The Journey of a Prospect from Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)


One of the most important steps in sales is determining the quality and the need of the prospect. Once you know what they want, it’s easier to sell them a solution. But not all prospects come to you with exact information. Some are still in the stage of contemplating the solution. In these times, nurturing them becomes crucial. Nurturing happens when you know they are a potential customer, but for some reason, are unable to buy your product. Such Prospects are called Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL).

This could be a prospect who registered for your webinar, downloaded a pdf, booked a free trial. Next, you need to know what their actual problem is and segment them into different buying stages. Once you know their buying stage and their actual problem, you can start sending them targeted content.

The Journey of a Prospect from Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

The journey of a prospect typically happens in three stages:

1) Information Qualified Leads (IQL)

2) Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

3) Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

1) Information Qualified Leads (IQL)

Information qualified leads are audiences who are unfamiliar with your brand. And even you are unaware of where they reside on the internet.

So first, you need to do audience research and see where they hang out on the internet, the type of content they consume, their pain points, and the solutions they need. Next, you must make contact and deliver valuable information that can make them aware of your business. Provide content that solves the problem and gives an overview of your business. The content should make them come back looking for ore solutions. That’s how you turn them into Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL).

2) Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead who has indicated an interest in your brand but is not yet ready to buy your product. They have the potential of becoming your customer in the future. At this stage, your company should have several interactions with the customer, demonstrating the usefulness of your business. The marketing qualified leads have struck a chord with your brand and wish to learn more about the product. This is where you should fulfill that curiosity with special offers and content.

3)Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

Sales Qualified Leads are almost ready to purchase your product and just waiting for minor details. Since they’ve spent time with your business, it creates a sense of trust with the brand. Establish a direct connection with the customer and aid them to make this final purchase. There is a chance of them turning away if this last step is not executed correctly. Establish a timeline to convert sales qualified leads into customers and promoters.

Five Tips to Move a Prospect from Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Once you know how to get leads thinking about your business, the next step is to make them take action. Your strategy should have specific steps as your customer move from MQL to SQL.

1) Research and Reach your Audience: This is the stage you reach out to your audience. Most customers have to hear your name repeatedly before they visit your website. Most leads will visit your website only after you build your presence on multiple sites. Here, your branding matters a lot.

2) Create Lead Magnets: Lead magnets are offered in exchange for customer information. Offer them to the audience when they land on your website. Each lead magnet can give you enough insights into the pain points of your customer. This develops a positive affinity towards your brand. Lead magnets are the way you convert an information-qualified lead into a marketing-qualified lead.

3) Qualify your Leads: Not all prospects that give you contact information are good. So before you invest resources to convert them into customers, set a lead qualifying process. Pre-qualify your prospects to determine whether they belong to an MQL or SQL group. A simple way to do this is by sending a confirmation email after they’ve requested a lead magnet. This additional step will filter out a lot of low-quality leads.

4)Analyze Funnel Exits: A Large chink of your audience will exit your funnel between an MQL and a SQL. As a marketer, you need to analyze this exit and see what can be fixed.

5)Optimize your Approach: On a regular basis, you need to revisit your funnel and see what percentage of marketing qualified leads are converting into sales qualified leads. If the percentage is low, see what can be done to fix the funnel. Customer engagement is key in converting most marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads.


Your lead qualification process will determine the success of your sales funnel. The journey from MQL to SQL is crucial for brands as they’ve already spent resources in acquiring leads. From a customer’s point of view, the transition should always be smooth and they should be able to trust your brand with each customer interaction.

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