A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect already in your lead-tracking system, who has expressed interest in buying your product and passes a set of lead qualifications in order to progress further down the funnel. This lead definition is determined by the specific qualification, characteristics, or standards determined by marketing. Marketing qualified lead definitions are typically used by B2B companies to identify a stage in the buyer's journey.
Qualifications can be anything that fit your buyer persona, or someone who will be most likely to buy a product or service.
For example, in order to become a marketing qualified lead a prospective customer may have to have a certain number of employees in their company, be in a certain vertical or industry, or have a certain revenue.
MQLs don't always come from leads at the top of the marketing funnel. Some prospects already meet the standards required to become a marketing qualified lead when they enter the funnel.
Why does a marketing qualified lead matter to marketers?
A marketing qualified lead is an early stage qualification that assists companies in sifting through the vast number of potential buyers.
However, an MQL is by no means someone who is guaranteed to buy your product. In fact, marketers may find that after further exploration that several of your MQLs are not good fits for your product and your sales team should waste no time on them.
Marketers can prove their impact on marketing qualified leads and revenue through marketing attribution.