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What is a Marketing qualified lead? Techniques of Generating MQL Criteria

The goal of every business marketing effort is to generate revenue.

While this implies that sales reps have to up their selling game to bring more money to the company, the fact is that a bulk of their work lies in their ability to create an effective sales strategy that will help them find and manage quality leads that can become customers.

This is where marketing qualified leads (MQLs) comes into play.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that has shown interest in a company through their interaction with the marketing content on social media, the company’s website, or on the internet.

MQLs are leads or prospective clients on the first line of the sales funnel – the early stage of a customer journey. 

To help you understand MQLs better, this blog will cover the following;

  • What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?
  • Difference between a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and MQLs
  • Importance of Lead Scoring in marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Criteria of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  • How to generate Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
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What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect that a marketing team deems worthy of becoming a prospective customer based on their engagement with the business’s marketing assets, for example, social media content and website.

Usually, these prospects would have to meet the pre-defined MQL values – behavioral, demographic, and firmographic attributes.

MQLs shows salespeople qualified leads that are more likely to become a customer compared to other leads.

Since not all leads are the same, the marketing and sales teams must work together to create a marketing qualified lead (MQLs) criteria to increase a marketing qualified lead success rate. Also, check out the guides, B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.

Samples of MQL Actions

  • Download your software demos, ebooks, guides, or trial software.
  • Click on your google or social media ads.
  • Fill out contact forms on your website.
  • Subscribe/sign up for your newsletters or mailing list.
  • Frequently visits your company’s website.
  • Engages on your social media posts – Like, comment, or send DMs regularly.
  • Calls your sales reps with inquiries.
  • Discusses or contributes to discussions about your product or industry on forums.

Importance of Lead Scoring in Marketing Qualified Leads

 what is a marketing qualified lead

Lead scoring is a technique used by B2B companies to identify quality leads from unqualified leads.

Most marketers use a lead scoring system to assign point values necessary for moving pre-qualified leads (prospective clients) from MQLs to SQLs. Lead scoring helps the marketing reps to develop an ideal customer profile (ICP) to separate promising leads from low-quality leads.

Difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

A sales qualified lead is a prospect that has indicated enough interest and engagement with your business – commenting on your social media or blog post, sending you an email inquiry, or calling your reps for more information and are considering making a purchase.

Sales qualified leads must have been vetted and integrated into the sales process. Subsequently, a sales representative will create and send a sales pitch and continuously follow up with the qualified leads.

An MQL, on the other hand, has only engaged or shown interest in the company with no clear indication of purchase. Marketing qualified leads are passive prospects while sales qualified leads are active potential customers.

The main difference between a sales qualified lead (SQL) and a Marketing qualified lead (MQL) is that an SQL is a prospective customer that is ready to buy from you. Meanwhile, an MQL could only be interested in a particular aspect of your brand and might not necessarily make a purchase. Check out the full details about, MQL vs SQL.

Criteria of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

 marketing qualified lead definition

MQL criteria guide the marketing team’s lead generation and lead qualification process. It shares semblance with buyer personas.

MQL criteria improve the synergy between the marketing and sales team – helping the marketing team build the highest quality leads and ensuring that the sales team is targeting their sales effort to the right channel.

It helps the marketing and sales team create the right content for qualified leads.

An inclusive, well-coordinated, and goal-oriented MQL criteria create a win-win situation for both the marketing and sales teams.

Techniques for Creating a Marketing Qualified Lead Criteria

1. Effective Communication and Functional Relationships between the Sales and Marketing Teams

The success of MQL criteria lies in the ability of two teams to work and agree on many things.

In most B2B companies, the sales team and marketing department collaborate to manage lead generation and qualification to achieve their departmental goals faster.

As a result of this, sales reps and marketing leaders have to work on building and maintaining a working relationship to enable smooth collation, qualification, and transfer of leads.

Consider setting a regular meeting schedule where both teams can review the existing marketing efforts, identify the need for more resources, and generate action plans to create your business MQLs.

Importantly, an MQL success lies in the successful co-existence of the sales and marketing departments.

2. Determine the Leads Qualification metrics

Salespeople and marketing representatives must work together to create lead-defining attributes, parameters, or conditions – characteristics or traits to qualify a prospect as an MQL. 

Similar to buyer personas, an MQL lead definition parameters could be;

  • Their pain points or challenges.
  • Their firmographic or demographic data.
  • Their most engaging marketing content and touchpoints – the content or platform they engage with the most.

3. Examine the Historical behavior of Previous Prospects

To create the criteria, you might want to check your existing customers’ journey and buying behavior.

Consider important information like,

  •  What do your past prospects and customers do when they are ready to buy from you? 
  • How do they engage with your brand? 
  • How long did it take to turn them into a customer?

4. Reach out to clients to get their Honest Feedback

Consider getting your customer feedback on the factors or activities that influenced their purchase decision when creating your criteria for MQLs.

For example, you can ask your clients questions like;

  • What did they like or not like about the sales outreach?
  • How did they find out about your brand – what platforms or marketing content resonated with them.
  • What external factors influence their decision?

How to generate Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

For sales representatives and marketers to get more revenue, they need to create tactics to generate high-quality leads that will add to their existing customer base. Consider the following methods of generating MQLs,

1. Use Content Marketing

An effective content marketing strategy can help the marketing team reach out to as many customers as you want. There are so many digital platforms available for customers out there, so there is no telling which platform they will learn about your product or service.

Your content assets can include – Case studies and testimonials, videos and webinars, podcasts, guides, whitepapers, and other valuable content.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website web pages to be visible on search engines. The core goal of SEO is to boost traffic to your website.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) on the other hand, is the promotion of your website via digital ads to improve its visibility and web traffic.

Investing in this SEO/SEM will help widen your reach and increase your web traffic. The more people find you online and visit your website, the higher your chance of generating leads and moving them to the next stage.

Effective use of SEO/SEM can get you a high-quality lead when you do it well.

3. Social Media Channel

As explained throughout this article, social media is your best friend when it comes to lead generation. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin can help you find a potential customer interested in your brand.

Social media helps you not to waste time on the wrong clients. Instead, you can find out your client’s interests and intensify your marketing efforts to generate more leads.

4. Organizing Events

Another effective means of generating leads is by organizing events like in-person conferences and trade shows depending on your budget and company size. You can invite potential customers to your event and have your sales team build connections with the prospects in person.

You can add the information or contacts you get from events to your MQL list.

In a Nutshell

You must understand that MQLs are not invalid or useless but are simply indifferent leads that require more intense and targeted marketing and sales efforts to become SQLs. For Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to become paying customers, the sales and marketing need to align their goals and develop marketing and sales strategies that would push the MQLs to make a purchase decision faster.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) FAQs

 marketing qualified lead vs sales qualified lead

1. What is the difference between MQL, SAL, and SQL?

An MQL is a prospective customer that has indicated an interest in a company’s product or services, while a SAL is an MQL that the sales team accepts from the marketing team for follow-up. SQL, on the other hand, is a SAL that has met the sales requirements of the sales team – is capable of making sales.

2. Who needs an MQL?

Every income generation organization needs to identify its MQLs to boost sales and grow its customer base. Check out some sales quotes and keep motivating your sales team.