MQL vs SQL: Lead Qualification to evaluate your Marketing Efforts

MQL vs SQL, marketing qualified leads, Sales qualified leads

MQL vs SQL: What is the Difference?

Lead generation is the ultimate attraction of every type-marketing effort. Whether you follow the organic approach or paid ads, to acquire the targeted audience your landing page, Lead is your main concern that stimulates the essential business function, called SALES. 

But not all leads you acquired on site, reflect the purchase intent. There’s a need to classify those leads accordingly to their potential conversion into sales. Here comes the concept of MQL vs SQL. 

Concern to audience intent and funnel stage they are in, all leads are classified in two areas: MQL (Marketing Qualified leads) and SQL (Sales Qualified Leads). Such leads also require the relevant content types to produce that push the prospect to take action, such as Sales. 

The concept of MQL vs SQL meaning the classification of respective prospects, based on its potential transformation from interest to conversion. 

Exploring the business opportunities for the first time, practice them as leads, rating in the buyer’s persona, continuous follow-ups and finally providing the solution, ultimately build the connection first over which conversion happens. 

But the most important decision endures between how to find which leads are worth the before-mentioned efforts to incur. The short answer is a qualification, based on its potential conversion. That places such opportunities in SQL and MQL. 


What is Marketing Qualified Lead?

MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), are the Leads that the marketing team feels are more likely to become the ultimate sales, that aren’t ready to direct sales pitch. That indicates the prospects have a powerful intent to buy the product. 

But requires some early marketing push to lead them towards the final decision. Such leads are transferred to the sales team for analysis, to work upon & evaluate its actual purchase intent. 

Some common MQL are:

  • Newsletter subscription
  • Blog and article interaction
  • eBook and case study download
  • Online inquiry
  • Contact forms


What is Sales Qualified Lead?

SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) are the Leads that analyzed by both marketing as well as a sales team and finalized to direct sales pitch. Depending on the previous research by marketing & sales combined, it’s finalized that these leads are qualified ones, with high buying intent. Also, are ready to nurture more for converting into the actual purchase.

Some common SQL are:

  • Direct product inquiries
  • Product sample and Service Demos
  • Consultation request
  • Price negotiation
  • Comparative analysis

The difference between MQL vs SQL is related to the outcome of efforts and time invested. Sales never happens anyway, that involves teamwork. Marketing and sales team, both have to contribute with their area of expertise and spell to convert those aspirant opportunities into the end business. Whereas both teams follow their criteria and beliefs to judge the prospects who can be a product buyer. 


Marketing Qualified Leads vs Sales Qualified Leads

Marketing and sales team have their approach to treating the leads on hand. In the common scenario, more than half of the MQL never reach SQL, as marketing team take as final that in the first phase of the buyer’s journey. With the assumption of qualified leads without more classification, other than interest showing anyway. 

The main difference lies between MQL and SQL, due to its likelihood of converting Prospects to Purchaser. Both types of leads vary according to industry, Product, services and even company sizes. So here sharing the common element that separates SQL from MQL.

Qualification criteria (Lead Scoring)

MQL are the prospects qualified by the marketing team, fitting to the Buyer’s persona. Based on the potential buyer’s criteria, marketing teams figure out that such leads are ready for nurturing more to convert into sales. As those leads are not in the stage of purchasing behavior. But it can be optimized with generating interest and custom solutions. 

SQL is a lead that sales teams have evaluated and finalized to work upon. During the evaluation of such leads, the sales team found that prospects are in consideration and reflects the high purchase intent. Performing the next move, such as a First discovery meeting or outreach call, the sales team identifies how that lead is qualified for the product and how much interest a prospect has in the company’s offer?

Also Read: Intent Based Content Strategy: Reason to write for Live Audience


Website Behaviour

Every new visit on the e-commerce or company website, are typically MQL sort leads. Where prospects, at the awareness stage get to know the products for the first time. From the early stage of the buyer’s journey, they essentially focus on acquiring more product information. That supports them to make the final decision over whether to buy or not. 

Return visitors are the prospects who have already visited the website and gone through the content available to educate own self. On a second visit, their motive is to closely evaluate the company offer to identify is it the best fit for them or not. As they may have visited the competitors’ sites for the same product searchers, for analysis purposes. 

It may be possible that prospects place an inquiry such as “ask for a free consultation” or “Request a demo” to understand the product better. Indicates are part of SQL leads with more buying intent than first-time visitors.

Also Read: Targeted Content marketing : Why your Business needs that?


Position in the Funnel stages

MQLs are leads that acquired from the form fill-up and landing pages designed for the top funnel stage. Means these leads are from the blog posts and marketing pages, that aim to educate the readers over product and service, as a solution. Here the prospects are in the awareness and consideration stage where information gathering is their initial goal. Not showing the end purchase behavior but a person is in a stage of, “…thinking about buying.”

SQL is a lead acquired from the content designed for the bottom of the funnel stage. From an earlier stage, the prospect already performed their research on products and now at the stage to analyze the possible options they can go with. Here their research approach is to evaluate all options they have for them, as it’s final that they are about to buy it. But, just not sure about what to and where to buy.

Know more: Content Marketing Funnel: Forms of content to create


Final thoughts

As said earlier, the classification of business opportunities over MQL vs SQL, also relies on individual beliefs and concepts. Due to that, most corporate structures have routine conflicts between two separate entities such as the marketing and sales team. 

The marketing team thinks that the sales team isn’t working actively on their generated leads and let go of the opportunities they found. Whereas the sales team argues that provided leads are not having solid purchase intent. As prospects are analyzed with first-time interest rather than identifying the core purpose. And both teams have their own opinion, conceptions arising from MQL vs SQL. 

After all, both teams share the common goal of Business expansion and Revenue generation. But before transferring MQL to SQL, there’s a need to have shared qualification remarks between them to agree at a point. The easiest interaction will be between these teams, the better for the entire businesses. And more chances to Generate Profits with shared efforts and acquire the highest ROIs.

The conversion from MQL to SQL and to final sales requires separate content needs that no company can ignore. As such content strategies have to develop with combined efforts of teams. After all, it requires the combined team efforts with the right approach.

Related Post: What is B2B Content marketing ? Importance and Benefits