When it comes to sales and marketing, MQL vs. SQL is the most common area where they both disagree. However, this post will help you get an insight into one of the most heated debates. Since both the sales and marketing departments have the same end goal, the issue has to be addressed. Although marketing teams desire to generate the maximum number of leads possible, they also need to earn as much money as possible. This is only possible with the help generating greater qualified leads that lead to increased sales.

In order to generate maximum revenue, sales and marketing teams have to closely work together to decide a what truly constitutes as an MQL or an SQL. They also have to agree on a hand-off process that will help push the maximum number of leads through the sales funnel as possible.


So What Is The Difference Between MQL & SQL?

The exact definition of both MQL and SQL mainly depends on the unique customer lifestyle of the business and the agreement made between the sales and marketing departments. But, there is a general definition that will give you an idea of the difference between the two to better understand them as a whole.

What Is MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)?

A marketing qualified lead is simply a prospect which the marketing team believes is more likely to convert into a sale as compared to other leads, but is not quite ready to make a purchase yet. Generally, this is determine by lead intelligence which is informed by closed-loop analytics. Such a lead would require additional marketing assistance before a sales call is received. Marketing qualified leads are sent over to sales in order for them to become more effective and focused.

And What Is SQL (Sales Qualified Lead)?

A sales qualified lead is a prospective customer which has managed to progress past the engagement stage, the lead has been analyzed thoroughly by both marketing and sales departments, and is considered to be ready for the next stage of the sales funnel which is a direct sales push. Such leads will have displayed their intent to make a purchase and satisfy the lead qualification criteria which determines that the lead is the right fit for the service or product. The only step that is required at this stage is greater lead nurturing for successful conversion of the lead into a paying customer.

Difference Between MQL & SQL

Now that you have an idea of what MQL and SQL mean, you will be better able to understand their difference. Even though the main difference between MQL and SQL is the readiness to make a purchase, the lines are often blurred and there are different views about where the lead actually falls.

When it comes to leads, both the sales and marketing teams approach the topic from a different perspective. However, it is crucial that they work together in order to determine where a lead is during the buyer’s journey. According to studies, it has been revealed that as much as ninety percent of MQLs never become converted to SQLs as they had been falsely identified as being an MQL too early during the buyer’s journey.

There are various elements which can used by teams to analyze in order to avoid the elimination of prospects from the buyer’s journey. It will help reduce wastage of the marketing budget and will boost the return on investment.

Lead Behavior

The best determinant of whether a lead should be considered an MQL or an SQL is its behavior on the website and how it engages with the company online. There are some general behavioral characteristics that can be used such as repeat visitor vs. first time visitor. If it is only the first visit to the website, it should be classified as an MQL. However on the other hand, if the lead has visited the website several times to search for relevant services or products, it may be considered as an SQL for fair reason.

Conversion Count

The number of times a visitor has completed a form on the landing page offers should also be considered. An MQL would normally download just one or more pieces of content, whereas, an SQL would have converted on various offers.

Buying Cycle Stages

The actual conversion plays a huge role in determining a lead as MQL or SQL, besides just the number of times that a prospect has been converted. The type of landing page offers redeemed must be considered. For instance, when an MQL requests a live demo, it might be ready for making a direct purchase. Defining the MQL and SQL is the starting point of the hand-off process. The more leads that have been scored, the better the ability to classify them as either MQL or SQL.

Once you have an understanding of MQL and SQL definitions, you would know which lead fits where. However, you have to consider when and how SQLs can be passed to the sales team. This is why it is vital to take the entire customer lifecycle into account. From the generating of leads all the way to retarget and conversion, each stage has to be fully understood. Thus, you can expect a smooth transition of an MQL into an SQL. Instead of an MQL vs. SQL mentality, businesses must consider adopting a mentality that is MQL and SQL. Both the sales and marketing teams have an equally important role.

What Is Growth Marketing?

One of the most important concepts that you should be aware of is growth marketing. It is a data-driven approach that optimizes leads to conversion rates which leads to increased sales funnel velocity and a reduced sales cycle. Growth marketing is not the same as growth hacking as it is simply a data-driven approach which allows marketing initiatives to be successful by making use of a diverse set of tactics, software tools, analytics, and methodologies unlike the approach used by a traditional marketer.