Sales glossaryMQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)

What is does MQL (Marketing qualified lead) mean in sales?

Busy? Here's the short answer:

MQL stands for "Marketing Qualified Lead." It's a potential customer who the marketing team thinks is likely interested in the company's product or service and could convert with proper nurturing.

What is a/an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)?

In the world of sales and marketing, the term "MQL" stands for "Marketing Qualified Lead." An MQL is a potential customer who has been identified by the marketing team as someone who is likely interested in the company's product or service and has the potential to become a customer with proper nurturing.

Key Takeaways

  • An MQL is a lead that meets specific criteria set by the marketing team, indicating a higher likelihood of conversion.
  • MQLs are typically generated through various marketing efforts, such as website visits, content downloads, or event registrations.
  • Once identified, MQLs are handed over to the sales team for further nurturing and conversion.

How MQLs are Identified?

Identifying MQLs involves a combination of data analysis and lead qualification criteria set by the marketing team. Here's how MQLs are typically identified:

  1. Lead Scoring: The marketing team assigns scores to leads based on various factors such as their demographics, behavior, engagement with marketing materials, and interactions with the company's website. Leads that reach a certain threshold are designated as MQLs.

  2. Engagement Metrics: MQLs often exhibit higher levels of engagement with the company's marketing efforts. This could include actions like downloading whitepapers, subscribing to newsletters, attending webinars, or interacting with social media content.

  3. Fit with Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): MQLs are also evaluated based on how well they match the company's ideal customer profile. This includes factors such as the industry they belong to, company size, and specific pain points they are facing.

  4. Marketing Automation: Marketing automation tools play a crucial role in identifying MQLs. These tools track and analyze lead behavior, enabling the marketing team to determine when a lead meets the criteria for MQL status.

The Role of MQLs in the Sales Funnel

MQLs play a vital role in the sales funnel, which is the journey that a potential customer takes from the first point of contact to becoming a paying customer. Here's how MQLs fit into the sales funnel:

  1. Top of the Funnel: At the top of the sales funnel, prospects are in the awareness stage. They may have shown interest in the company's content or website but have not yet expressed a clear intent to purchase. These prospects are considered MQLs.

  2. Nurturing Process: Once identified as an MQL, the prospect enters the nurturing process. The marketing team continues to engage with the prospect through targeted content and communication, aiming to move them further down the funnel.

  3. Middle of the Funnel: In the middle of the funnel, prospects are in the consideration stage. They have shown increased interest in the company's offerings and are evaluating whether it meets their needs. The sales team takes over at this stage to provide personalized solutions and address any questions or concerns.

  4. Conversion to SQL: Some MQLs will advance to become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) based on their level of interest and fit with the company's offering. SQLs are passed on to the sales team for direct engagement and potential conversion into customers.


Q1: How does the handover process from marketing to sales work for MQLs?

The handover process from marketing to sales for MQLs typically involves the use of a customer relationship management (CRM) system. When an MQL meets the defined criteria, the lead data is transferred to the CRM, and the sales team receives a notification to follow up with the lead.

Q2: Can MQLs become customers without interacting with the sales team?

Yes, it is possible for some MQLs to convert into customers without direct interaction with the sales team. In some cases, prospects may make a purchase online or through self-service channels based on the information provided by the marketing team.

Q3: What happens if an MQL does not convert into a customer?

Not all MQLs will convert into customers, and that's normal. The marketing team can continue to nurture these leads with relevant content and communication, as they may become customers in the future or refer others to the company.

In conclusion, MQLs are an essential part of the sales and marketing process. They represent potential customers who have shown interest in the company's offerings, and with proper nurturing and engagement, they can be converted into paying customers. By understanding the criteria for identifying MQLs and their role in the sales funnel, businesses can effectively leverage this valuable lead qualification process to drive growth and revenue.

Related terms...

Lead routing

"Lead routing" is he process of directing potential customers, or leads, to the right salesperson or team in a company. The goal is to make sure each lead gets handled by the best person for the job, improving the chances of turning them into customers

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Lead qualification

"Lead qualification" is the process of figuring out if a potential customer is a good fit for the company. It involves checking if they're genuinely interested, have the budget and authority to buy, and match the company's offerings. The goal is to focus the sales team on leads with the best chances of becoming successful sales, saving time and resources.

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Sales Cycle

Sales Cycle refers to the length of the full journey a potential customer goes through when making a purchase. It includes different steps like lead generation, qualification, presentation, negotiation, and finally, closing the deal.

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Lead generation

Lead generation is the process of identifying and attracting potential customers for a business. The goal is to convert prospects into a qualified leads that can be nurtured and converted into customers.

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SQL (sales qualified lead)

An SQL (Sales qualified lead) is a potential customer that has shown buying intent & interest and has been identified as qualified to convert into a paying customer. The marketing will hand off an SQL to the sales team to close the deal.

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All terms

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