Defining Your MQL: A Guide to Lead Conversion!

Laura Sievert
Laura Sievert Digital Content Strategist, SyneCore Technologies

Posted on March 24th 2014

Defining Your MQL: A Guide to Lead Conversion!

147701039 resized 600You want as many leads as you can get for your business, right? Wrong.

That is a mistake that many companies fall victim to. You shouldn’t want as many leads as you can get, but the best leads you can get, the ones that you are most likely to convert into sales. A crappy lead just wastes the sales team’s time.

So how do you ensure that your company is getting the highest quality leads that it can get? By defining your MQL, or marketing qualified lead, for you entire Smarketing team. In fact, that is one of the most important steps to unifying your sales and marketing teams.

Why Should You Define Your MQL?

Obviously you are in your industry to sell a product or service, or perhaps several, which you believe can help your potential customers in some way. That’s why you have a sales team, to show those new customers the benefits of what you offer. 

The marketing team’s goal is to bring in those leads for the sales team to convert. But by bringing in too many they can actually overwhelm the sales team. That may sound like a good problem to have, but in reality that will make the sales department less productive and less able to find the most suitable leads.

There are many leads out there who are either not really interested in what you have to offer, or just aren’t the right fit for your company. That is exactly why it is so vital to define what an MQL is for your business.

This definition will vary between companies, as everyone’s sales funnel is slightly different, but what matters is that your Smarketing team is all on the same page about what your MQL is and what to do with that information.

Setting your MQL improves efficiency of the sales team, and the company as a whole, by weeding out the leads that won’t be easily turned into sales and focusing on the ones that are most likely to convert.

How Do You Define Your MQL?

The most important thing to consider before defining your MQL is the data you have on your sales and marketing teams, that includes close rates, customers you have and have not gotten, leads you get, visitors you get to your website, etc. 

Once you have collected all the analytics you can on current leads and customers, consider the step-by-step process a lead will go to before converting into a sale. This may start with a website visit, then a demo or trial of your product, then perhaps downloading more information or signing up for a newsletter, anything that might get them further down the sales funnel.

Consider your close rate on each of those types of contact, for example if you look at the number of leads that downloaded a content piece you offered, take all the leads that did download it and then converted to clients and divide that by the total number of leads who downloaded. That is your close rate for that activity; complete this on every process a lead can go through.

Once you have determined the close rates for each activity, compare them to one another to see which lead conversion tactics gets the highest result. Many of these close rates will be rather low, but find the ones that rank higher; those will determine your MQL. Every lead taking that action will now be considered an MQL.

Make your MQL known among your entire Smarketing team so that each department knows where their focus should lie. Then the sales team will take the higher caliber leads and close more deals through less effort.


Many companies rely on their marketing departments to generate as many leads as they possibly can, and while that isn’t a bad strategy, it also isn’t the best one. The right way to bring in the most business for your company is to get fewer leads that are higher quality.

Your goal is to actually make the sales team slightly less productive, as in the leads they are getting are already a good fit so they don’t have to work too hard to close the deal. Define your MQL to find the right kind of customers for your company to focus on.

Laura Sievert

Laura Sievert

Digital Content Strategist, SyneCore Technologies

Laura is a long-time newspaper and magazine journalist turned Digital Content Manager for SyneCore Tech, an integrated digital marketing agency located in sometimes balmy, oft-times frigid, Minneapolis, Minnesota. She specializes in marketing blogs, but also churns out bodacious content for various other industries. Outside of her 9-5 life, she works as a freelance videographer, reads and rereads every Jane Austin novel out there, and actively advocates for the continued use of the Oxford comma. Feel free to follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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