15 Agencies Share Their Best Methods For Procuring Marketing-Qualified Leads

Leonardo Rasaki

All leads are not created equal. Any consumer who is interested in buying the type of product or service you sell could be a lead. However, if someone takes certain actions—such as visiting your site, subscribing to your blog, signing up for emails or downloading free content—matching your specified criteria, even if they aren’t quite ready to buy, that person can be identified as a marketing-qualified lead.

This level of activity and engagement shows that there is a chance they may decide to purchase from your company. Having a system in place to attract and keep track of MQLs can help your sales team capitalize on these opportunities and convert them into buyers. Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share their agencies’ most effective method of procuring MQLs.

1. Lean Into Relationships And Referrals

You can’t beat the power of relationships. While the events of the past few years have changed what networking looks like, be a connector, because relationships come full circle. The referral pipeline isn’t linear and branches off in many directions, so don’t be afraid to refer a prospect to a colleague who may be a better fit for their needs; the favor will often come back to you. – Cooper Munroe, The Motherhood Inc.

2. Entice Leads With Something Of Value

Lead generation is crucial for growth. Referrals and reviews are great, but they don’t always produce a constant lead flow. It’s important to have a defined lead funnel from driving website traffic, capturing a lead and getting contact information. We believe in search engine marketing, SEO and digital ads to attract leads. Then, we provide something of value to entice them to engage, such as a download or a free audit. – Thomas Morganelli, Centipede Digital

3. Utilize Paid Ads On Social Media

Our agency’s most effective method of procuring marketing-qualified leads is by utilizing paid advertising on social media. Being able to spend money to get in front of hyper-targeted audiences to convert them into leads and eventually sales is a complete game-changer for both our agency and our clients. Social media advertising helps us consistently generate qualified leads and is highly trackable. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

4. Implement A Client Advocacy Program

Nothing beats a referral. We all know the differences in cost associated with acquiring new customers versus keeping and maintaining existing ones. Keeping a customer has more than just the obvious benefit. Your customers also serve as the best source for new leads. We always recommend implementing a client advocacy program to show appreciation and ensure those referrals are continually being made. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®


Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


5. Define Your Ideal Client Better

To start, define your ideal client better. The more niche and specified your target client is, the easier it is to get qualified leads. It will be harder to differentiate if you sell full-service strategies to any size company in every industry. For example, we specialize in PR for B2B software as a service companies—and it’s our only vertical and service, so nearly all leads are MQLs. – Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia

6. Leverage Search Marketing

Search has intent. People are actively looking. This applies to both organic and paid search marketing. In terms of efficiency, search is a difficult channel to beat. For those thinking “referrals,” make sure you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison. Referrals aren’t free when measured in both time and money. – Gyi Tsakalakis, AttorneySync & EPL Digital

7. Use Content To Drive Value And Build Trust

Content is our most effective method of procuring marketing-qualified leads. Content derived from answers to existing customer questions can be turned into value-driven content for those seeking our services. Anything that our existing customers need to know becomes a video, a podcast or written content that allows us to become a trusted advisor to prospective customers. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

8. Apply The Holistic Strategy You Recommend To Clients

Build your agency as you advise your clients to build their businesses: Do full-funnel marketing, don’t cut corners and invest in growth. Build unique digital documents to highlight your expertise. Host LinkedIn Live events and repurpose the content across all your social channels. Build a strong reputation and ask your current clients for referrals. There is no silver bullet, but when you apply a holistic strategy you will win. – Justin Buckley, ATTN Agency

9. Focus On Inbound Marketing

Our agency focuses on inbound marketing, specifically supporting clients on the HubSpot platform. Because of this, we have optimized profiles on external sites such as HubSpot’s partner ecosystem, UpCity, G2 and others, so we are listed when a company is searching for inbound and HubSpot-related services. Finding these types of sites helps us generate inbound links and qualified contacts. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

10. Rely On Word-Of-Mouth, Partnerships And Social Selling

Word of mouth has always been our No. 1 lead source. We’re also seeing new leads this year from strong partnerships with like-minded but noncompetitive agencies. Lastly, LinkedIn for the win! Social selling—not just paid ads—has been a key strategy since day one. – Beth Newton, alpha | BRAVO

11. Create Content For Different Inbound Stages

The most effective process that our brand uses for procuring MQLs is creating sterling content dedicated to different inbound marketing stages. We start with designing the persona of the buyer for whom the content will be created, followed by identifying the pain points or challenges those buyers face in their daily activities. The purpose of the content is to deliver the awareness that influences the buyers. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

12. Have A Solid Strategy That Includes The Fundamentals

Most answers to this question revolve around a specific tactic. This is a common issue, as it’s missing the fundamentals. Marketing-qualified leads are a symptom of a solid strategy that includes tight positioning, messaging and social proof (case studies). MQLs originate from organic social on LinkedIn, cold outbound emails, referrals and search—both paid and organic. – Oren Greenberg, Kurve ltd

13. Identify Ideal Clients First, Then Inferior Competitors

The first step to procuring marketing-qualified leads is to identify your ideal clients. Once you identify them, then the rest is easy. I’ve found that our biggest competitor and our biggest lead source is the incompetency of others before us. If you could identify your ideal clients who are currently with an inferior competitor and win them over, then you have won a client and fan for life. – Cedrick Webb, Smart Digital

14. Have A Strong SEO Strategy In Place

Having a strong SEO strategy in place enables us to attract the highly motivated and qualified leads every business strives for. SEO drives highly relevant searches, which in turn leads to higher conversion rates. To capitalize on this, we’ve fine-tuned our website copy and design over time to rank well in searches and dramatically increase our conversion rate. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

15. Rank High In Search

While referrals are great, some of our best leads still come from ranking high in search. These are people who want exactly your services. You simply need to make sure that you are better than your competitors. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

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