What is the difference between MQL and SQL?

It’s not uncommon for marketing and sales departments to create chasms when handing off leads. The lead extraction method is unclear, and it seems that there are many cases where there is a gap in lead recognition between the marketing department and the sales department.

In order to solve such problems, it is essential to understand MQL and SQL introduced this time. With a better understanding of MQL and SQL, marketing and sales can work together to select leads that need more focus .

This time, I will explain the difference between MQL and SQL and their respective characteristics. We will also introduce problems that are likely to occur when extracting MQL / SQL and their solutions. If you are worried about the collaboration between marketing and sales, please refer to it.


Table of Contents

What is “MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)”?

What is the meaning and definition of "MQL"?

MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) refers to prospective customers who should be handed over to the sales department among the leads created by marketing activities, that is, “leads judged to have high potential” .

In marketing activities, we provide useful information through e-mail distribution and seminars in order to increase interest in leads generated by advertisement inflows and material downloads. As a result, it can be judged that prospective customers who show a certain level of interest as a service that is suitable for solving problems and who respond that they want to hear from you are MQL.

Differences between MQL and SQL

SQL is a word similar to MQL. SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) is a prospect who is qualified to be followed by the sales department after further scrutinizing the MQL handed over from the marketing department .

MQLs carefully examined by the marketing department are handed over to the sales department and inside sales department. After that, inside sales personnel and others confirm by phone that the lead is a qualified lead (a prospective customer who shows a strong interest in the company’s products) and determine whether it is SQL or not.

Importance of MQL in sales activities

MQL does not only contribute to increasing sales efficiently. It is an important first step in building a long-lasting relationship between a company and its customers .

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of MQL.

Leads to more efficient sales activities

If you can extract MQL accurately, you can spend time only on prospective leads in sales activities. In other words, following the steps of MQL extraction will improve sales efficiency .

In sales, you can blindly approach every prospective customer, but this method does not yield the desired results. It is inefficient to approach random prospects with limited resources.

On the other hand, if you can extract MQL accurately, you can approach it after understanding the tendency of prospective customers to some extent. One of the benefits is that you can expect an improvement in the closing rate as a result of the increase in sales efficiency.

Focus on building better relationships with prospects

It can be said that MQL is a lead with a high probability of conversion, that is, a prospect who is likely to need your product. When such prospective customers who should be approached preferentially are highlighted, it is possible to sort out “leads that should be spent (requires the company’s services)” and “leads that should not be spent (does not require the company’s services)”. , you will have more time to communicate with prospective customers (business negotiations, interviews, etc.). In other words, you will be able to deepen your relationship with prospective customers.

Problems and solutions that tend to occur in the operation of MQL/SQL

Problems and solutions that tend to occur in the operation of MQL/SQL

When creating MQL and SQL, separate issues may be exposed in the marketing department and the sales department, creating a gap between departments. By clarifying the issues expected in each department and promoting mutual cooperation between departments, such problems can be prevented.

What are the issues that tend to occur when using MQL/SQL?

First of all, I will explain the problems that tend to occur in the marketing and sales departments.

Marketing department side

In the marketing department, even if MQL is created, it is difficult to understand whether the information leads to sales. there are cases where itIf so, we will have the problem of not improving the accuracy when creating MQL again.

Another issue is that the MQL that has been handed over is not followed up by the sales department . The longer it takes to extract the MQL, the more likely the prospect will be demotivated when they are not followed.

Sales department side

When the marketing department encounters the above issues, it is not necessarily the sales department’s fault. Just as your marketing department is plagued with challenges, your sales department can be frustrated with unsuccessful leads, unclear past communication history , and more.

These issues generally arise when there is a lack of coordination between departments. However, it is difficult to strengthen cooperation between departments immediately from the next day, so it is better to borrow the power of tools that support strengthening cooperation .

how to solve it?

Here we will discuss three solutions:

  • Information sharing between departments using CRM
  • Lead scoring with MA
  • Collaboration between departments using ABM

Information sharing between departments using CRM tools

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) refers to the concept of “aggregating and managing information on interactions with customers”. As a CRM tool, there is a system that centrally manages data that shows the relationship with customers, such as the approach history of sales representatives to prospective customers and the purchase history of customers, and is also called a “customer management system.”

Since the CRM tool has a database of information not only on customers but also on prospective customers who have been approached in the past, the marketing and sales departments can share information on past communication history to improve cooperation between departments. You can strengthen it.

Lead scoring with MA tools

By making full use of the scoring installed in the MA (marketing automation) tool, problems that occur between departments can be suppressed.

Scoring is a method of extracting high-probability leads from a large amount of lead information accumulated in-house. Each lead is scored based on their activity history, such as website visits and whitepaper downloads.

In other words, scoring can create more accurate MQLs . If the quality of MQL improves, it will lead to the resolution of problems such as “the quality of leads sent from the marketing department is low”.

Scoring is explained in detail in the following article. If you are interested, please take a look.

Collaboration between departments using ABM

ABM (Accout-Based Marketing) concentrates sales and marketing resources on companies and organizations (accounts) with high priority for sales activities, deepens the needs of each account, and promotes an approach that is close to each company. Strategy.

ABM is based on the sharing of the same information by the marketing and sales departments, from the extraction of approach destinations with high order probability to follow-up. Since sales activities are always performed while sharing the same lead information between departments , gaps between departments in MQL / SQL are less likely to occur.

In addition, if you use the products provided by our company HubSpot (HubSpot CRM (free), Marketing Hub, Sales Hub), it will be easier to achieve smooth collaboration between the marketing and sales departments centered on CRM . Since the ABM function is also implemented, it is possible to approach closer to the other party. If you are interested, please feel free to try it from the free CRM tool first.
Take advantage of HubSpot's "Lifecycle Stages"

To gain a deeper understanding of MQL and SQL, it is important to first understand the marketing and sales processes . At HubSpot, we define the process from a potential customer to becoming a fan of your company with the following lifecycle stages:

  1. Subscriber: A person who consents to receive periodic information by e-mail, etc.
  2. Lead: A person who is in the stage after receiving information after some interaction
  3. MQL: Prospects determined to be transferable from the marketing department to the sales department
  4. SQL: Prospects judged by the sales department to have a high probability of receiving orders
  5. Opportunities: Prospects for whom the sales department conducts field sales
  6. Customer: A customer with at least one completed transaction
  7. Evangelist: Customers who have deepened relationships and become fans of your company

Once you understand what stage your target is currently at, carry out optimal sales activities and marketing.

Strengthen inter-departmental cooperation and provide optimal approaches to prospective customers

An understanding of MQL and SQL is essential for identifying valuable leads and increasing sales efficiency.

If the quality of MQL improves, prospective customers will be able to spend more time on business negotiations that will lead to solving their own problems, which will improve their satisfaction. In addition, since the company can negotiate business only with leads who have a certain level of willingness to buy, it is expected to improve the efficiency of sales activities and the value provided to leads.

In order to achieve the above results, collaboration between the marketing and sales departments is essential. Let’s take advantage of the CRM, MA, and ABM we talked about this time and take an efficient approach that goes beyond the boundaries between departments.

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