Skip to main content ↓
People standing in a row facing a wall with one person wearing a yellow shirt in the middle

What is Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)? [A Marketer’s Guide]

search bar icon

What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that’s likely to become a customer. They have shown interest in availing your product or service.

Getting leads is one thing. Knowing if they are qualified leads is another.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a type of lead who has expressed interest in your offering. Keep reading to learn more about MQLs.

What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that has shown interest in your product or services by engaging with your marketing efforts.

MQLs show intent through a sort of action, such as:

  • Visiting your site on multiple occasions
  • Placing products on their wishlist
  • Adding products to their shopping cart
  • Completing an online form
  • Clicking on ads
  • Trying free software demos 
  • Availing trial subscriptions
  • Downloading web resources
  • Signing up for newsletters

What makes MQLs relevant in the sales funnel?

MQLs are more than just part of the lead generation process. They’re a core element of the sales funnel that propels the conversion of leads to sales.

Setting effective MQL criteria saves the sales team a lot of time and resources, allowing them to move to the next process of the sales funnel and eventually bring in customers. 

How to set criteria for MQLs

Lead scoring is a key method to identify MQLs by assigning values to each lead to determine a lead’s value. Here are some ways to create a successful lead-scoring system:

  1. Assess historical behavior.
  2. Get customer feedback.
  3. Monitor leads that convert.
  4. Examine the demographics.
  5. Use your competitive advantage.

Let’s go through each one:

1. Assess historical behavior.

Buyer habits are key indicators of how MQLs interact with your business. When examining their historical behavior, it is important to see the entire path of their buying process.

How did these leads behave in the past? Compare leads who converted into sales and leads who failed to convert. 

2. Get customer feedback.

Responses from customers provide valuable information about their buying patterns.

Get feedback from visitors who decided to buy from you. You can also survey people who decided not to pursue their purchase.

Through customer feedback, you’ll discover the main reasons they decided to go with your competitors. 

3. Monitor leads that convert.

Identifying your most successful leads helps you create the most effective lead-scoring system.

Determine the pages and ads that generate the most MQLs. Then, establish the core patterns of leads that convert to sales.

4. Examine the demographics.

Keep an eye on the demographics of leads that successfully become paying customers. Record their buying behavior and power to analyze how these leads impact your overall marketing strategy and sales.

If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, you can also consider factors such as industry, company size, and job title.

5. Use your competitive advantage.

Know how your brand stacks up against your competitors in your market. Having a definite picture of your competitive edge allows you to pinpoint effective MQLs.

Establish your unique selling propositions (USPs) and use them as key indicators to prioritize lead generation strategies that are bound to convert.

MQL vs. SQL: What’s the difference?

Picture this: The sales funnel starts with a site visit and then lead generation. Under lead generation, there’s MQL and then sales qualified leads (SQLs).

SQLs are potential customers who are beyond curious. They are leads who show clear intentions for sales.

Since SQLs are those leads with a perceived willingness to complete a purchase, these are the leads conveyed to the sales team. To further distinguish the difference between MQLs and SQLs, here are some things to consider:

MQL vs. SQL: Lead behavior

MQLs normally:

  • Check page guides
  • Read blog posts
  • Sign up for emails to learn more about your products and services

On the other hand, SQLs already have an idea of your brand and offerings, so they typically visit your service or product pages, and pricing pages.

MQL vs. SQL: Lead scoring

MQLs often have lower lead scores compared to SQLs. That’s because MQLs are in the earlier stages of the sales funnel.

With effective lead nurturing strategies, MQLs can move to the next stage and become SQLs.

How to nurture MQLs into SQLs

Since MQLs are not a guarantee of purchase, it’s crucial to take these leads to the next level, transforming them into SQLs. Here are some pivotal guidelines for a successful transition from MQL to SQL:

1. Create a sales alert.

Setting up an alert for the sales team for every new MQL facilitates easy conversion to SQL. Automate these alerts to optimize the overall process and to ensure that the sales team gets timely updates. 

2. Establish an actionable task.

After creating a sales alert, it’s important for the sales team to take action on the MQL. Follow through the key attributes and see if the MQL fits a certain SQL criteria.

Having a separate threshold for SQLs is a strategic necessity for an effective conversion from leads to customers.

3. Treat MQLs with a sense of urgency.

MQLs are in the initial stage of the buying funnel and are getting a grasp of what you offer. Since these people have taken action to show their interest, it’s best to strike the iron while it’s hot.

Put time limits on follow-ups so that the sales team can create a more relevant approach to move them to the next stage of the sales process.

4. Keep the marketing and sales teams involved.

Marketing and sales teams must work together to successfully transition MQLs to SQLs.

Review the key processes and check for areas that need improvement. Periodic reviews also contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing strategies. 

5. Tap the experts’ guidance.

Converting MQLs to SQLs may appear to be a one-time activity, but it’s a continuous marketing process that needs proper techniques and tools.

Stay on top of the trends, and keep potential customers engaged with your brand. You can work with digital marketing experts specializing in lead generation and marketing strategies.

Get more marketing qualified leads with the digital experts

At WebFX, we bring our expertise to the table, helping your brand generate more MQLs. We have 25+ years of proven track record in tracking for lead generation and optimizing sales pipelines through automation.

Contact us at 888-601-5359 or request a free quote today to grow your business!

Try our free Marketing Calculator

Craft a tailored online marketing strategy! Utilize our free Internet marketing calculator for a custom plan based on your location, reach, timeframe, and budget.

Plan Your Marketing Budget
Marketing Budget Calculator