Are You New in SQL and MQL? Here’s Everything You Need to Know


Are you new to sales and marketing terms and don’t know the difference between MQL vs SQL?


What are sales qualified lead and marketing qualified lead? To understand the key differences between them, you need to understand the sales cycle.


Below chart gives you an idea at what stage of sales funnel you can call a lead as marketing qualified or sales qualified.

sales funnel

We need to understand the difference between MQL vs. SQL.


A lead is a person interested in your services whose information you could collect after he showed great interest in your content. When you get a lead, you cannot send this directly to your sales team. Perhaps, that is the lead which is to be still nourished by your marketing team.  This is where you need to know the difference between the marketing qualified lead and sales qualified lead.


If you need to increase your sales productivity and ROI, your sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page. They should mutually decide what is to be called sales qualified lead or marketing qualified lead.


How to make this job easy for you?  If your sales and marketing teams are working together, you can use the lead scoring technique to assign a value to each lead that you come across. This way it will be easy for your sales team to more easily identify which of the leads are ready to buy.


How can you qualify your leads? What is the basis to do so?  You can see following details to decide this–


  • Demographic information
  • Company information
  • Online behavior
  • Email subscription rate and engagement
  • Social media interactions


You can use your own discretion to decide the criterions to score your leads.


If a lead has shared their email address, can you call it a marketing qualified lead? Not yet! A person has to show further interest beyond sharing an email address, maybe downloading an eBook or case study or joining a webinar, etc. actions.


At the stage depending on your products, you can offer your MQLs free product trials, information, or anything which would allow them to directly access your products.  When your MQL has all the information it needs, you need to push it a bit which then can be given to the sales team.


Use closed-loop analysis to know lead intelligence. MQLs are the leads who have intentionally engaged by submitting their contact information or by adding e-commerce items in their cart. These leads are curious towards you and more likely to be receptive to your sales pitch than other leads. Let’s have a look at more actions that define MQL –


  • Using free trials on software.
  • Going for software demos
  • Online form filling
  • Ad clicks to find out your website
  • Subscribing to the email newsletter
  • Adding items to their wishlist
  • Adding items to their shopping cart


You cannot guarantee a sale from marketing qualified lead. Let us take an example, if you were window shopping in a mall you are an MQL because you showed interest but if you were to ask a shop assistant to help you find something you need, you are SQL. Every single person that walks around the store is a lead but not necessarily an MQL. For a lead to be MQL, they have to show great interest in your products and offerings.


When sales team assign values to leads it is called as a traditional lead scoring method. This is done through explicit and implicit information. Explicit data is which your leads provide you and implicit data is something you collect on the basis of your leads behavior captured through metrics such as email open rate, click-through rate, gated content download, etc. But this doesn’t provide sales team much opportunity to provide feedback that can be incorporated into the lead scoring system.


To solve this issue, an algorithmic tool is used to predict the behavior of the leads and see if they are qualified or not. In predictive lead scoring, the algorithm keeps improving constantly and is adjusted after identifying the traits of the leads that did or didn’t convert. Every time a lead is converted the algorithm gains new information, which helps to automate the process for more predictive and accurate results based on real behavior.

is your leads sales qualified



Like mentioned in the above fig. your sales team can ask these questions to verify if the leads are SQLs –


Does your lead –

  • Have the authority to make the purchase
  • Have enough budgets to buy the solution
  • Require your solution immediately


Keep all this data in mind as it is crucial to score your leads and to help you identify if you are achieving your marketing and sales goals as an organization. Let us know if you have any question in the comment section below.



Subscribe for blog

Vikas Bhatt

Author Vikas Bhatt

Vikas is the co-founder of OnlyB2B ITES Pvt Ltd and a Demand Generation cum Data Cleansing Expert. He has 10+ years of experience in B2B Lead Generation, Data Mining, and Content Syndication. Say hi on

More posts by Vikas Bhatt

Leave a Reply