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Use the template to answer a series of questions that will help you determine:

  • What things must exist in order for a lead to be “qualified”
  • What the status of a lead must be in order to begin putting effort into nurturing that lead (defining a Marketing Qualified Lead)
  • What the status of a lead must be in order to hand the lead over to sales (defining a Sales Qualified Lead)
  • How to create documentation for Sales and Marketing

Using a template to identify and distinguish MQLs from SQLs

The difference between marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL) is important to understanding your sales funnel, and perhaps most importantly, the potential bottlenecks within it.

MQLs are leads that marketing deems are qualified and ready for sales follow-up.

Marketing brings clicks to the website landing page and captures leads engaging with content. These people are initiating contact, but their level of interest is undetermined. As marketing engages with these leads and provides relevant information, these individuals can be scored based on the actions they take. These individuals become a Marketing Qualified Lead at the point they are deemed ready to be handed over to the sales development team.

SQLs are prospects that have been vetted to determine if there’s an interest to connect them to the next stage in the buying cycle, sometimes called the Discovery or Demo stage.

After the initial contact from the marketing catalyst, the sales development team continues the interaction and vets the customer for interest and capability to purchase. It’s called a Sales Qualified Lead once the contact is “qualified” as a viable prospect with problems that fit the solution offered by the seller.

Ideally, MQLs should convert smoothly into high quality SQLs, but this is usually not the case.

MQL vs SQL Example

Marketing has the idea to create an eBook that 10,000 people download for free. However, 5,000 of these people are not decision makers, and 4,500 of them do not have the money to purchase any services. This rather low MQL to SQL conversion rate of 5% puts the onus of change on the marketing department.

Marketing creates the same eBook, limits its distribution behind a paywall and an information grab, giving out the initial link only to management level and higher contacts from niche message boards. Only 1,000 people download the eBook now. However, sales drops the ball and converts only five of these customers. This 0.5% SQL to MQL factor should mean trouble for the sales department, not marketing.

Download our free marketing template!

So many businesses haven’t defined and differentiated between MQLs and SQLs because they don’t have the time, the information, or the experience needed to do it “right.” For this purpose, we have created a guide to help you define this internally.

Follow the checklists on the guide to understand what a marketing qualified lead looks like for YOUR company, and then determine how it differs from a sales qualified lead that your sales team will be excited about selling to.

Have questions? Check out our resource library for a huge selection of material to help you maximize your marketing success.


Make sure you download our Customer Journey Map Template or our  Template for Defining Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads