Lead Qualification.
Definition & Types

Qualifying leads correctly is bound to save you time and effort.
lead qualification cover photo
It's no secret that modern day sales and marketing practices involve finding quality leads to qualify and turn them into paying customers.

Lead qualification is a process that helps you understand who needs your product or service, if they are likely to convert, and if they have the resources necessary — this way, your SaaS company can focus on engaging with high-value prospects while still making sure qualified leads are pushed through the pipeline!

But what exactly is lead qualification?

In this article, we'll examine the definition of lead qualification and its various types so you have a better understanding of how it works.

Read on for everything you need to know about successful lead qualification strategies.

What is Lead Qualification?

Lead qualification is the process of evaluating the quality of potential customers or prospects for a business's products or services.

The key function is to identify the most promising leads, based on factors such as their level of interest, buying intent, budget, and fit with the business's ideal customer profile.

You as a salesperson or marketer are probably responsible for this process at your company.

Through methods such as cold calls or cold emails (cold outreach), website forms, or social media engagement, leads can be overall generated and furthermore qualified.

The goal of lead qualification is to prioritize the most promising leads for follow-up, nurturing, and eventual conversion into paying customers.

By focusing on high-quality leads, you can maximize your sales effectiveness and avoid wasting time and resources on low-value prospects.

Types of Leads

Unqualified Leads
An unqualified lead is a potential customer who may have needs or problems that are not clearly stated or that cannot be adequately handled by your solution.

In simple, a lead that has not received enough nurturing throughout the sales cycle is considered unqualified.

They might actually desire what you are selling.

However, they may be unsure what your company has to offer; don't know that they need your specific solution; cannot afford your products or services; or something else altogether.

Unqualified prospects frequently lack the power to choose their own spending priorities or purchase selections.
Information Qualified Leads (IQLs)
The weakest leads are Information Qualified Leads or IQLs, and they have just entered your marketing and sales funnel.

The information that these leads exchange for your material is typically only their email addresses because they are unaware of your business and what you do.

Companies can provide educational content to move these leads down the funnel and turn them into marketing-qualified leads. You must offer high-value material to assist them in understanding more about your business and developing trust if you want to collect more data on these leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
A lead is considered to be more likely to become a customer than other leads if they have expressed interest in what a business has to offer as a result of marketing efforts. This type of lead is known as a marketing qualified lead (MQL).

An MQL is frequently a lead who has purposefully interacted with your business by taking activities such freely providing contact information, registering for a program, adding things to a shopping cart on an e-commerce site, downloading content, or continually visiting a website.

These are prospective leads who are interested in you and giving you some thought, but they haven't yet progressed to a sales conversation.

However, compared to a typical lead, they are more likely to be open to a sales pitch. If you consider your own buying process, it would be uncommon for you to provide your actual email address unless you're eager to strike up a dialogue.

An MQL is thought to be interested in your goods and/or services, and you might be able to meet their requirements. An MQL is prepared for further interaction now that they have completed the initial steps toward becoming a customer.

From a very broad standpoint: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), who ultimately become clients.

Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)
PQLs are prospective consumers who have tried a product and made actions that strongly suggest they will become paying customers.

PQLs keep salespeople totally focused on bringing prospects onto the product rather than asking them to fill out lead forms and do particular qualifying actions.

It's a "try before you buy" strategy that allows prospects to become convinced of a product before speaking with a salesperson.

Such a person thus presents a sales opportunity to your reps and is more likely to convert to a paying client.

There are two other factors that indicate the PQL status:

  • The lead matches your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
In other words, PQL covers more than just users your product. They also align with your target audience's demographic traits.

Some of these may be as easy as being in your desired place. However, a person's ability to match your ICP can also depend on a person's firm size, number of employees, technology, and many other things.

  • The lead makes purchases with the intention of doing so.
Each business will naturally take different steps in this regard. It can be logging into the app frequently or carrying out particular tasks. Creating a team, inviting coworkers to use it, examining the pricing page, or using the product in accordance with predetermined usage patterns are further examples.

A PQL, in other words, integrates all three criteria into a single metric:

  • The lead understood the value of your product.
  • The lead fits the ideal customer profile of your business.
  • The lead has demonstrated buying intent by doing certain steps.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
The marketing and sales teams sometimes disagree on how to qualify leads. When a company wishes to encourage interest in its products, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are frequently found at the beginning of the process.

Once MQLs have demonstrated a desire to purchase, they are often transferred to sales teams and become SQLs.

It is important to know the definition of an SQL to understand how they differ from an MQL.

A prospect who is ready to speak with a sales team is known as a sales-qualified lead.

This lead usually indicates enough interest in the product or service that they are prepared to enter the sales process.

They have typically been investigated and approved by the marketing department before being given to the sales staff.

An SQL has demonstrated a desire to purchase a company's goods and has satisfied the lead qualification standards used by an organization to determine whether a potential customer is a good fit.

A lead who has moved through the engagement stage and is prepared to be pursued for conversion into a paying client is usually in direct touch with the sales team.
Conversion Qualified Leads (CQLs)
Conversion Qualified Leads (CQLs) are leads that have been identified as having a high potential for conversion by lead conversion teams.

CQLs have previously been given the go-ahead by marketing and sales to be contacted and meet the lead qualifying requirements. They also show interest in the company's goods or services.

Any lead that has converted on your website, by submitting a form or clicking a call button can be seen as an CQL.

Sales Qualifying Questions

Sales qualifying questions help sales teams determine whether their prospect meets a particular requirement. It could be a need, a budget, a level of authority (decision-makers), a sense of urgency, or another element.

Usually, an excellent qualifying question is unrestricted. Asking a question with a predetermined answer, such as: "Is this a priority right now?" forces the customer to respond.

"Where does this fall on your list of business priorities?" would be a better question.

The prospect's response will typically be more genuine and illuminating because you are not directing them toward a conclusion.

A simple "Yes" or "No" question won't deliver the right information that is needed to move the lead on in the sales funnel.

Questions that open conversations and that will make the lead responsibility with more than just a "Yes" or "No" can be:
  • What problem in your business may this product help you with?

  • What has prevented you from trying to solve the problem until now?

  • Are you making use of any solutions to this issue? In that case, why are you changing?

  • What does your budget for this project look like?

  • What does success for your business after utilizing this product look like?

  • Would you use the product on a regular basis? Who on your team would regularly use this product?

  • What do you consider to be the most important step in solving this issue? Which feature would be the most crucial?

  • Who would make the decisions regarding the purchase of this product?

  • Would it be okay if I called you back on mm/dd/yyyy?

  • What are some areas in your daily life that cause you friction, and which do you think our solution will help you streamline?

It's easier for you to qualify or exclude the prospect based on their responses to these questions.


Lead qualification is an invaluable process for any sales and marketing team. It provides a necessary structure to prioritize leads and target those with the most potential success at different buying cycle stages.

Different types of leads have different levels of qualification, meaning that IQLs, MQLs, PQLs, SQLs, and CQLs must be determined to adequately qualify who is the best fit for your product or service.

Make sure to ask the right qualifying questions to get accurate answers from your prospects.

Now that you understand lead qualification better, unlock your business' full growth potential by booking a call with us to get SDRs on board who can help with lead qualification and beyond.

Don't wait - reach out to us today!
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