The MQL vs. SQL Difference and How Leads Move Through the Sales Funnel

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Determining whether your leads are SQL or MQL ones should be at the top of your priority list because it makes absolute sense on a marketing efficiency perspective. There are plenty of ways for you to qualify leads and this article will show you how.

Leads are everywhere. If you understand this reality, then maybe doing your job will appear a little bit easier after reading this. Another truth is, it is easy to reach leads because of the presence of several lead generation tools that can produce a hefty amount of data about your target market enough to bring your business to the next level. The bigger question really is what to do next after successfully generating marketing-qualified leads. As can be expected, you would want to produce sales-qualified leads and actually close the sale thereafter.

Honestly, however, too many companies are unknowingly losing their money – approximately 95% of sales opportunities – mainly due to low conversion rates. That’s a lot of profit lost! Businesses need to see the bigger need – coming up with efficient strategies so that leads become actual buyers.

Work on Your Prospecting Plan

The reality is there is always the possibility of losing opportunities simply because of unclear or unestablished protocols within organizations where it concerns MQL versus SQL. Differentiating between the two is crucial among marketers as they need to identify where in the sales funnel specific leads go. Being able to determine where your leads are in their customer journey enables you to create more conversions even with little leads.

This is where a prospecting plan will come in very handy. A prospecting plan is very helpful so that you get the task right the first time around. This tool ensures that your content and strategies are designed intelligently with the intent to make your target client buy what you are selling. You don’t hope they buy your product, you make them buy it! How? Write it all down in your plan.

A prospecting plan intends to accomplish the following:

  • Identify how many from your leads are potential prospects
  • How many will most likely be interested in your product
  • How many new accounts your team can afford to open once the responses start to come in
  • Follow up approaches that will not turn off your prospects

Related: B2B Lead Generation: What Works and What Doesn’t?


MQLs quite often signal that they are ready to buy the product only that they want to be clarified about specific details, waiting for the right timing, or anticipating a potential discount. The good thing about MQLs is that there is little need to do hard selling as they already believe in the integrity of the product. You only need to update them every now and then until they are ready to make a purchase.

When people qualify as MQLs, it also means that the clients are ready to know more about the product being offered. You have their attention already and now is the time to bring out the big guns in order for them to become fully convinced that your product is the best answer to their present need.

MQLs are often those recipients who opened the marketing email, signed up for something, filled out forms, or sent additional inquiries about details not included in your marketing campaign.

SQLs are those people who are open to listening to a demonstration or accepting free trials. They are more responsive to follow-ups and often make time for them in spite of their busy schedule. You have not just caught their attention, you have aroused their interest and this is where the salespeople come in and close the deal.

Related: Consulting vs. Selling: Crafting a Winning Business Pitch

When handling SQLs, marketing and sales personnel need to work together closely in order to further evaluate the readiness of the prospect to buy the product or service. When deemed ready for the next stage in the sales process, both marketing and sales personnel will pull resources together so that the sale is sealed. Mostly, however, a prospecting plan would clearly outline that the closing of the deal will be handled by the sales personnel.

When an MQL transitions into becoming an SQL, it means that the marketing team has done their job well and it’s now time for the sales team to come in and complete the transaction. There should be no competition between the sales and marketing personnel. Instead, they should work closely together and marry their efforts in order to establish systematic practices that will hasten the increased conversion rates. When conversion rates are high, profit can naturally be expected to increase as well.

Related: Lead Scoring: The 5 Attributes To Consider When Ranking Your Leads

Sort your leads today by using different MQL and SQL automation techniques and see how you can expand your business and grow your clientele.

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