Marketing

What Is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?

What Is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?
Written by Connie Harrington

What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)? A marketing qualified lead is a lead that has come in thanks to your marketing outreach. Your MQLs have taken some action — such as signing up for an email list or downloading content  — to let you know they have some interest in your company.

In the traditional sales cycle, an individual becomes an MQL when they move from the “awareness” phase to the “interest” stage. MQLs have taken the first step in letting you know that they may want to become a customer. They may be curious about your company and want to know more, but not ready to have a sales conversation yet.

In essence, an MQL is someone who gives you permission to market to and build a relationship with them. They’re receptive to hearing from you and may be attentive to your marketing offers or sales outreach. You should stay in touch with MQLs and aim to clarify their interests and where they are in the buying journey.

4 common uses of marketing qualified leads

  1. Clarifying which prospects have some interest in your company
  2. Identifying named leads for sales follow-up
  3. Segmenting interested leads for educational or nurturing campaigns
  4. Targeting higher-potential leads with promotions or discounts to drive conversions

5 examples of MQL actions

What’s the tipping point when a general lead becomes an MQL?  As mentioned before, an MQL has taken a step that lets you know they are interested in your company and what you have to offer. Here are five examples of actions that indicate you can identify a contact as an MQL.

1. Downloading marketing content

Many companies engage in content marketing to help nurture leads towards a sale. While some content, such as blog posts, is freely available, other content types may require people to supply an email address for access.

Being willing to give up email contact information is a good sign that a person may be interested in doing business with you. After all, no one wants an inbox cluttered with irrelevant emails.

2. Signing up for an email list

Sending out newsletters or promotions is another popular marketing tactic. When people willingly sign up for your email list, that is a clear indication that they are interested in your company. They may value what you have to say and want to hear more from you. Alternatively, they may want to buy something from you but want to learn more or get news about any special offers or discounts.

3. Requesting a product demo or signing up for a free trial

When considering purchases, many people like to “try before they buy.” This is true for everything from major purchases, like homes or cars, to software, fitness classes, subscriptions, and more. When someone asks for a demo or trial, they’re definitely interested in what you have to sell. They may still be researching options, but it’s clear they’re looking for what you offer.

4. Adding products to favorites, a wishlist, or a shopping cart

For online stores, shoppers indicate an interest in a product in several ways. If shoppers can like or “heart” an item in your shop, that shows they’ve seen something that has made them take notice. Another positive step is when a shopper adds an item to a wish list. That action clearly reveals that they want a certain item, but may be waiting to purchase it or be requesting it as a gift.

Shoppers may also place items into an online shopping cart to understand the full price with taxes and shipping, even if they’re not ready to buy. If you can send purchase reminders or special discounts to shoppers who add items to favorites, wishlists, or carts, you may be able to motivate a sale.

5. Contacting you to request information

When someone reaches out to you for information on your company, products, or services, they’re interested in what you have to offer. Depending on the nature of your business, you may receive contacts via online forms, mobile apps, lead generation sites, or phone calls. Always follow up on these requests and add people who ask for information to your list of MQLs.

It’s important to know what events should prompt a move from a generic lead category into MQL status for your business. Once you understand who your MQLs are, you can devise strategies to stay top of mind with those high-potential prospects and motivate them to become your customers.

What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)? MQLs have taken some action to let you know they're interested in your business. Find out more. #marketing #content marketing Click To Tweet

About the author

Connie Harrington

Connie Harrington is a content strategist with expertise spanning B2B technology, customer experience, consumer products, digital marketing, and healthcare. She has created content for brands of every scale from small startups to household name companies such as eBay, Cisco, and Purple.

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