MQL and SQL: Finally Coming Together Within an Inbound Marketing Strategy

by Mauricio Romero Mauricio Romero | Aug 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

There are many differences between traditional marketing (Outbound Marketing) and the new way of doing marketing (Inbound Marketing). This new kind of marketing takes advantage of the impulse that the new technologies already offer in order to paddle towards the expected destination, rather than against the current -with increasingly obsolete Outbound Marketing methods. 

Now, this change towards a new kind of marketing, implies a change in the methodology, practices and even in the concepts that are being used. It also implies a new kind of relationship:

  1. Between the sales and marketing teams (Which is what we are going to talk about in this blog post)
  2. With the clients (stay tuned!)

Communication between Marketing and Sales teams

In traditional marketing, sales and marketing teams work separately, almost as opponents: If something does not work in sales, it is the marketing area's fault, if the marketing area does not see results, the sales team must be doing it wrong...

Now, with Inbound Marketing, both teams have to work in a much closer way, they must both understand that, although their areas and practices are different, they have a common goal: to increase the number of sales.

Once this message is understood by both teams, the following steps are:

How to communicate?

You can not establish communication with someone who does not speak your language. If a word means something to me, different from what it means to you, we will have communication problems.

So we must begin by defining the terms and concepts with which we are going to communicate, so that we can understand each other better. We will start with the concepts of MQL and SQL.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Both terms specify -in their name- the area that they belong to yet, there is a "grey area" in which the passing from MQL to SQL needs to be defined since, although they are different concepts, from different areas, they are so related to each other that an MQL changes into an SQL at some point of the process and, it is about this moment of change, that we must be very specific, since many leads are lost in this gray area. So, one concept at a time:


It is a prospect that is judged closer to becoming a client than to other visitors.


A visitor might only read our web page's content once and never come back. He just looked for certain information and left without leaving any personal contact information behind, he just wasn't interested in anything else.

On the other hand, an MQL, not only has visited our web page several times, but has also arrived to one of our landing pages and has shared personal information with us. Some even ask to be contacted by the company to have a more personal conversation about our product or service. In short, an MQL has given steps towards getting closer to us.

Now, we must be aware of those visitors who, even though they have visited our page and probably even downloaded some of our content, they are not interested in buying our product or service at all. This is what we call a SUSPECT.

And why must we be aware of this difference and learn to tell one from the other? So we know which MQL is ready to be taken as an SQL and who is just wasting our resources and time (suspects).


Who can be taken as an SQL? The prospect that has been evaluated by the marketing area and, based on this evaluation, has been vetoed from this department, since he is considered ready to be assigned to the sales team. This two conditions are KEY for this momento of change:

  • Vetoed from Marketing Area
  • Considered ready for the Sales Department by Marketing Area

This two conditions mean that the prospect has been evaluated by the Marketing Department and that only then, with their approval, he can be assigned to the sales department, that is, become an SQL.

smarketing funnel DataBranding inbound marketing

It is at this moment that a prospect is evaluated as "properly educated", in other words, he has received all the information he needed about our service or product and he has somehow "raised his hand" to start a direct conversation with us.

The process of our prospect as an MQL takes longer, because he follows a whole learning process about our product or service while, an SQL process is much faster, since it goes straight to purchasing.

But, not so fast! before considering going straight to closing a sale, there is yet one more thing to do:

The first call, as an interdepartmental step. Although this first call that the client receives from us must be made by the sales team (under the marketing area approval), it is not meant to sell anything, it should rather be made to identify if:

  1. The prospect is indeed ready for a sale
  2. The prospect still needs more information
  3. It is not a prospect, it's a suspect in which case, we should not waste any more time on him. (He must want more and more from us, definitely interested on us, but not even considering to buy a thing).

Based on the information that we get on this call, we should:

  1. Talk about the deal and close it
  2. Give him more information before caring about selling anything
  3. Thank him for his interest and let him move on so we focus on those who are indeed interested in buying.

Successful Transaction

Usually, this phone call lets us know if the client wants to buy anything and, if our marketing strategy has indeed worked well (our client has all the information he needs), our sales representatives won't waste any time giving information, they can just go straight to closing the deal (our case n.1). In other words, if the marketing strategy has been good and the time to turn our MQL into SQL has been appropriate, it is very likely that this phone call will only be donde for the purchasing of our product or service.

The importance of a good MQL-SQL transition

Last, but not least, this MQL-SQL transition is a KEY MOMENT for the company, since it is usually at this point of the funnel where most sales (money) can be lost. So... one last key question:

How do I know my MQL is ready to be taken as an SQL?

Ideally, with a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Any decent Inbound Marketing software must have one so you can base your decision on the information that the CRM provides to you. How?

CRM gives a certain value or score to each client, so that you can detect on which side of the balance your client is: Marketing or Sales. The side on which your prospect is more inclined to gets recorded according to concrete and measurable data. Based on your CRM, you can observe on which side of the balance your prospect is and define if he:

  • Still needs more information (still a MQL)
  • Is ready to purchase our product or service (a SQL)

This is why, for a successful Inbound Marketing strategy, you need to have a good system that allows you to identify that moment in which a MQL becomes a SQL. It is not necessary to "sort of guess" when one turns into the other when you have the relevant information registered.

At DataBranding, we have this software and many other tools that will allow you to work more comprehensively on your marketing strategy.

Can you do it separately, with different software and tools? Sure you can! but if you want to work in a more simple and efficient way, then we recommend you ask for the support of an experienced company and use a one-and-only appropriate software, one that will cover all your inbound marketing needs. This option will allow you to reach your sales goals faster, because you will not waste time experimenting and putting all the parts together.


If you want to know more about us and the services that we offer, get in touch with us. We will be happy to:

  1. Answer all of your questions regarding Inbound Marketing and Databranding
  2. Walk with you throughout your marketing process


Book free Consultation 


Free Inbound Marketing Ebook

Subscribe Now

Additional Reading