Dear SaaStr: “What should your sales team do with marketing qualified leads?


There will be a lot of spirited debate between marketing + sales in the lead hand-off process. Do you have MQLs and then … SALs? (Sales Accepted Leads)? Does sales get to reject leads from marketing? How long do they have? Etc. etc.

As you scale, and refine this, you’ll have more and more nuances here in your lead qualification process.

-> What matters most–maybe even all the way to $10m ARR–though, I’ve found, is a clear SLA where all leads need to be followed up on.

As you begin to get to even $1m-$2m in ARR, reps will naturally start to focus on the “hot” leads. Maybe even earlier. That’s natural.


1/ Reps don’t always know what a hot lead is or at least get it 100% right, even with lead scoring (which always/often is imperfect).

2/ There almost always is money in “warm” and “lukewarm” leads. why else would they inbound, especially?  If a rep doesn’t want to follow up on a specific lead because they don’t think it’s a good enough lead … you need to send it to a hungrier rep.  There is still money in that lead, even if there’s less of it than a “hotter” lead.

3/ Reps simply miss stuff. Even the best of them. They miss an email, or forget to follow-up, or were off that day, or whatever. Even the best of them.

So if nothing else, you need an SLA. A firm process where every lead gets touched within X minutes or Y hours. And is then followed up again with X days. And this is key. If those criteria aren’t met … the lead is automatically assigned to someone else.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

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