How to Find and Define a Marketing Qualified Lead

There’s no denying it, we all love getting those notifications when we’ve gained a new lead. When our inboxes *ding* and we see that another person has signed up for a whitepaper or requested a call back, we get giddy inside.

The question is, do we get “giddy” too soon? Are we sure that this person is a right fit for our products and services? To put it simply: are we treating all leads the same? Are they a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?

When you deliver a large quantity of leads over to sales you may be achieving your own targets, but the amount of time it takes for the sales team to contact those leads and qualify them can take a long time. Not to mention the low ROI and bottom feeders they have to deal with.

There’s a discord between Sales & Marketing, and the definition of an MQL is often the eye of the storm.

So what is a Marketing Qualified Lead, exactly?

In C-Suite Marketing, we talk about focusing on quality over quantity. It’s much better to get a lower volume of senior people that are desperate for you to solve their problems than it is to get hundreds of leads that are hard to sell to.

The ROI of a MQL is much, much higher. You weed out those who provide low transactional value and instead build relationships with C-Suite executives who can provide 6 to even 7 figures in sales pipeline.

This matters because once the definition of a marketing qualified lead for your company has been made then marketing and sales are halfway to becoming more aligned.

You can provide red hot leads to sales and they’ll end up loving you. The ROI of your efforts would have been given a severe boost and the growth of the company is heading up and to the right.

It’s important stuff, but the question is how do you go about defining what these perfect leads look like?

How to define a Marketing Qualified Lead

When you sit down to define what a MQL looks like, you’re going to have to collaborate with sales. The sales team in your company will likely have a lot of information and insight as to what the perfect client looks like. These can be backed up by your marketing analytics and you can come to an agreed conclusion.

Saying that, you’ll also come to a few disagreements as well. For example, to you a MQL may be someone who has downloaded an eBook, opened and clicked through on a series of emails and viewed the blog x amount of times.

To sales, however, this may not be a decision maker and sees it as wasted effort and a headache waiting to happen.

You can still use these sorts of insights to define a MQL. When you guide prospects down the funnel using marketing automation you can ask for their job title and challenges to build a better picture of who they are.

At what point does this person become qualified to be handed to sales? That’s the important question you need to answer and agree on. You can use demographics such as the ones we mentioned above, as well as basic attributes like location and company size, but also their activity.

If someone has looked at several case studies and viewed your product/service pages several times in the last few days, that’s a fairly good sign that they’re ready to talk to someone. These are the people you need to hand over to sales.

Once sales get their hands on these kinds of leads then they can focus their efforts and build a warmer relationship. They’ll have all the information they need to make a personalised introduction and keep aligned with what the prospect wants before they even get it from the prospects’ mouth.


Having your marketing qualified leads defined is important stuff. As I said above, it’s usually the first major stepping stone in keeping marketing and sales aligned and creating a more personalised sales process.

If you’re focusing on senior decision makers or the C-Suite then this is especially important. Although the sales cycle may be longer, the ROI you yield will be much higher.

Get your marketing and sales teams together and figure this out. See what works for both of you and discover what will generate the most revenue. This is a win-win situation which can only lead to more growth.

The Definitive Guide to C-Suite Marketing
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