Sales Qualified Lead | Meaning and Definition

A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a prospective customer who has demonstrated a strong interest in a product or service. They indicate a higher likelihood of making a purchase. Unlike Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), SQLs meet specific criteria that align with the characteristics of an ideal customer, making them important for the sales process. To break down the SQL, A lead refers to a potential customer or a business opportunity. They are an individual or company that has shown interest in a product or service and have the potential to become a customer. The sales qualified part indicates that this lead has progressed further in the sales funnel. It also indicates that they are more likely to make a purchase. A high likelihood of purchase increases the value of a lead. 

Characteristics of an SQL

A sales-qualified lead has multiple characteristics which make an MQL become an SQL. These characteristics are as follows:

  • As an MQL becomes an SQL, there is a deeper understanding of the lead’s needs. The information gathered during the marketing phase becomes more specific and targeted. This happens as the sales team gains insights into the lead’s pain points, preferences, and immediate requirements of the lead. An increased understanding of a lead enables an organization or department to tailor their approach more effectively.
  • An SQL is more than just curious. They have expressed specific needs and a clear intent to address them. This goes beyond general interest and has more specifications associated with them.
  • Budget Allocation. One of the key characteristics of an SQL is their monetary readiness. They are not thinking about a purchase, but rather, have already set aside resources specifically for the product or service. The commitment they make demonstrates their readiness to purchase the solution an organization is providing.
  • SQLs might also have an engagement history with the company. An SQL might have attended company webinars, downloaded company resources, or just engaged with their content. This history indicates a sustained and genuine interest in what you offer.
  • An SQL might also align with a company’s ideal customer profile. Each company has an ideal version of their customers, (ICP). SQLs closely match the characteristics of an ideal customer. This alignment ensures that efforts are directed towards prospects, who value a company, and what they are offering. This leads to more successful and satisfying customer relationships.

In a situation, an MQL expresses interest in a company’s solution. After this, a department head or sales representative might initiate a conversation with the MQL to understand their needs. Finally, depending on the depth of the assistance, and needs of the MQL, their status will develop to that of an SQL.


With talks about MQLs, and SQLs, there is a need to understand the difference between an MQL, and an SQL. The differences between an MQL and an SQL are as follows. Firstly, there is a difference between the levels of interest. An MQL will show a lot less interest than an SQL. The intent displayed by the SQL is a lot more specific and solution-oriented. Secondly, the power behind the suggestions and needs of an SQL is a lot more important. This is because of the alignment of the SQL with an ICP. Thirdly, the depth of engagement between an SQL and an MQL is also very different. An SQL engages at a deeper, and more important level, with talks with departments, and others. An MQL has sufficient engagement with the organization, but not enough to be an SQL. When it comes to alignment with an ideal customer profile, or ICP, an MQL loosely aligns with it. On the other hand, an SQL closely matches the characteristics of the ideal customer, ensuring a more strategic fit for the business.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

An SQL is a prospective customer who has demonstrated a strong interest in a product or service.

A deeper understanding of their needs, high engagement, alignment with ICP, and other factors are characteristics of an SQL.

The levels of interest, engagement, monetary availability, specifics of needs, and other, are higher in an SQL, and lower in an MQL.