MQL vs SQL Leads : What’s the Difference?

MQL vs SQL Leads


Marketing is a process with very clear start and endpoints. However, MQL and SQL have a common disagreement between marketing and sales. Both Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and Sales qualified leads (SQLs) have specific positions in the buying cycle. While marketing teams want to generate maximum leads, they still want to earn as much money as possible for the company. Getting more sales-qualified leads will help accomplish that.


To generate revenue, marketing and sales teams must work closely to decide what develops an MQL and an SQL.


Also Read: Successful Tips to Transform Your Buyer Persona into SQL


How Do You Determine Between MQL vs SQL?


First, let’s understand ‘Marketing Qualified Leads‘ (MQL). MQL is the actual result of marketing activities and investments. These people express interest in the company’s products and services, making them more easily changeable into proper sales leads. The data we rely upon to determine MQL is generally based on measurable behavior and degrees of participation. These behavioral actions trigger changing a prospect to MQL status. 


Generally, these actions would include interaction with products at the very bottom of the funnel, such as demos, free trials, buying guides, etc. MQL represents a greater engagement with the brand than ordinary leads, but they have not reached the buying process.


When a salesperson starts following up with an MQL and learns that the prospect has reached a certain lead score, the MQL becomes a sales-qualified lead ( SQL). SQL is the next stage in the sales process, which shows that the sales department now officially views the prospect as a sales lead. MQL has not entered the buying phase in simple language, while SQL is actively shopping. Therefore, turning MQLs into SQLs is a major KPI shared between marketing and sales.


Also Read: Ways to Transition an MQL Into SQL


How are MQLs qualified?


MQL is a lead who reads a few blogs, signs up for the newsletter, engages on social media or downloads an email-gated eBook. In other words, marketing can tell that leads are interested in your website’s brand and content. But they haven’t yet done anything to suggest that they’re interested in actually entering the buying stage.


How are SQLs qualified?


On the other hand, SQL is a lead who reads and shares their contact information. They show interest in buying the product and might sign up for a demo or even put an item into their virtual cart. They may speak with a sales rep through the chatbox and express a direct interest in buying the product or something similar. In other words, the salesperson can say they are on the path to purchasing.


Also Read: If You Got an MQL What You Do Next?


Why are MQL and SQL leads important?


The main purpose of MQL and SQL is to make your marketing and sales processes more efficient. Lead generation and nurturing need a lot of time, money, and effort – so you want to ensure you’re bringing in high-quality leads that will likely buy from you.


At the same time, there’s a limit to how much you can automate on the sales side of things. Your sales team should only be spending time on leads that are almost guaranteed to turn into customers, and the rest of their efforts should focus on boosting existing customers to make further purchases. Having the right MQL and SQL will help you in every stage of your sales funnel. You can also turn lead qualification into an advanced lead nurturing strategy that delivers targeted messages to prospects based on how they interact with your brand.


Strategic approach for MQL’s to sales


Till now, you must have understood the MQL and SQL definitions; you know which leads fit where — but now you must decide when and how to pass qualified sales leads to the sales team.


First, both marketing and sales teams must understand the entire customer lifecycle:

  • The company generates subscribers and leads through content and social media marketing. The customer subscribes to the blog or downloads an ebook but doesn’t provide any sales-closing information yet (only a name and email address, for example)
  • The prospect reads through the ebook and visits your site to learn more about your products, services, and prices. At this stage, the lead is considered an MQL and requires additional nurturing by the marketing team.
  • The marketing team follows and retargets with a demo ad in several locations. After converting on a demo request post-click landing page that asks for more qualifying information (job title, ad spend, software used, etc.), the lead is more likely an SQL.

This smooth transition from an MQL to an SQL depends on how well sales and marketing teams collaborate and share data. Discuss what information is required to pass along and what the follow-up will look like based on lead intelligence and behavior. The more aligned the two teams’ goals are, the better their communication and the more productive lead generation will be.


Now that you understand how MQL and SQL criteria can vary, you can examine your leads and customers to see how you can better define what MQL and SQL mean for you. This will allow you to pass better leads along to sales and work together to find and convert more ideal customers.


Need help to generate sales qualified leads?


Let the experts at FunnL help you generate sales-qualified meetings directly. With experience generating 10,000+ sales-qualified meetings (SQMs), you also have an all-in-one inside sales team that permits you to design, manage, measure, and optimize your inside sales campaigns.


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