Differentiating Your Leads: MQLs, SQLs, and Ordinary Prospects

Differentiating Your Leads: MQLs, SQLs, and Ordinary Prospects

As a B2B business owner, acquiring new leads is a tall order all on its own. After you obtain lead contact data, you’ll be tasked with differentiating between these prospects. Having an effective lead differentiation strategy is essential when you want to optimally allocate your sales and marketing resources.

Below, Insights ABM’s lead gen digital marketing team has broken down some of the primary types of prospects you might encounter, including MQLs, SQLs, and your ordinary, run-of-the-mill prospects. Implement these lead identifiers to qualify your prospects and improve your conversion rates.

What is an Ordinary Prospect?

According to BigCommerce, a lead is an entity that “has shown an interest in your company’s products or services.” In essence, this person or business has expressed some desire to learn more about your B2B organization. They might have displayed this intrigue by completing a contact form, visiting your site, or signing up for a monthly newsletter.

While any individual who has expressed interest in your services could technically be classified as a “lead,” many of them are not yet ready to make a purchase. 

There are several reasons why this may be the case. Some leads simply require additional nurturing, which we will discuss in more detail below. Others are just not a good fit for your company’s products or services.

When you encounter a prospect that has virtually no chance of converting, it is important to identify these entities. You can avoid allocating priority sales resources to these “ordinary prospects” and instead focus your energy on qualified leads.

Primary Types of Qualified Leads

Unlike a standard prospect, a qualified lead is a potential client that could legitimately benefit from your services. These leads can be classified in many different ways. However, the most popular method involves grouping them into categories like market-qualified leads (MQLs) or sales qualified leads (SQLs).

What Constitutes an MQL?

The majority of your prospective clients will fall into the category of market-qualified leads. These are accounts that have expressed a clear interest in your products or services and have the potential to make a purchase. 

A prospect may be classified as an MQL if they have engaged in certain behaviors, such as:

  • Signed up for a free trial
  • Requested a demo
  • Added items to their cart
  • Completed a contact form
  • Subscribed to your newsletter or mailing list
  • Asked questions via messenger or used your chatbot software

MQLs are leads that are not quite ready to make a purchase, but likely will commit with a little extra encouragement. These leads should be targeted with blogs, paid ads, and marketing content that highlights the value of working with your company. 

With the right motivation, MQLs can easily be converted into recurring clients.

SQLs: Your Most Valuable Leads

SQLs are the most valuable type of lead that you will encounter. This class of lead is ready to make a purchase and should be connected with your sales staff as quickly as possible. 

SQLs have exhibited similar behaviors as MQLs, but they have done so with greater frequency or urgency. For instance, an SQL may have downloaded a trial product and requested more info via a contact form.

When you identify a prospect as an SQL, it is vital to reach out to them quickly. Delaying contact can allow their enthusiasm to wane, which means that it will be harder for your sales team to make a deal happen.

Lead Gen Digital Marketing Solutions that Convert

Now that you have a more complete understanding of the different lead types, you can begin refining your own prospect-gathering strategies. 

If you are not sure where to begin, partnering with a lead gen digital marketing agency is a great place to start. By working with a firm like Insights ABM, you can optimize your lead generation strategy and enhance profitability. 

We offer a full array of solutions, including:

No matter what resources you need to grow your B2B business, Insights ABM can deliver. Contact us today and let’s make things happen for your brand! 

Joe Cantu

Joe is a digital marketing strategist and media buying/planning leader with 13+ years of expertise in marketing strategy and program management, omnichannel campaign delivery, brand building, data analytics, and customer experience/UX optimization. He has helped drive growth for industry-leading clients, including F500/F100 firms.