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Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are prospects who have demonstrated qualities or behaviors that indicate they are more likely to become customers.
The MQL qualification process involves analyzing and evaluating a prospect’s engagement with your marketing campaigns and other activities, like downloading content or attending a webinar. MQLs are considered more qualified and more likely to convert into paying customers than non-MQL leads. Tracking MQLs helps maximize your return on investment for marketing campaigns and activities.
Let's dig into MQLs and why you should measure them.
What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?
A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect you’ve identified as more likely to become a customer based on their marketing and campaign activity. These prospects are typically more engaged than other leads and have a higher propensity to convert into customers. Leads must meet your specific predefined criteria to qualify as an MQL, and the criteria can include activities like number of website visits, email opens, time spent on your website, and more.
Once a lead meets your criteria, they’re considered an MQL and passed to the sales team for further qualification. By understanding MQLs and how to identify them, you can better target your marketing efforts and increase your chances of converting leads into customers.
MQLs vs. SQLs and their role in the sales funnel
Both MQLs and sales qualified leads (SQLs) are pivotal to your sales funnel, and while they’re similar, the distinction lies in the stage at which you identify them and their level of engagement.
MQLs are identified earlier in the sales process, often in the interest or consideration stage of the conversion funnel. These leads have interacted with your marketing content in ways that suggest a higher conversion likelihood than other leads. The qualification process for a lead to become an MQL includes a series of qualifying events, such as a) visiting a website multiple times, and b) joining a webinar, and then c) downloading an ebook.
In contrast, SQLs have moved past the consideration stage into the decision or action stage of the sales funnel. They display an intent to purchase through activities like requesting a demo, asking for a quote, or contacting your sales team.
It’s critical that your sales and marketing teams understand and are aligned on the difference between MQLs and SQLs. This alignment enables a better division of tasks in which your marketing team nurtures MQLs to the point of sales readiness and your sales team takes over SQLs to close deals. Correctly identifying MQLs and SQLs streamlines your sales funnel, optimizes resource allocation, and maximizes conversion rates.
Tips for getting more MQLs
You typically generate MQLs through marketing campaigns and activities like emails, webinars, and content marketing. MQLs have a deeper level of engagement with these campaigns, like downloading a whitepaper or attending a webinar. Focusing on creating content relevant to your target audience will help you generate MQLs, and lead scoring can help you identify which leads will most likely become customers.
Generating MQLs can mean a focused investment in content marketing initiatives and a strategy for blog posts, videos, webinars, events, and other content and tactics tailored to your target audience's needs. You can use targeted, paid advertising to reach potential customers and analytics platforms to track the performance of these campaigns.
Measuring the success of MQLs
Measuring the success of MQLs can help you better understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies and campaigns going forward.
You can track key metrics, like the number of leads generated, the number of leads converted to customers, and the average customer lifetime value to understand the success of your investment in generating more MQLs. You can get valuable insights and create more informed marketing strategies by tracking the number of leads classified as MQLs and the number of monthly, quarterly, and yearly MQLs that become customers.
To maximize your sales potential, start by generating more MQLs.