What is an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)?
A marketing-qualified lead (MQL) is a qualified prospect who has interacted with a brand’s marketing content or marketing channels in a meaningful way but hasn’t yet engaged with the brand’s sales team.
Marketing-qualified leads have registered interest in a brand’s products or services by engaging with a brand’s marketing efforts, such as by downloading content assets, filling out an outline form, or adding items to a shopping cart (without checking out).
While MQLs are not guaranteed customers, they should be more receptive to further marketing efforts and eventually to engaging with your sales teams.
Defining marketing-qualified leads
A brand’s marketing and sales teams should work together to define what a qualified lead is.
Typically a marketing-qualified lead is a prospective customer who at the very least has expressed a need for the brand’s products or services and isn’t opposed to purchasing from said brand.
If that qualified lead engages with the brand’s marketing content or marketing channels in a meaningful way, it’s up to the marketing department to qualify it as an MQL.
For example, if a prospective customer with a need and the desire to buy visits a software brand’s website and initiates a web chat with questions about the brand’s products, they have engaged with one of the brand’s marketing channels in a meaningful way and might become an MQL, assuming the prospect meets other customer criteria.
What is the difference between MQLs and SQLs?
An SQL that has entered the sales funnel generally gets qualified by a methodology such as the BANT framework, indicating they have:
- The budget to buy a brand’s products or services.
- The authority to make a purchasing decision.
- The need for that product or service.
- The timing is right for them to buy.
“MQLs have awareness of a brand and are thought to be considering its products via their engagement with the company’s marketing efforts”
Generally speaking, marketing-qualified leads lack one or more of these components. Perhaps, for example, they have a need and the budget for a particular product, but the timing isn’t right.
Put another way, MQLs have awareness of a brand and are thought to be considering its products via their engagement with the company’s marketing efforts. SQLs, on the other hand, have progressed past that to the point where they’re ready to make a decision to purchase.
What is a good MQL to SQL conversion rate?
Based on sales and marketing studies across various industries, a good benchmark for MQL to SQL conversion rate is 13%, while less than half of SQLs usually end up becoming buyers.
Typically, referrals from websites and customers as well as employees have a higher chance of turning an MQL into an SQL.