What is a Sales Qualified Lead?
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is the fourth of six stages in a customer's buying journey. It happens to be both one of the most important and most difficult stages for a company to define because it is here that the marketing team hands over a lead to the sales team.
So when a lead becomes an SQL, it's the sales team's responsibility to work on that lead and get them further down the sales funnel. Leads that are in the SQL phase are in the discovery phase of the sales process. Therefore, they have not yet researched your company well enough to know if your product or solution is the right one.
Therefore, in this part of the phase, both parties need to gather more information about each other before moving on to an actual sales conversation. The customer to research the company's product or service, and the salesperson to offer the customer the best product or solution to meet their needs.
Typically, a meeting is involved before a lead becomes an SQL. This meeting can either be a demonstration of a product or simply a conversation about what products or solutions the company can offer the customer. A lead only becomes an SQL if during this conversation the customer shows interest in continuing the sales process and potentially making a purchase. Of course, this process may look different from company to company.
A Sales Qualified Lead can of course be defined differently depending on the company. This is because leads for different products and services mature differently, and therefore need to be treated differently. Thus, companies define SQLs differently, as there may be a difference in when a company considers a lead to be interested and a potential good match.
Sales Qualified Lead - a good lead
Defining when a lead becomes an SQL depends on the company. Perhaps a lead is considered to be an SQL if they meet a number of criteria such as; gender, age, industry etc. In the case of B2B companies, this might be based on industry, number of employees and turnover.
That said, there are a lot of variables that can be used to define whether a lead is a good match, and therefore can be defined as an SQL. Ultimately, though, it boils down to which types of customers bring the most value to your business. Finding the variables that customers tend to have will help you identify your SQLs. By working with those variables and knowing them well, they can help you evaluate your leads going forward.