What Does MQL vs SQL Mean?

what does mql vs sql mean definition qualified leads

It is crucial in any business for marketing and sales to be connected and on the same page. Without this, your business could be seriously losing out on important and helpful information and in turn losing leads and possible money. This misalignment is what is referred to as MQL vs. SQL. 


Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) is the term given to leads that are more likely to become customers in comparison to other leads. This information is based on lead intelligence and is conveyed by data collected and shared by both marketing and sales teams. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) refers to a lead that is qualified by the sales team as a potential customer. SQL marketing usually requires a more in-depth level of sales and marketing alignment. This is because the main objective is the propelled movement from the middle down to the bottom of a sales funnel. 

What’s The Big Difference? 

It’s important to understand the differences between these two and why it’s crucial for sales and marketing to work together in your business to drive leads. Essentially without one you can’t have the other because an MQL has to be passed on to the sales department to become an SQL, and this is where the real sales happen. An MQL isn’t ready for the buyer's circle like an SQL is, so it’s just going through a more complex and accurate process. 


To understand a bit more about MQL vs SQL and why tension exists, let’s have a look at an example. An MQL might be someone who has downloaded a piece of content, filled out an online form or provided you with their email. They are engaging on some level and they are indicating some form of interest, but aren’t showing signs of being ready to buy yet. An SQL has visited the pricing page multiple times, and they have also visited the service page and signed up for demos or requested a direct call. These are much clearer signs that they are ready to buy and thus why they are considered an SQL. 

sales funnels lead generation

Coming Together 

When marketing and sales teams align, they’re giving your business the best opportunity for improvement and better performance. It can be difficult, however, when both teams have different goals and expectations of themselves and each other. It is very important that marketing and sales come together with the same goals in mind and support each other through the process. When this happens, your business’s sales productivity will increase exponentially. MQL vs SQL is not meant to be a competition, but a smooth and helpful transition. 

The end goal is to drive more leads into your funnel that can turn into sales, right? So, with this strategy of connection in place, your business will be on its way to lead generation, conversion, and sales success. 

Lead Score 

So, how do we get MQLs to lead into SQLs? The starting place is, as insisted above, having your marketing and sales teams collaborating and connecting. The next steps can be different for different companies, but often starts with what is called lead scoring. This is when numerical points are assigned to each lead you generate for your business. Leads can be scored based on different attributes such as any professional information they have given you and how they have engaged with your website and company on the internet. The process is beneficial because it helps the sales and marketing teams prioritize their leads and respond accurately to decrease the time in which these leads become customers. 

This process can save your sales team a lot of effort, they can spend this time on more important things like communicating with leads that are open to talking to them and are showing more interest in buying from the business. 

mql vs sql qualified leads sales conversions marketing lead geneation

Top Takeaways On Qualified Leads

It is important to remember that while an MQL is less likely to become a sale on their own, not every SQL will lead to a sale either. This is why the process is important—the sales team needs the time and the ability to focus on connecting to an SQL and not the MQLs in order to maximize their sales. An MQL can become an SQL, but these leads still need attention to convert them to real customers, which can be more effectively and efficiently cultivated by the marketing team. 

Perhaps business’ mentalities should be MQL and SQL rather than MQL vs SQL, because these two need to work off of each other in order to create customers. Your sales and marketing team need to be working together to avoid losing leads and to also be successfully converting leads into real buyers. Both departments need to lead the way to generate better quality leads and conversions.

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