Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.

If you ask salespeople “what they need from their marketing team?”, 10 out of 10 will say that they need more high-quality leads. But what is a high-quality lead? Or what is a marketing qualified lead (MQL). The definition varies from company to company and from industry to industry.

I had a chance to talk to, William Wickey, Head of Content and Media Strategy at Lead Genius, who relayed how their marketing and sales teams agreed on the different stages of leads so that there is no debate on how to move leads further down the funnel. You can see the complete table on the transcript. I will talk about Pre-qualified leads, MQLs, Sales Accepted leads and prospects. Sales Accepted lead is very similar to Sales Qualified lead that we are all aware of.

Lead Category  



Pre-Qualified Lead Inbound and outbound leads that fit the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)  

Pre-qualified + requests demo (He calls them “hand-raisers.”)


Sales Accepted Lead MQL criteria is validated by sales reps
Prospect SAL + completed ICP calibration (Qualifying process specific to Lead Genius. Equivalent to SQL.)
Demo Scheduled Prospect agrees to a demo presentation
Evaluation Prospect has completed demo
Proposal Prospect has been sent contract
Committed Prospect has signed contract and has been sent payment link
Closed Won Paying Customer

To define the leads, William stressed that marketing needs to understand the sales process

With an understanding of the current sales process, marketing can work backward to arrive at more accurate lead goals and budget projections. Obviously, the sales team also has its own lead goals in mind. From there, sales and marketing can meet to hash out the differences and reach an SLA (Service Level Agreement).

Since finding MQLs is marketing’s job, it’s clearly defined as a request for a demo. This definition is crisp and clear. When you go to the Lead Genius website, you can see the button “request a demo” sprinkled seamlessly onto various pages. The ‘request a demo’ button is also displayed prominently in the upper right-hand corner. There are other buttons to drive conversions such as “get in touch today.” The lead definition is articulated well and easily measured. And it is reflected on their websites.

It’s interesting to note that, when I talked to Emmy Jonassen, the direction of acquisition at Hubspot, she told me that Hubspot does not have SQL. However, they also have a clear and crisp definition of what they call intent-driven MQL.

They defined MQL as

  1. Request a demo
  2. Call sale’s toll-free number
  3. Engage through on-site chat or
  4. Send an e-mail and ask to talk to sales reps. In a way, their MQL is a high-quality SQL already.

Again, you can find these four calls-to-action on their websites easily. The sales toll-free phone is on the navigation bar. A “Get started” button is prominent on key pages. On the pricing page, you can see the bright and shiny “Talk to Sales” button. They also have a very sophisticated back-end system to allocate leads to different salespeople. It’s about making the lead transition easy from the website to a sales team.

Agreeing on lead definitions minimizes confusion and builds better collaboration between sales and marketing. You can also use actionable lead definitions to guide the calls-to-action as part of your website design and layout.

If your company has a clear lead definition, do you use it to guide the calls-to-action on your website?  What else do you do to increase conversions on your websites? Love to hear from you.

Again, send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner

Be well. Until next time.

What can Pam Didner do for you?

Being in the corporate world for 20+ years and having held various positions from accounting and supply chain management, and marketing to sales enablement, she knows how corporations work. She can make you and your team a rock star by identifying areas to shine and do better. She does that through private coaching, keynote speaking, workshop training, and hands-on consulting. Contact her or find her on LinkedIn and Twitter. A quick note: Check out her new 90-Day Revenue Reboot, if you are struggling with marketing.