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A Guide to Identifying and Nurturing MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) for Marketing Agencies

By Umbrella Staff on Jun 21, 2024

Leads are the lifeblood of any marketing agency or any business for that matter. It’s critical to target leads that are the most likely to convert and get them ready for the next part of the sales funnel. That’s why today we’d like to talk about Marketing Qualified Leads, often referred to as MQLs.

What Are MQLs?

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is one the marketing department considers to be hot, that is, more likely than others to become customers. This is based on various criteria, including the customer showing interest by engaging with the company. Once the marketing department has nurtured these leads along, they hand them off to the sales team to nurture further to conversion. Developing and targeting MQLs ensures that high quality leads are sent to the sales team.

Why Are MQLs Important?

MQLs play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between marketing and sales. By focusing on MQLs over other leads, marketing agencies can

  1. Improve Conversion Rates: MQLs are more likely than other leads to convert into customers because they have already demonstrated a level of interest and engagement with the brand.
  2. Enhance Marketing ROI: By targeting leads that are more likely to convert, marketing agencies can allocate resources more efficiently, leading to better returns on investment.
  3. Align Marketing and Sales Efforts: MQLs provide a common ground for marketing and sales teams, ensuring that both departments are working towards the same goal of converting high-quality leads.

How Can I Identify MQLs?

1. Communicate and Work with the Sales Team

The whole idea of an MQL is to focus on and nurture customers who show signs of likelihood to convert, and then pass them along to the sales team. If the sales team agrees with marketing’s evaluation, that lead will become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

It’s important that marketing and sales agrees and communicates on what constitutes a good MQL.

2. Develop the Characteristics for Your MQLs

Obviously, what constitutes a Marketing Qualified Lead is going to vary from one organization to another. Here are some things you will want to consider:

  • The behaviors of those who have converted in the past. For example, do they tend to sign up for the newsletter and read your blog posts? Do they engage on social media? Are they likely to click on CTAs?
  • The demographics of those who have converted in the past. For example, do they tend to have a similar income range? Or do they hold a role that is likely to be influential in the purchase? Common criteria include age, gender, location, job title and industry.
  • Information about the organization such as industry, size of company, revenue and point in their life cycle.

3. Score Your Leads

Lead scoring is a systematic approach to ranking leads based on their engagement and their fit with the criteria you have defined. Each lead is assigned a score based on their actions and attributes. For instance, downloading a whitepaper might be worth 10 points, while attending a webinar could be worth 20 points. Once a lead reaches a predetermined threshold score, they are classified as an MQL.

Needless to say, you are going to need tools to do this effectively. Read on.

4. Use Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing automation tools such as HubSpot, Marketo and Salesforce Pardot can help track and analyze lead behavior, making it easier to identify MQLs. These tools can automate lead scoring and track interactions. They can also provide valuable insights into lead engagement.

5. Continuously Refine MQL Characteristics

Regularly review and refine your MQL criteria based on data and feedback from the sales team. As market conditions and customer behavior evolve, your criteria should adapt to ensure you are targeting the most qualified leads.

Nurture Your MQLs Through the Sales Funnel

Once you have identified MQLs, you will want to focus your marketing on them. Pull out the stops for these VIP leads. Here are some examples.

Develop Personalized Email Campaigns

Personalization is extremely powerful in moving a lead along the sales funnel. Use the data collected during the lead generation process to tailor email content to the person’s interests and needs. You’ll be rewarded with better open and click-through rates, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Create Focused Content

Concentrate on the challenges and desires of your MQLs. Provide MQLs with valuable content that addresses their pain points and helps them make informed decisions. This can include blog posts, whitepapers, case studies and videos. You are not only educating your prospects, but you are providing them with valuable information that positions you and your agency as trusted experts.

Engage on Social Media

Determine the social media platforms where your MQLs are active. Engage with MQLs on social media platforms where they are active. For marketing agencies, that should include LinkedIn.

Share relevant content, respond to comments and questions, and participate in conversations. Social media engagement can help keep your brand top of mind and nurture leads in a more casual, interactive setting.


Retarget as much as possible to re-engage MQLs who have shown interest but have not yet converted. Use retargeting ads to remind them of your offerings and encourage them to take the next step, whether its scheduling a free consultation or downloading additional content.

Ready to Optimize your MQLs?

Marketing Qualified Leads are a vital component of a successful marketing strategy. By understanding what MQLs are, how to identify them, and how to nurture them effectively, marketing agencies can enhance their lead generation efforts and drive better results for their clients.

If you would like help with identifying, receiving and nurturing Marketing Qualified Leads, schedule a free consultation with Umbrella contact Umbrella through our website or call (866) 760-2638.


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