blog article

How to determine whether your B2B lead is an MQL or SQL?


Is your new lead ready for a sales meeting or does it need more time? Correctly identifying a lead is an important part of B2B lead generation.

A prospect is a person who may be interested in the type of product or service that your company offers. If this person shows an interest in your specific company, we will call him or her a lead. Before sending out the sales pitch, it is important to determine whether this lead is an MQL or SQL.

In this blog we explain the difference between an MQL vs SQL and why it is important to correctly identify leads.


At GlobalClickz we generate B2B leads through the inbound marketing methodology. But it is of course also possible in many other ways. No matter how you generate leads, it is always important to identify your new lead as MQL or SQL, so that you can target your further communication accordingly.

Buyers journey

To map the differences between an MQL and SQL, it is good to take a look at the buyers journey that new customers go through.

Buyers Journey

  1. When a person becomes aware of a problem, the lead is in the awareness stage.
  2. When the lead start looking for possible answers and solutions, your lead is in the consideration stage.
  3. Finally, the lead enters the decision stage, where comparison starts of the discovered different solutions providers and makes a choice.


What is an MQL?

An MQL is a Marketing Qualified Lead. This lead is in the awareness or consideration stage: there may be a need for the product or service that your company offers, but the lead is not yet ready for purchase.

That does not mean that the lead does not want any contact with companies that offer a solution for their pinpoint or challenge? No, the lead is just not yet ready to make a decision. A conversation with your sales department in this phase often has the opposite effect.

White paper fact: 70% of a customer's customer journey takes place before someone has contact with the sales department. 59% of buyers even prefer not to contact a sales department at all.

MQL Example:

If you need a flexible industrial connection between two parts but you have no idea how, you are an MQL. You are then interested in marketing messages to compare different types of connections, qualities and solutions. But when a salesperson asks you in this phase "Do you want our best adhesive?” You will quickly drop out. After all, you are not yet in the decision phase and don’t know what you exactly need yet.

Business man holding smartphone with chart symbols concept

What is an SQL?

An SQL is a Sales Qualified Lead, a lead that is ready for a sales meeting. This lead is in the decision stage of the buyers journey and is interested in the product or service that your company offers and wants information about the price and conditions.

This lead wants contact and wants to talk about a possible purchase or cooperation. He is ready to make his decision. His choice now depends on a number of preconditions such as price, delivery times and service. He coordinates these matters with the person with whom he will close the deal: your sales department.

SQL Example:

You have decided to use hook & loop with an adhesive as flexible connection and you selected two vendors. However you have some additional questions about the quality, durability and adhesive properties, so you decide to contact both and then choose the one who matches your requirements. In this scenario you are in the decision phase and therefore an SQL.

Businessman shaking hands with a colleague in the office

When does an MQL become an SQL?

People usually want to map out their options and compare them before making a purchase. This is especially true in B2B (where the user of a product or service is often not the decision maker) and with more expensive purchases.

In most cases, a lead is therefore first an MQL and then an SQL.

How do I determine whether my lead is an MQL or SQL?

There are ways online to gain insight into whether a lead is an MQL or SQL. For example, we use software from Hubspot, which we use to analyse how our leads navigate through the website.

If we see that a person has filled in the contact form at the bottom of a service page, then we can conclude that this lead is interested in this specific service and can respond to this in a sales conversation.

But if a new lead has requested one of our whitepapers, it is not advisable to schedule a sales meeting immediately. In this case it is better to start a conversation with this new lead: why has this person downloaded this piece of content, for which problems is the lead looking for a solution, and so on.

In this way, an SQL can be made from an MQL through personal contact.

Automate lead generation

Online lead generation can be automated to a large extent through inbound marketing. Your sales department can find out by means of conversations with MQLs whether a sales conversation is desirable. This has proven to be very effective!

Sounds interesting? Then contact us or download our free whitepaper.


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