Many businesses struggle to convert because they don’t know which lead is sales-ready and which lead requires more nurturing. This is an important learning as it will help the marketing team get the right leads to the sales team. Therefore, a good knowledge about leads is important to help businesses generate more leads and manage their existing leads efficiently. This will help the sales team spend more time selling and less time ‘mining’ for leads. Thus, segregating leads into Marketing-Qualified Leads and Sales-Qualified Leads based on their level of interest is critical for business growth.

Marketing-Qualified LeadsBefore making a purchase, potential customers show interest in your business. These potential customers are Marketing-Qualified Leads, and they are more likely to become a customer if the business nurtures them properly.

How to identify?

As mentioned earlier, Marketing Qualified Leads show interest in your business and its marketing activities. A potential lead is a MQL if they

• Follow your ads

• Respond positively to inquiries

• Like your posts

• Visit your website regularly

• Visit the shop frequently

The points mentioned above is a broad base for categorization. The marketing team can add behavioral, demographic or location-based characteristics to further split the MQL base. This will allow them to focus on leads that can be easily converted.

What to do? The purpose of qualifying an MQL is to ensure that the business focuses on people who intend to buy rather than people who might not buy. If you have identified an MQL, it is important to start nurturing them in order to change them into a Sales Qualified Lead. After identifying an MQL, the marketing team needs to track customer journey and understand their needs. This will help them create a personalized marketing strategy through customized ads and customer support. The business should also attempt to interact with the potential customer to know about their opinions and their favorite products. This will help businesses understand how much nurturing is required to increase sales.

Sales Qualified Leads

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) are the next logical step after MQL in the sales funnel. If an MQL lead is nurtured and is ready to initiate purchase, they will become SQL. In simple terms, any lead that is deemed sales-ready can be called a Sales Qualified Lead.

How to identify?

Unlike Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Qualified Leads are tough to identify as the qualification differs based on business. However, the most important identifier is the interest of the customers. Generally, MQLs turn into SQLs and hence it is the responsibility of both the marketing and sales teams to identify SQLs. Most importantly, the business should have strict criteria for determining SQL. This will ensure that both the marketing team and the sales team are in the same page and do not have difference of opinions about SQLs.

What to do?

Customers with a high level of interest in a product or service need to be forwarded to the sales team by the marketing team. The sales team needs to conduct one-on-one sessions with each SQL since most of them might still have important doubts about the product or service. SQLs are properly vetted by the marketing team and are at the very end of their sales journey. However, it does not mean that all SQLs will convert into sales. So, the sales team needs to take care to not rush through thinking that the sale is confirmed.

MQL & SQL

Rather than treating both MQL and SQL as different types of leads, businesses should treat both of them as part of a cohesive sales unit. This is because most of your business’ actionable sales leads come from marketing efforts. Therefore, most SQLs would have been MQLs at some point. If MQLs become SQLs, why spend extra effort identifying MQLs? If your sales funnel has only one lead qualification, it will not be efficient. First of all, it will take a lot of time and effort for the sales team to even identify SQLs from a list of unqualified leads. This precious time can be used to complete more sales. One should think of a completed sale as a relay race between MQL and SQL. If the marketing team does not identify Marketing Qualified Leads, they will spend unnecessary time and effort creating marketing initiatives for cold leads that won’t convert. So, it is important to sift through all the leads and identify a set of interested leads (MQL) that can be nurtured into sales-ready SQL leads.