MQL vs. SQL – How to Define Sales-Ready Leads

The difference between marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads

posted by Clara in January

If you work in marketing or sales, you probably hear quite often about getting more leads. The typical lead funnel starts at the top with new contacts and finishes with the closed deal. But between these steps, there are many other stages where the prospective customer has to be brought through first. In this blogpost, we will explain the differences between MQL and SQL and highlight how to deal with overlapping challenges.


Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

Marketing Qualified Leads are leads which came up during marketing campaigns. The majority of MQL nowadays results from online campaigns and organic traffic. Traditional marketing activities such as PR or TV spots can also result in inbound leads. Some marketing leads, on the other hand, are the results from outbound marketing campaigns. From all these activities, your company will hopefully get a high number of contact details. But not all of these so-called leads are qualified leads. Some people maybe find your product interesting but don’t have enough money to buy it. Others people maybe buy a too small number of licenses in best case which does not make them beneficial enough for follow-up calls. If the prospective client seems to be attractive for the marketing team, he will be categorized as MQL. After that, you either continue with some more marketing activities (e.g. customer mailings) or directly hand the lead over to your sales team.


  • The definition of MQL varies from company to company.
  • In contrast to SQL, MQL more often come from online campaigns.
  • Conversions should be validated before calling them MQL.


Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

Similar to MQL, Sales Qualified Leads are prospective customers which were qualified from the sales team as relevant and interested. The nature of the deal comes from one of the sales representatives which often means that SQL contacts have gone through direct interactions with somebody from your sales team. Often, the quality of SQL is higher than at MQL. However, the quantity could be much smaller. Especially for mid-sized, growing companies it is challenging to clearly differentiate between SQL and MQL. In the very beginning, most companies only have a small team of employees and do not differentiate between MQL and SQL. Every lead which comes indirectly goes to some sales representative and the MQL stage is skipped. When companies get larger, they must deal with some challenges due to the different background from MQL.


  • The quality of Sales Leads used to outperform Marketing Leads in the past.
  • Especially in Inbound Marketing, the quality gap between MQL and SQL becomes smaller.
  • SQL are more often judged on a personal level, without much data.


Turning MQL into SQL

The key challenge nowadays is to turn MQL into SQL without losing too many deals. Getting new contacts from online marketing activities is less challenging than getting the right contacts. The better the quality of the MQL, the easier it is to turn them into SQL and bring them into the next deal phase. The problem of modern marketing channels is that the quality of the leads often does not match the expectations of the sales team. This results in demands for more leads, while marketing cannot ensure to further increase the number of new leads. Hence, sales targets cannot be reached and the atmosphere between marketing and sales teams gets stressed. To relax the situation, it is necessary to improve the quality of your MQL so that more deals can be closed. Instead of reaching for more and more MQL, it is rather the quality of MQL which most companies should emphasize on.


Marketing Qualified Leads with the quality of Sales Leads

So how can this dilemma be solved? In best case, your MQL reach the same quality as SQL so that the handover can easier take place and less deals are lost between the two stages. By sharing presentations through Beamium in your website, blog, social media and marketing channels, you ensure to generate high-quality leads with much more background information. Beamium touches the white paper marketing idea and let’s your customers go online through your marketing presentations. These presentations can be embedded on your website, shared through your blog and social media or sent directly to the clients. By sharing information with Beamium, you can analyze the viewers’ interactions on every slide and figure out which parts of your marketing materials must be improved. Furthermore, Beamium enables you to capture leads with a customized lead form. To access the full information of the document, your viewers have to share their contacts with you at a defined page of the document.



This guarantees that you only get the leads of really interested people who already looked through the first slides of your sales presentation. If the prospective customer than shares his contacts, he often has a very high lead quality. What is more, the analytics of Beamium help you to analyze the level of interest of the prospective client as well as some more information. By handing over Beamium-leads to your sales team, you share much more information than simply the contacts. The sales representative directly knows which marketing materials the potential client already knows and where he can follow-up. Moreover, sales calls can be supported by presenting documents online to the client. After the end of the call, you will again be able to see which slides the client looked at when you finished the call. Sharing documents through Beamium boosts your sales process and helps modern marketing teams to gather leads with the best possible quality. With Beamium, the quality of SQL can be reached already at the very early stages of your sales pipeline which positively influences the conversion rate as well as the time for closing the deal.

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Author: Clara Clara2