When we got rid of all of our lead capture forms at Drift, and started making a conscious effort to put customer experience back at the center of everything we were doing, we realized that the MQL was an imperfect metric.
Becoming an MQL hinges on, well — it depends. It’s different at every company, but MQLs are typically based on some combination of demographics, firmographics, and engagement.
A common offshoot of the MQL, the sales-qualified lead (SQL), is basically the same thing, only there are more boxes that need to be ticked in order for sales to consider a lead qualified.
Then came the product-qualified lead (PQL), which offered a promising alternative: Instead of forcing people to fill out forms in order to generate leads, why not focus on getting them to sign up for a free or freemium version of your product instead?
Ultimately, however, we found that MQLs, SQLs, and PQLs all suffered from the same two issues:
1) They were slow. They ignored the on-demand, real-time pace that buyers move at these days.
2) The substance behind why people were deciding to buy was missing from the equation. Lots of data points were being gathered, but none of them offered the customer insights we actually needed.
So we decided to abandon MQLs, SQLs, and PQLs in favor of a new type of lead:
The conversation-qualified lead, or CQL™.
But don’t worry: This isn’t just another metric that will drive a bigger wedge between marketing and sales.
This one will actually make things easier.
The CQL™ is a metric that both our marketers and salespeople here at Drift are rallying around.