A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a prospective customer who has displayed intent to buy your company's products or services and has met lead qualification criteria. Once a prospect reaches the SQL stage, they are ready to be contacted by your sales department.
In order to effectively qualify contacts as they move through the buyer’s journey, sales and marketing teams within your organization need to identify and agree upon qualities a prospect must have and actions they must take in order to advance to the next lifecycle stage.
Lifecycle stages used within the inbound marketing methodology are as follows: subscriber, lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, customer and evangelist.
Related article: How to shorten my sales cycles with inbound marketing
Sales and marketing should work together to establish a lead scoring system that reflects a combination of traits and actions taken that indicate a lead is both a good fit for your company and sales-ready. Use demographic information like the prospect’s industry, company size, location and role to determine if they fit your ideal buyer profile, and look to behaviors such as downloading specific white papers, attending certain webinars and spending time on your pricing page that indicate they are ready to be pursued for a sales conversation.