions in future planning.

Industry and company size
  • 200 employees
  • Artificial Intelligence
Funnel stage
  • MQL > SQO
Playbook impact
  • Org wide confidence in reporting and data
12x headshot images for fix your funnel playbooks_Meg copy 7

Chris Kiertz

Head of Marketing Operations @Jasper.AI

Creating visibility and confidence in reporting
Gaining trust in data to track key initiatives
Understand how leads are moving through the funnel

Let's jump in 👇🏻

💡 What was the problem?

Chris Kiertz, Head of Marketing Ops at Jasper, immediately conducts a HubSpot audit to identify potential funnel leakages when starting a company.

The number one gap Chris has repeatedly noticed was the lifecycle stage setup: 

“Every HubSpot account I’ve audited was weak and not set up properly. I’d see that companies had 90% of the database in the lead stage, even though they had customers and plenty of sales leads.”

It’s essential to know what’s going on with all your marketing leads, especially when it comes to the marketing and sales handoff, but this is impossible if you’re not tracking that in your systems. As he explained:

“These are the sorts of questions that leadership asks marketing. If you’re spending $10,000 on a marketing campaign, they will want to know how many leads were generated and if they led to opportunities, pipeline and closed-won revenue.”

💡 Defining an MQL

You have to have some sort of scoring to indicate that a person is high-intent and meets your demographic and firmographic criteria. That’s when they are ready to be passed to sales.

Here, Chris uses a form of lead grading; he opts for a 3 stage approach: 

First, he looks at behavioural data, including whether they downloaded an ebook, attended a webinar, or requested a demo.

Then he looks at firmographic data and whether the company meets the ICP. 

Finally, he’ll look at demographic data to see if the person at the company is someone they could actually sell to.

If you have a positive score in all three, the lead can be considered an MQL.

💡 Improving the handoff process

The problem Chris often sees is that companies are often only scoring their leads on behavioural data. Here, businesses often over-index and over-engineer on behavioural scoring and fail to account for the demographic or firmographic fit. As he shared:

“This means that leads are being passed to the sales team because a lead might have downloaded a few pieces of content, but the lead might be the VP of the product when you’re meant to be selling to marketers.”

“Here, there’s a mismatch between what sales expect to see and how marketing grades those leads.”

“If sales reject these leads, you must determine what’s wrong. You might be improperly defining your MQLs, or sales might not be following up on all the leads that marketing thinks they should follow up on.” 

The MQL to SQL conversion rate can be found in HubSpot. The life cycle stages here are subscriber lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, and customer.

Clients and customers define these differently, especially once you get to SQO. One tip Chris recommends is adding a sales accepted lead lifecycle stage.

This handoff point between sales and marketing is critical. Here, marketing has qualified the lead and sales have the opportunity to accept or reject it.  As Chris explained: 

“That one conversion rate unlocks loads of opportunities for you to focus on to diagnose. If that conversion rate is high, that’s great, and this means you’re doing a good job, and then you want to pay attention to those conversion rates down from there.”

💡 Creating definition alignment

As people work remotely across multiple time zones, having a source of truth for everything in operations is important. Here, documenting these definitions is key. Chris recommends using a Wiki or Notion. He said: 

“What I’ve noticed is when you don’t have someone full-time in that seat, these definitions go by the wayside; you don’t have that documentation.”

As a result, leads are defined incorrectly, which increases the risk of leakage.

Any big changes surrounding permissions in HubSpot have to be documented and communicated back to people to give them a chance to react before building that fully live version. 

Then, your leads can begin to be routed:

“There’s a lot of legwork that goes into properly routing and ensuring you’ve got all these edge cases that can happen, so working with stakeholders on that is important.”

At Jasper, if someone has requested demos, they can go straight to a BDR, but if they have asked for a demo and scheduled time, they go to an Account Executive. 

If it’s an MQL, they go to a BDR, but they must match that particular criteria that’s been defined. 

💡 What were the results?

This has created better visibility and confidence in reporting at Jasper. 

Chris uses a tool called Mode for his business intelligence, which feeds off the data from HubSpot and Salesforce. 

Previously, there wasn’t a lot of confidence in the marketing data coming into Mode, as the data was often inaccurate, but now the marketing team can understand how many leads they were generating and how these leads were progressing. As Chris said: 

“I know it’s cliche, but garbage in, garbage out. I reworked the MQLs and SQLs at Jasper and spent hours spot-checking the two databases and reworking them to ensure they matched up.”

“‘That way, leadership could now have confidence in those numbers. That’s the biggest impact I see in leadership and with marketers.” 

This meant that the marketers running events and writing content could sign in to HubSpot and understand what was happening to the leads that came through and if they progressed through the funnel and gained that visibility.

This is crucial, especially in smaller companies, when every action and activity needs to impact the business.

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