What is MQL? Differences from SQL and their significance

What is MQL

MQL is a word that means “hot prospects created by the marketing department”. It is often used in marketing and sales activities. A similar term is SQL, and understanding SQL is essential when using MQL.

In this article, we will introduce MQL, the difference between MQL and SQL, as well as problems that are common with MQL and how to solve them.

What is MQL

MQL is an abbreviation for Marketing Qualified Lead, which is a term that refers to “good potential customers obtained through marketing activities”.

Based on the information obtained at events and exhibitions, we conduct e-mail magazines and seminars to nurture customers and increase their willingness to purchase. Customers are called MQL. It means “a customer who has a high degree of consideration and wants to be approached by sales on a priority basis” and “a customer who has completed preparations for sales contact”.

What is SQL

SQL is an abbreviation for Sales Qualified Lead, a term that refers to “prospect customers obtained through sales activities” and “prospect customers whose needs can be confirmed by inside sales and handed over to sales”. In Japanese, it is also called “inquiry”.

SQL is characterized by being based on inquiries and requests from customers. SQL refers to customers who have a clear desire and desire, and who have a strong desire to purchase, such as when the introduction time has been decided or planned to be introduced.

Differences between MQL and SQL

Both MQL and SQL are terms that refer to prospective customers, but MQL means “hot prospects created by the marketing department” and SQL means “prospects with issues to be addressed by sales”. The next stage after MQL is SQL.

First, the marketing department conducts “Nurturing” activities for prospective customers who have been identified as MQL candidates, using exhibitions, seminars, e-mails, blogs, etc., to increase their willingness to purchase.

At the same time, we generally use MA tools (marketing automation) to score the behavior of prospective customers and measure their willingness to purchase. Prospective customers who have acquired a certain score specified by the company are handed over to sales as MQL.

Then, inside sales approaches the MQL passed from the marketing department, and when it is handed over to sales, it becomes SQL.

Issues in creating MQL and SQL

Creating MQL and SQL requires collaboration between the marketing department and the sales department (and the IS department if there is one). However, many companies face the problem of poor collaboration.

This is because SQL is a customer-driven project, and while it can usually be closed by negotiating prices and adjusting delivery dates, MQL is a customer created through marketing activities, so there is no clear request, and it takes time to close. takes. SQL is easier to sell, so the sales department wants to prioritize SQL.
In addition, since the sales department emphasizes goal achievement, MQL may be avoided because it is difficult to handle numbers.

The marketing department wants to handle MQL, which is a hot lead.

Also, if the cooperation does not go well, the necessary customer information may not be inherited. As a sales person, if the necessary information is missing, it will be difficult to handle, and you will think, “I don’t want to deal with it.” The marketing department doesn’t know what kind of information sales are looking for, and it can fall into a vicious circle of “I’m glad I took over, but I don’t know what’s going on because there’s no progress report.”

In order to resolve such misunderstandings, it is important to manage lists with common definitions and share progress between the marketing and sales departments, and the cooperation of both departments is essential.

Utilization of marketing automation

It is common to use MA to eliminate misunderstandings between MQL and SQL. With the introduction of MA, sales and marketing departments will be able to manage leads under common conditions and approach them at the right time.

Here, we will introduce an example of using MA to eliminate misunderstandings between MQL and SQL.

Example ① When using scoring

With MA, you can create a common definition of hot leads and manage the list. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most common methods is to use MA scoring to score each action of a prospective customer and assign a total score of 0 points or more as a hot lead.

If you have marketing know-how and can properly analyze “what kind of actions users are likely to lead to orders”, you can make business negotiations creation activities considerably more efficient and automated by utilizing scoring.

Example 2: When following the ABM concept

Based on the concept of ABM (account-based marketing), there is also a method of determining whether a lead is a hot lead using a matrix of potential and status.

The good thing about this method is that if the status is high but the potential is low, the marketing department can handle it all at once, and vice versa, if the status is low but the potential is high, it can be assigned to the sales department. The collaboration between sales and marketing will be smoother, and the effect will be easier to measure.

Read Also: What is BDR?

Example 3. When defining a read that performed a specific action as a hot read

If there is an action such as requesting a quote that has a very high order rate when looking at the data so far, there is also a way to define the user who took that action as a hot lead. If your page doesn’t have a lot of content or you’re just getting started with your marketing efforts, this might be a good place to start.

Eliminate misunderstandings between departments by utilizing MA

By using MA, you can eliminate misunderstandings between departments and aim to maximize the number of business negotiations. However, general MA tools are often difficult to use due to their complicated functions and settings. So, first, let’s experience MA using free tools. BowNow is an MA tool that can be used free of charge with functions and screen design that are easy to use even for marketing beginners.


By creating MQL, sales can be done efficiently. Through marketing activities, the number of repeat customers increases because prospective customers have a certain amount of trust in the company.

In order to upgrade MQL to SQL and promote sales efficiently, collaboration between the marketing and sales departments is essential. However, even if you try to cooperate suddenly, it will not go well. So let’s use the MA tool and manage leads under common conditions.