SQL vs MQL: What are the Differences between MQL and SQL

Capturing the leads that are most likely to convert into sales is essential in marketing made for the web.

Before becoming a customer, the lead must go through several qualification stages in the sales cycle, ensuring a valuable experience and a more appropriate and effective purchase.

Some companies qualify leads at various stages, with the most common classifications being Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

In both cases, the lead is at a different stage in the sales funnel and the categorizations serve to guide Digital Marketing strategies and the contacts made by the service and sales teams.

Read on to understand the difference between MQL and SQL, the benefits of using these classifications throughout lead qualification, and how to apply them correctly. B2B Lead Generation: How to get the right leads

What is Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?

The MQL is that lead that was duly attracted when exposed to digital marketing campaigns.

If a business acquires leads using Instagram Ads strategies, for example, it is gaining Marketing Qualified Leads.

It is up to the members of the marketing team to know how to identify this type of lead so that it continues to be successfully guided through the sales funnel, classifying the level of interest and nurturing it until it is ready to be converted/forwarded to the sales team.

What is Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)?

When a lead meets the necessary prerequisites to become an effective customer, it evolves into a Sales Qualified Lead.

At this point, you need to schedule a conversation between the lead and salesperson. The team must continue to check that the lead meets all requirements.

If all goes according to plan, SQL becomes a business opportunity and the sale is successfully closed.

Differences between MQL and SQL

SQLs often demonstrate an immediate interest in a company’s products or services. In these cases, it is recommended that the sales team follow them closely.

In turn, MQLs may ask for additional information before being properly converted.

Since converting MQLs often takes longer, marketers and sales professionals often use automation software to create email lead nurturing programs.

In a simplified way, the software automates the sending of emails to MQLs from pre-programmed segmentation. Lead Prospecting: What is it and How to Do It

In this sense, leads earn points based on data such as:

  • Email openings;
  • Clicks on links;
  • Website visits;
  • Accessed products.

Sales and marketing teams tend to have different approaches, but it is essential that teams work together to determine where each lead is in the customer journey, in order to make contacts more effective, in order to delight that potential customer.

Misidentification of MQLs and/or SQLs can cause very high bounce rates and affect the company’s finances.

In the sales funnel, an MQL is in the middle, in the larger part, still learning about possible solutions, while an SQL is closer to the narrow part, where the conversion to sale happens.

Ideally, an MQL nurtured by a series of promotional emails and consistent marketing efforts will gain enough confidence to become an SQL and complete the deal. 6 Best Lead Generation Hacks and Tools

Why leads are important?

Digital marketing is full of different concepts and applications. Now you will understand why MQL and SQL are important tools for sales in the virtual environment.

1. Marketing and sales united

Unlike the scenario a few years ago, marketing and sales now operate in an integrated way. This is an advantage of lead classification.

One department needs the other to achieve business goals in a qualified way. This approach favors the integration of areas since the role of marketing is to prepare leads to be converted.

Cooperation is necessary to obtain positive results. After all, nowadays, one sector needs another to increase ROI (return on investment). So, take advantage of this junction to boost your business sales. 4 Best Strategies to Generate Leads at Events

2. More efficient sales team

One of the biggest benefits of qualified leads is identifying the many contacts that can actually become customers. This saves the sales team time and money.

With this, the team can focus on the leads that are most likely to buy your products and services.

Directing efforts to contacts who don’t want to become customers is one of the main mistakes companies make.

In addition to discouraging the sales department, this mistake can give the impression of success due to the volume of leads generated.

However, we soon discovered that quality is the most important factor for a successful digital marketing strategy!

3. Cheaper conversions

Another advantage of investing in lead classification is cost reduction. Unlike traditional approaches, such as Facebook Ads, which require more dedication from the sales team, with this model the scenario is different.

The more information you have about a potential customer, the less time it will take to convince them to close the deal.

Relying on customer journey insights to persuade them is a smart process that costs a lot less.

4. After-sales strategies

Analyzing the results achieved even after a sale is made is critical to the success of the strategy.

If you find that a lead closes a deal after downloading a certain ebook, you can focus on those leads who have visited the same rich content but haven’t become customers yet.

Another benefit of tracking a customer’s history through the buying journey is learning more about them. This allows you to know their needs or even sell complementary products.

In other words, when you measure these interactions with customers, they are more likely to keep buying your products for a long time.

Don’t forget that this information allows you to create increasingly personalized experiences for them. This can be one of the factors that determine your differentiation in the market, attracting more customers.

After all, consumers look for companies that meet their deepest needs. And this will only be possible if we closely evaluate the behavior of our leads to improve the entire process whenever necessary. B2B Sales for Startups: A Simple Guide to Getting Started Selling

How to determine MQL and SQL?

Understanding what MQL and SQL mean is just the beginning. You still need to know how to determine how to separate leads into these two groups.

To do this correctly, it is important to follow some basic steps that we will see below.

1. Know your persona

The first step you and everyone else involved should take to build an effective qualifications system is to get to know the company’s persona.

The persona is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy, from how to advertise on Google Ads to sharing content.

Lead nurturing is directly related to the quality of materials shared on social networks and emails.

Superficial content or content that is misaligned with the interests of the audience that the company wants to attract is one of the first elements to cause the generated leads to be wasted even before any qualification attempt is made.

Also, think about the purpose of having a persona, which is to represent your ideal customer.

Based on this profile, it is possible to classify the actions of the leads and see how close they are to the expected behavior of the persona.

This will make your assessment more accurate and keep your investment on track. After all, if you find that qualified leads are not performing as expected from the persona, then something in the planning has to be adjusted. What are the benefits of product reviews?

2. Use tools to monitor the sales funnel

The progress of leads through the sales funnel is the best indicator of progress in the buying journey. In addition, it can be a great help when classifying a lead between MQL and SQL.

For this reason, it is advisable to use tools that allow you to closely monitor the evolution and also nurture leads as they show more interest.

Marketing automation systems are the ideal solution for this, as this type of software allows you to create targeted nurturing flows for each type of lead without delay.

In this way, it is possible to keep engaged with those who have not yet met the criteria established for MQL or SQL and to act correctly with those who are already qualified.

Also, a good sales funnel management tool will help keep track of the goals that have been set between the sales and marketing teams.

3. Continuously improve the process

It is very important to keep in mind that it is always possible to improve the MQL and SQL quality control processes.

Always trust the data your KPIs show on lead conversion rates, because that’s the ultimate goal of the strategy.

Also, observe the path of potential customers progressing through the funnel and compare it with the actions of those who give up halfway.

This can be useful for finding elements of a strategy that can be changed or even removed.

The more time you spend adjusting the quality of your content, taking into account the persona, the better the conversion process will be.

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