Home / Glossary / What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?

What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?

Article originally published in May 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in April 2024.

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Definition of a marketing qualified lead (MQL)

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a potential customer who has shown a higher level of interest and engagement in a company’s products or services, making them more likely to convert into a paying customer. MQLs are identified through various marketing efforts, such as content downloads, newsletter subscriptions, or website interactions, and are scored based on their likelihood to make a purchase. This scoring system helps marketers prioritize leads and focus their efforts on nurturing those with the highest potential for conversion, ultimately improving the efficiency of the sales process and increasing revenue.

An example of a marketing qualified lead (MQL)

John Smith, Marketing Manager at ABC Corporation, downloaded a whitepaper on “10 Strategies to Boost Your Company’s Growth” from Growth Method’s website, attended a webinar on “Maximizing ROI with Growth Method’s SaaS Solutions,” and has been actively engaging with Growth Method’s email campaigns. He has also visited the pricing page on Growth Method’s website multiple times in the past week.

How does a marketing qualified lead work?

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) works by identifying potential customers who have shown a certain level of interest in a company’s products or services and are deemed more likely to become paying customers. This is achieved through a combination of demographic information, online behavior, and engagement with marketing content. Marketers use lead scoring systems to assign points to leads based on these factors, and when a lead reaches a predetermined score, it is considered an MQL. This allows marketers to focus their efforts on nurturing these high-potential leads through targeted marketing campaigns, ultimately guiding them through the sales funnel and increasing the chances of conversion.

Expert opinions and perspectives

Here are how some of the world’s best marketing and growth professionals think about a marketing qualified lead (mql).

  • “A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence, often informed by closed-loop analytics.” – HubSpot
  • “Marketing Qualified Leads are the lifeblood of any successful marketing campaign. They are the prospects that have shown enough interest in your product or service to warrant further engagement.” – Neil Patel
  • “An MQL is a lead that has engaged with your marketing efforts and has a higher likelihood of becoming a customer than other leads. It’s important to focus on nurturing these leads to help them progress through the sales funnel.” – Ann Handley

Questions to ask yourself

As a modern growth marketing or agile marketing professional, ask yourself the following questions with regard to a marketing qualified lead (mql):

  1. Does this lead fit our ideal customer profile in terms of industry, company size, and role?
  2. Has the lead shown a high level of engagement with our content, such as downloading resources or attending webinars?
  3. Is the lead’s pain point or challenge aligned with the solutions our product or service offers?
  4. Has the lead demonstrated a clear intent to purchase or explore our offerings further, such as requesting a demo or pricing information?
  5. Do we have enough information about the lead to effectively personalize our marketing efforts and move them further down the sales funnel?

Additional reading

Here are some related articles and further reading around a marketing qualified lead (mql) that you may find helpful.

  1. What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?
  2. Marketing Qualified Leads: What They Are and How to Generate More
  3. The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
  4. What is a Marketing Qualified Lead? A Complete Guide
  5. What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?

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