An SQL is an MQL that had been qualified, often using the BANT methodology, for continued development by sales.
SQLs are not yet opportunities but are under the purview of sales.
This may mean that marketing no longer nurtures them in same way they would a lead or an MQL.
Few SMEs use the SQL lifecycle stage correctly, if at all, since the distinction between MQL, SQL and opportunity isn't always clear.
If you do plan to use it, make sure everyone understands how and why.
The right time to move a lead to the opportunity stage can be tricky to pick, after all, signs of an opportunity may show long before any deal is done.
Moving leads to opportunity too soon can cause confusion as marketing may exclude them, perhaps wrongly, from new campaigns.
We recommend that you move a prospect to opportunity when you have an offer on the table.
As soon as you submit a quote or proposal, that's an opportunity.
Without doubt, the best lifecycle stage.
Again, as with opportunities, resist the temptation to move prospects to closed won too soon.
Doing so before the contract has been signed and the deal is really done could lead to embarrassment down the line.
We all have some, or lots, of these.
But that's not a completely bad thing.
At least you know who they are and why/when they were lost. That's valuable information.
You will probably find that a lot of opportunities just go quiet on you, rather than calling to tell you that you lost the deal. Give these opportunities a reasonable and consistent period of unresponsiveness before moving them to closed lost.