What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?

What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect who has shown interest in a company’s products or services and whose engagement with the organization suggests they may be ready to move further down the sales funnel. These leads have been pre-qualified by marketing efforts and are more likely to become paying customers than a typical lead.

Why is important to measure marketing qualified leads?

Measuring MQLs is critical to the success of a B2B marketing strategy. By tracking the number of MQLs generated, marketing teams can determine how successful their lead generation efforts are and adjust campaigns accordingly. 

For example, if a particular campaign focusing on SEO content marketing generates a higher percentage of MQLs than another campaign using social media marketing, the team can allocate more resources to SEO content marketing efforts to improve keyword research or enhance content quality to boost overall results.

MQLs provide a more accurate measurement of lead quality than raw lead counts because they have been filtered and are more likely to convert. Measuring MQLs also helps align marketing and sales teams. By having a shared understanding of what constitutes a marketing qualified lead, both teams can collaborate more effectively in moving these leads through the sales funnel. This common goal allows the marketing team to generate high quality leads that meet specific criteria while the sales team can tailor their outreach and follow-up strategies to address the unique needs of these leads. 

How to calculate marketing qualified leads 

Calculating MQLs requires a clear definition of what constitutes an MQL, which may vary by company or industry. Generally, an MQL is someone who has engaged with the brand in a meaningful way and has expressed interest in the company’s products or services. 

Common MQL criteria include:

  • Downloading a white paper or e-book
  • Requesting a demo or consultation
  • Registering for a webinar
  • Subscribing to a newsletter

You can also consider demographic and firmographic information, such as job title, company size or industry. Marketers should track the number of leads that meet these criteria and qualify as MQLs. This number can then be compared against other metrics, such as the number of raw leads generated, to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

☝️ Learn how creating your ideal customer profile (ICP) can improve the quality of your MQLs.

Which role within the marketing team is responsible to track qualified leads?

The role responsible for MQLs typically falls under the domain of the demand generation or lead generation manager. The role may be titled differently depending on the organization, but the focus remains the same: to generate and nurture leads that meet the criteria of an MQL.

The role of the demand generation or lead generation manager includes:

  • Developing and executing lead generation campaigns
  • Defining and refining the buyer persona and MQL criteria
  • Nurturing leads to move them down the buying cycle to become sales qualified leads (SQLs)

How to nurture qualified leads in marketing

To increase the number of MQLs generated, marketers should focus on developing effective lead generation strategies. Here are our top three ways to attack and nurture qualified leads in marketing:

  1. Develop high quality content: Create content that addresses the pain points of your target audience and is optimized for search engines. This can include blog posts, e-books, webinars and whitepapers. Discover SEO writing best practices in our detailed guide for beginners. 
  2. Leverage gated content: A webpage that requires visitors to provide their contact information in exchange for access to the content. This approach effectively captures leads that are more likely to become MQLs. Find out the best practices for building a digital marketing resource center.
  3. Use targeted advertising: This tactic can help to reach the right audience with relevant messages. You can fine tune your targeting criteria on platforms like Google Ads and ensure your ads resonate with potential MQLs, maximizing the return on your advertising investment.

☝️It’s not just MQLs. Discover how we can help you generate more sales qualified leads too. 

The top frequently asked questions on MQLs 

What is the difference between marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads (MQL vs SQL)?

MQLs are prospects who have shown interest in a company’s products or services and have taken actions that indicate they are likely to become customers. SQLs are MQLs that have been qualified further by a sales team and are deemed more likely to convert into paying customers.

What are the key metrics to track when measuring marketing qualified leads?

Key metrics to track when measuring MQLs include the number of MQLs generated, the conversion rate from MQL to SQL and the time it takes for MQLs to move through the sales funnel. Other metrics to consider may include lead to opportunity ratio, cost per MQL and MQL to customer conversion rate.

How can I optimize my lead nurturing program to generate more marketing qualified leads?

To optimize your lead nurturing program to generate more MQLs, it is important to create relevant content that speaks to the needs of your target audience and to segment your leads based on factors such as demographics, behavior and buying stage.  MQL generation can also be improved by using marketing automation tools to track engagement, personalize communications and analyze data to highlight the most effective lead nurturing tactics.

What is the role of social media in generating marketing qualified leads?

Social media can be a valuable channel for generating MQLs, as it provides an opportunity to reach a large audience and engage with them on a more personal level. To effectively leverage social media for lead generation, it’s crucial to produce targeted and captivating content that addresses your target audience’s needs. Additionally, consider running paid ads on social media platforms to broaden your reach and actively engage with your followers to cultivate relationships and foster trust.For B2B marketing, your choice of social media platform also matters. According to a report by Social Media Examiner, LinkedIn was selected as the most important social media platform by 48% of respondents, with Facebook coming in second at 28%. Analyzing data to understand which social media channels are generating the most qualified leads can help optimize your marketing strategy for lead generation.

Productive shop team

Productive Shop Team

With diverse backgrounds and a shared enthusiasm for innovation and growth strategies, our passionate team of consultants brings together a wealth of experience and skills to meet the marketing and lead generation needs of B2B SaaS startups. Our seasoned writers, SEO specialists, project managers, designers and developers are always eager to share their knowledge and drive thought-provoking conversations.

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