MQL and SQL: What's the Difference

Date: 2022-07-28 | Time of reading: 4 minutes (795 words)

Competitive analysis

A lead is any potential customer who is directly or indirectly interested in your product or service. Each lead is unique. Each of them has its own needs and motives. They are at different stages of making a purchase. You need to know the degree of lead warming up to fix the moment when you need to push the client to the target action. If you rush or be late, you can lose a lead.

In most companies, the marketing department works first with the lead, and then the sales department takes over. The transfer will take place when an MQL becomes an SQL. In other words, when a marketing qualified lead enters the state of a sales qualified lead. Let's talk about this in the article.

Marketing qualified lead (MQL)

You can determine which category a lead belongs to (MQL or SQL) based on the characteristics and behavior of the client. Qualified marketing leads show through their actions that they are interested in your product. Here are a few signs that distinguish them from those who are not interested in your company at all:

  • They click a link.
  • They browse your site, maybe a few times.
  • They use a lead magnet: download a guide, participate in a survey, etc.
  • They look through the items and add something to the cart.
  • They look for extended information about your company or your product.
  • They subscribe to the newsletter.
  • They attend a free webinar.
  • They read your blog.
  • They are the first to contact you: they message in social networks, start a dialogue with a chat bot, or order a call back.

Marketing qualified leads stand for engaged leads. Remember that MQLs don’t express willingness to buy, although they correspond to the profile of your target audience. The company acquires MQLs through search engine optimization, PPC ads on social media, content and email marketing.

Sales qualified lead (SQL)

Sales qualified leads are characterized by a pronounced readiness to make a purchase. They are highly active in promotional events and actively discuss the details of the deal with the manager. SQLs are proven or promising leads.

Actions specific to SQLs:

  • They visit your site multiple times.
  • They read newsletters and respond to value propositions.
  • They are well informed about your company and product.
  • They are interested in a product demo.
  • Ready to discuss the cost and talk to the sales rep.
  • They contact you on the recommendation of your regular customers.
  • They are going to buy urgently or know the exact date of purchase.

Business must know MQL and SQL

For clarity, let's summarize the differences between MQLs and SQLs in a table:

Marketing qualified leadSales qualified lead
Position in the sales funnelEnter the funnel earlier than SQLs. Occupy starting positions.Located closer to the peak of the sales funnel.
Lead processing speedIt is necessary to carry out preparatory work that takes a lot of time before a potential client moves into the MQL category. The same applies to the transition from MQL to SQL: the lead warms up gradually, weeks and months can pass.Once a user becomes SQL, all processes associated with it are accelerated. It is important to be proactive here: delay can result in the loss of a client.
Number of leadsIn business, there are always more MQLs than SQLs.Ideally, as a result of well-coordinated marketing actions, each MQL should become an SQL, but in practice this doesn’t happen.
Degree of involvementMQLs are just getting to know you and your offer. Compared to SQLs, marketing qualified leads are characterized by a lower degree of engagement and loyalty.SQLs are more interested in your company, marketing campaigns and product. They are aware that the product can solve their needs.


The task of every business is to be able to distinguish between MQL and SQL, because the principle of working with a specific lead depends on it. A spot approach will save you time and money. It is wrong to determine the degree of the buyer’s readiness for the purchase intuitively or with the help of “fortune-telling”.

Get your marketing and sales departments working together smoothly. This will double the effectiveness of the work with leads. Strong business is characterized by a large flow of MQLs, most of which become SQLs. The profit of the company directly depends on this indicator.







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Author: Lyudmila Kovalenko






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