The Difference Between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) and Why It Matters

Many organizations follow a process to pass a lead from the marketing to the sales department. They usually do that when a 

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). A salesperson passes a prospect from an MQL to SQL. Passing leads from marketing to the sales team involves no physical activities.

Want to know what MQLs and SQLs are, their differences, and why they matter? Keep reading to find out. 

What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?

A MQL is a lead, which the marketing team has designated as the most likely to get a customer than other leads. Such designation is usually determined by CTAs on which the leads clicked, their visited pages, downloaded offers, social post interactions, and other determinants. 

What is a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)?

A SQL is a potential customer willing to communicate to a sales team. This lead usually expressed sufficient interest in your product/service and wants to pass it on to your sales process. Your marketing department research, vet and pass leads to the sales team. The inbound sales process includes identification, connection, exploration, and advising. Inbound sales include target customers passing via three stages – awareness, consideration, and decision. When moving through these three phases, the sales team converts such leads to paying customers.  

Differences Between SQL and MQL

While the marketing department researches and vets SQL and is willing to talk to your sales department. MQL is a lead engaged with your organization and can be a customer with correct nurturing. MQL converts to SQL once they want to communicate with the sales team. SQL and MQL differ mainly because of the buying intention. An SQL is ready to talk to the sales team with the intent to buy the products/services offered. You should know such differences as that determine which lead nurturing process the customers pass through.

You won’t wish to serve leads content not related to buyers’ journeys. Plus, MQLs aren’t willing to make purchases, and passing them off to your sales team prematurely may turn them off to products and waste the representatives’ time. If they visit your website repeatedly and download content related to certain actions or bottom-of-funnel content, they have cleared the research phase and are willing to take the next steps. 

Why Differentiating MQLs and SQLs is Crucial? 

Your sales team should understand the differences between MQLs and SQLs as the system can save salesperson time, so they spend most of the time selling products/services to the right buyers at the right time. The process of lead scoring and MQL-to-SQL conversion give more qualified prospects to the sales team, so they have more lucrative conversions. With MQL and SQL tracking, sales and marketing teams learn what works, what acquires leads, and their chances to convert. Plus, you get to learn how often your sales team close SQLs and if they have more fruitful conversations. 

Passing a Lead from MQL to SQL

Here are the factors that you should consider to move the lead from an MQL to an SQL:

Lead Score

The process of moving a target buyer from an MQL to an SQL may vary depending on the organization but tends to start with lead scoring. It is the process to assign values usually in the form of numeric points, to every lead you generate for your business. You can score leads depending on multiple factors, including the submitted information and their engagement with your brand and website online. 

The process helps your sales and marketing teams to prioritize leads, react to them correctly, and boost the rate of lead conversion. Lead scoring saves salespersons’ time so they can spend more time communicating with leads that genuinely want to talk to them and are interested in your products/services.

Lead Behaviour

Sales and marketing teams function together to identify which actions qualify a prospect ready to pass to the sales process. You will find how the perfect lead looks and determine a specific action’s weight. With no defined set of activities, your marketing experts may pitch leads that aren’t willing to pass to the sales process which gradually slows down your sales team. The type of behavior, which may move a prospect can be in the form of website engagement.

A lead is engaging on a website, opening emails, or downloading lead magnets, which means they are interested in your sayings. They may get ready to pass from MQL to SQL depending on the type and level of engagement with your website. You can also include negative actions. If a lead stops engaging with your website or stops opening emails, it can decrease your lead scores.

Buying Likelihood

For a lead to convert to your SQL, customers have to require your products/services, afford your products and have the infrastructure to use them, and your products/services to solve the pain points. The BANT system (Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline) depends on this concept. You shouldn’t use the system to ask a series of rote questions and get an idea that you are selling to a suitable customer. For instance, you will still want to map out who is involved, identify your target customers’ problems, and find out how fast their organization moves.

Incorporating Leads into Your Sales Process

Work on the sales process to close the maximum number of deals once the sales team gets a lead from the marketing team. Salespeople should use the collected information during the MQL nurturing to close the deal. You should know what the prospects have downloaded and the route they took to get an SQL. Then, you should talk to target customers to learn their stories so you learn how your products can serve them.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this post helped you to learn the differences and importance of MQL and SQL. The categorizing process helps in determining how a lead is ready for conversion. If your organization is not using this system, you may use it to maximize sales conversions, so you boost your sales.