Before we start unpacking the difference between MQL vs. SQL, we need to first go back to the beginning. A lead is a person who has indicated an interest in your company’s product or service in some way. But how does a lead show their interest?
Essentially, a lead is generated through information collection, for instance through a form after they have downloaded a piece of content that caught his or her eye. Let’s dive a little deeper into the different stages of a lead, namely, marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL).
Now that you’ve got your leads, you’re excited (rightfully so) and may want to jump the gun by sending these leads straight to sales. DON’T. Stop and consider where each lead is in the buyer’s journey.
Determining an MQL from an SQL is an important relationship between sales and marketing. This initial step of differentiating one from the other is the ultimate foundation for the lead hand-off.
MQL refers to a lead that is more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence and is usually conveyed by closed-loop reporting. This is tracked from looking at specific behaviors or level of engagement, such as website visits and content offer downloads. Ideally, only certain forms should trigger a lead to the MQL stage, such as direct business offers and other sales-ready CTAs.
SQL is the next stage. This means that the sales team has qualified this lead as a potential customer. The SQL is in the buying cycle, while the MQL is not ready for that buying stage just yet. Once you know what differentiates the two, you can practice lead scoring, for instance giving higher lead scores to those who visited high-value pages (sales guides), filled out high-value forms (direct sales demo requests), or viewed your site multiple times. More on that later.
Marketing and sales alignment is the largest opportunity for improving your business performance. When marketing and sales teams are unified around a single revenue cycle, they greatly increase marketing ROI, sales productivity, and growth. Sounds easy enough right? It can be, but with both teams having different goals and varying expectations of each other, it is imperative that marketing and sales come together with the same revenue-generating goals in mind – and hold each other accountable.
Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, but it is only effective if sales and marketing work together. Lead scoring lets you assign a value to each lead based on the information they have provided you and how they have engaged on your website. This score helps determines which leads to target by highest priority.
Lead scoring is important for three reasons:
There are a number of ways you can qualify your leads – either by contact properties or by action. Below are the five most common ways you can begin scoring your leads:
Based on your own business, you can use any of these qualifiers – weighted at your own discretion – to score your leads. (And if you use HubSpot, you know how easy it is to create a custom scoring algorithm for your inbound leads.)
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