What Is a Qualified Lead?

Qualified lead definition

A qualified lead is a lead who has shown interest in what a brand has to offer based on marketing & sales efforts or is, in turn, more likely to become a customer than other leads.

Often a qualified lead is a lead who has intentionally engaged with your brand by performing actions like voluntarily submitting contact information, opting into a program, adding e-commerce items to a shopping cart, downloading materials, or repeatedly visiting a website.

Simply put, a qualified lead is someone who could become a potential customer to you, based on criteria and identifying information that they have freely provided.

Types of qualified leads

There are two types of qualified leads: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Qualified Sales Leads (QSL).

A marketing qualified lead often represents the first level of qualification. A marketing qualified lead, or MQL, tends to be someone who has met the minimum criteria for you to continue marketing to them in the hopes of converting them down the funnel and passing them to sales for further evaluation.

In order to qualify someone as MQL, you need to first get some insights such as:

  • Company name,
  • Email address,
  • Industry or vertical,
  • A few personal questions to denote interest (e.g. pain points).

Once you’ve obtained sufficient information to qualify a lead for sales, they are considered Sales Qualified Leads. These SQLs generally receive a personalized (one-to-one) sales follow-up because they are considered to be quite valuable.

Sales Qualified Lead vs Marketing Qualified Lead

The difference between the two is that SQL is in the buying cycle, while the MQL is not ready for that buying stage just yet. Once you know what differentiates the two, you can practice lead scoring, for instance giving higher lead scores to those who visited high-value pages (sales guides), filled out high-value forms (direct sales demo requests), or viewed your site multiple times.

Ultimately, Qualified leads, either MQL or SQL, are important for your sales funnel, and they are an important metric when running any campaign. Tracking MQLs and SQLs also give your sales and marketing team insight into what’s working and what brings leads in and how likely they are to convert.

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