It’s important to differentiate between potential customers qualified by marketing department (MQL) and customers qualified by the sales team (SQL) to understand your sales funnel and, perhaps most importantly, possible bottlenecks within it.
Marketing campaign brings clicks to the website and captures “potential customers” who interact with the content. These people initiate contact, but their level of interest is indeterminate. As marketing team engages with these potential customers, these people can be qualified based on the actions they take and on how much they interact with the content and / or visit the website. These people become an MQL when they are ready to be managed by the sales team.
After the initial contact, the sales team continues the interaction and examines the client’s interest and purchasing power. SQL usually is the next step of an MQL or it can come directly from a database. These are the prospects that have been examined and ensured to have an interest and purchasing power in the next stage, sometimes called demo stage.
Ideally, MQL should be effortlessly converted into high-quality SQL, but this is usually not the case.
Why is it important to conduct Lead scoring?
Consumers nowadays are growing more and more sophisticated, both in B2B and B2C segments, and thus the sales process to be kept up to date. With an increasingly enlarging funnel and more complex situations, it is critical that all those pieces have names and definitions to be able to measure and control them. Otherwise, it will be a disaster and money lost in management.
The purpose is to distinguish two types of MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads). There are two potential customers in this funnel. Those who can buy (after research and dialogue) and those who do not intend to buy at all.
The first MQLs are typically called “Prospects” and the latter ones – “Suspects”.
• Prospects: at the point when the prospects enter the funnel, the adjustment of the solution to their needs must be made. And if they meet all the requirements they become SQLs.
• Suspicious: a suspect will enter your funnel for any reason beyond a true purchase attempt – to download material, being bored, studying, competition research, etc.
The idea is to differentiate between those who might be ready for a purchase any time soon and those who waste your time.
Prospect, MQL and/or SQL differences summary
|Prospect||Person within the buyer target.
Shares the same location, sociodemographic characteristics, position and / or consumption habits that those of the target group.
(Marketing Qualified Lead)
|It is a Prospect who is also interested in your solution or service.
Has shown the interest clicking on ads, website or downloading material, but its potential “target buyer” quality has not been verified.
(Sales Qualified Lead)
|It is a Prospect qualified for the next step in the sales funnel.
Similar to an MQL, but in addition to having the interest he does have time, budget, authority and decision permit to evaluate the solution and / or service. It also shares the target group characteristics.
Also there is a way to express the differences in the table:
|Targeted consumption habits||X||X||X|
|Other targeted sociodemographic characteristics||X||X||X|
|Shown interest for the solution||–||X||X|
|Authority / decision making||–||–||X|