What Should Your Sales Team Do with Marketing Qualified Leads?

Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are already aware of what a business provides. They show interest in their product and services, interact with the business, and are qualified as ‘warm leads’ who must be pushed toward the sales team as sales-qualified leads (SQLs).

When leads convert into marketing leads, it essentially means they are monitored, and based on their behavior, these leads are more likely to convert into customers than others. The ‘behavior’ includes interacting with the business’s website and social media posts, clicking on CTAs, subscribing to newsletters, or downloading website content.

The MQLS are nurtured and vetted by marketing teams. The marketing team assesses these leads and determines if they can become sales-qualified and be passed down to the sales team.

MQLs must be appropriately handled, or they will simply get lost in the sales funnel. Therefore, proper management and nurturing of MQLs become impertinent so they can be sent to the sales team for conversion into SQLs. 

This blog navigates the process of identifying and managing MQLs and preparing them for conversion into SQLs.

Establishing MQL criteria: Preparing “warm” leads to convert into “hot” leads

Establishing MQL criteria is critical since it helps B2B businesses maintain a well-determined standard and brings coordination and alignment between the marketing and sales team. 

It also helps the marketing team determine which type of marketing content works the best for leads that fall within the threshold of these criteria. This can be social media content, offers, or brand voice that will reach these targeted leads most efficiently. 

Most importantly, establishing well-defined criteria ensures that only the highest qualified leads are chosen as MQLs to be converted into SQLs. 

Here’s how to qualify marketing leads and establish MQL criteria: 

  •  Maintain consistent communication between the marketing and sales teams

Maintaining healthy communication between the marketing and sales teams is indispensable for the lead processing to work out. 

Cross-team communication is vital because this helps the marketing team align with the lead requirements of the sales team. This also helps them determine how to categorize leads. Also, without the input of the marketing teams, the sales team will lose access to much-needed MQLs. 

Seamless communications can be achieved through regular meetings to discuss the relationship between the sales and marketing teams and address how to improve this working relationship. 

  • Create lead definition with cross-team collaboration

The characteristics that make up an MQL should be discussed and agreed upon by the sales and marketing teams. 

Defining MQLs can be based on the specific firmographic traits necessary to qualify a lead as an MQL, the type of marketing content one engages with to make them an MQL, or the ideal pain points a marketing lead should have to make it an MQL. 

After these criteria are defined, point values can be assigned to different criteria so that the marketing team can be more organized when they pick out the highest-value MQLs and pass them on to the sales reps. 

  • Create, revisit, and revise lead definitions frequently

Over time, the defining characteristics of your leads are bound to evolve as your business does. Therefore, you must regularly revisit and revise the standard lead definitions to ensure you target the appropriate leads and narrow down on the ones with the highest conversion potential.

Again, the sales and marketing teams must be involved in this process. This can entail quarterly meetings where an assessment of buyer personas is aligned with the business to check for coordination between the two. 

  • Establish a regulated lead ranking/metrics system

Establishing a regulated lead ranking system is essential to maintain the standard criteria without any discrepancy.

The parameters that can be used to determine the rank of a lead can be the return on investment, the time they spend on the website, their click-through rate, or the time to convert. 

The lead metrics system can be regulated by implementing automated lead-scoring models that develop and nurture high-potential leads. It also cleanses leads and maintains standardizations to ensure all promotion efforts focus on the right leads.  

Optimizing and managing MQLs to transform into SQLs

After analyzing if MQLs are eligible to move onto the last phase of the sales funnel, B2B sales reps can manage and optimize MQLs to transform into SQLs and eventually close sales. 

However, before we move on to SQLs and closing sales, it is pertinent to address the confusion between the types of sales leads – sales accepted lead vs. sales qualified lead.

Before the MQLs are categorized as SQLs, they are called ‘sales accepted leads (SALs).’ Basically, SALs are the first stage of marketing qualifying leads in sales. These are leads that the sales team accepts from the marketing reps as they think these leads have conversion potential. The sales team nurtures these SALs to turn them into SQLs. 

Some practices and implementations that can optimize and manage MQLs to turn them into SQLs are: 

  • CRM tools to track lead behavior and progress

The MQLs need to be fed with the right content throughout their time in the sales funnel to push them to the end of the process. CRM tools are extremely useful in understanding where an MQL stands and its behavior. Based on this information, they can be given the appropriate treatment.

These tools are also required for storing critical demographic data of the leads in the B2B structure, such as information regarding the business requirements of the lead or their position in the business. It can also keep records like when they received marketing content or communication and how they responded. 

  • Nurture leads over time

Based on the CRM tools’ track record, the leads can be nurtured at the right time with the right content throughout their buying journey. The goal is to win the trust of the leads and be authoritative with content at this stage. 

The content may be educational or informative blog posts with CTAs or personalized emails that target their pain points specifically and offer solutions at offer prices. The content can be sent at scheduled times through CRM tools too. The timely interactions ensure that the lead is kept in the sales loop and not lost through gaps of cold communication. 

  • Prioritize leads using a queue-based system

Different leads stay at different points of the sales funnel at any given time. Therefore it is important to maintain a queue-based system that prioritizes the leads that have moved further down the funnel and are closer to the sales closing process. 

CRM tools and lead metric tools can come in handy to prioritize leads. Monitoring a lead’s behavior is a highly efficient way to understand a lead’s position in the sales funnel.

  • Providing personalized experience throughout the sales process

Once MQLs have been recognized, they need to be welcomed into the inner circle through personalized content that makes them feel special with the individual attention they receive.

They can be sent personalized emails, CTAs that ask them to sign up for company newsletters, and related blog posts that they might need based on their search and interest. 

The aim of every content or communication should be to bring these leads back to the website and influence them into buying the product or service your business offers. 


Leads marketing is an integral part of any business. Without filtering through leads, identifying MQLs, and nurturing them to become SQLs, a business’s promotional and marketing efforts could go to waste, leaving the sales team in a disadvantaged position. 

Marketboats Consulting, with tailored solutions for B2B marketing problems, can tackle such discrepancies. 

Our insight-rich lead generation system and intelligence identifies, nurtures, and prepares leads for conversion and eliminates unqualified leads. This helps you to focus your marketing efforts on the most promising leads, leading to more revenue for your business. 

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