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Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a prospective or potential customer who has been determined to have a higher possibility of becoming a paying customer than the other leads in the sales funnel.

The central perspective to categorize SQLs is to prioritize and pay attention to sales efforts on prospective customers having a higher probability of turning in a paying customer. Sales teams foster to work closely with the marketing team to build the criteria for identifying sales-qualified leads (SQL). 

What is a sales qualified lead?

A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a potential customer who has passed the sales funnel and is deemed the potential customer. An SQL has displayed intent to buy products or services and has met specific requirements that determined them as a good fit. 

The criteria for selecting an SQL may vary depending on the organization and its sales strategies. Some aspects considered include market engagement, budget availability, and authority to make purchasing decisions.

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How to qualify a sales lead?

Some common steps to qualify a sales lead are:

  1. Identify your target customer persona
  2. Accumulate valuable data
  3. Ask qualifying questions
  4. Evaluate engagement level
  5. Evaluate financial resources and decision-making power
  6. Assign a score and establish a priority
  7. Sustain a nurturing and qualifying process
  1. Identify your target customer persona: Identify the characteristics and needs of your tagged customers.
  2. Accumulate valuable data: Gather information to assess their potential fit, which includes role, challenges, goal, and decision-making authority.
  3. Ask qualifying questions: Asking questions helps to understand the potential customer's needs, pain points, and preferences, which determines if the products and services provided by the organization align with the customer's requirements.
  4. Evaluate engagement level: Evaluate engagement level with the marketing assessment tools, checking email interaction or social media.
  5. Evaluate financial resources and decision-making power: Forecasting the lead's budget and decision-making authority. These insights can be gained through conversations about their budget and decision-making process.
  6. Assign a score and establish priority: Assigning scores to the leads based on how well the customer profile qualifies and aligns with the organization.
  7. Sustain a nurturing and qualifying process: Maintain a conversation with the potential leads who are not instantly ready to convert, and nurture them with relevant content that can help them to convert into paying customers.

Marketing qualified lead vs. sales qualified information: what is the difference?

The key difference between a qualified marketing lead (MQL) and a qualified sales lead (SQL) is that MQL is the leads that show potential interest but require nurturing by the marketing team as they may not be immediately ready to buy the product. While SQL leads that have been qualified by the sales team and are ready and more likely to convert into paying customers.

What does cost per sales qualified lead means?

Cost per sales qualified lead (CPSQL) is a metric used to measure the cost-effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts in forming qualified leads that are set for sales engagement.

The basic formula to calculate cost per sales qualified lead is:

Cost per sales qualified lead = Total marketing and sales expenses / Number of sales qualified leads

How to increase sales-qualified leads?

Increasing sales qualified leads requires a strategic approach that largely helps in optimizing lead generation and qualification process. Some effective ways are as follows:

  1. Identify your potential customer
  2. Optimize your website and landing pages timely
  3. Implementing marketing automation
  4. Maximize the impact of customer referrals and positive feedback
  1. Identify your potential customer: Identifying the characteristics and behavior of the target customers helps attract and qualify the leads to become SQLs.
  2. Optimize your website and landing pages timely: Make the websites and landing pages more informative and user-friendly, using calls to action to involve leads in conversations.
  3. Implementing marketing automation: Automation allows people to stay at the top and nurtures the leads until they are ready for sales engagement or turn into paying customers.
  4. Maximize the impact of customer referrals and positive feedback: This can be done by displaying customer testimonials and engaging with the customers, encouraging them to refer the business, or spreading word of mouth.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

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