Product Success | 6 MIN READ

Product Qualified Lead (PQL): Everything You Need to Know

What is Product Qualified Lead (PQL) and why are they important for long term success for SaaS businesses? Here’s everything you need to know.

Niyathi Rao
Dec 22, 2020

Product-Qualified-Lead

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

Isn’t it every SaaS company’s dream to have tons of leads coming in for the product? A great way to get that is by building a PQL process. The PQL model will help sales teams identify sales opportunities in users. But what is a PQL?

What is a Product Qualified Lead?

A product qualified lead is one that gets considered qualified by actually engaging with the product. Those users who have used or tried the product in a freemium model and know its value are the ones considered. PQLs are those who will use your product since they know it is useful. When this meaningful value has been explored, it is possible to become a lead. Unlike MQLs, PQLs are based on more meaningful value. This makes it easier to sell to them since they already know the use, features, benefits, and value of the product.

When your product sells itself, then that lead is likely to become a customer. Just by signing up for a free trial, they do not become PQLs. It takes more than that. They need to navigate through various features of the product, ask related questions, enquire more to become frequent, paying customers. 

Product qualified leads do not need the team members to inform them about the product. They discover the value by using it. There are more likely to become customers with longer lifetime value.

For a person to be a product qualified lead, they need to-

  • Match your client profile

PQL is someone who matches the demographic characteristics of your ideal client. Factors such as industry, technology, company size, etc need to match the kind of target client base kept in mind.

  • Indicate buying intent

Take actions that will indicate buying intent. It can be performing specific tasks, creating or working on the product, reading reviews, checking prices and more. When a user in his free trial period becomes interested in the product, that will indicate increased buying intent.

Why are PQLs Important for Long Term Success?

PQLs are the base for happy customers. The time and money spent by the company in getting these customers on board are less. There are recurring revenue and a better opportunity for upselling, cross-selling, and retention. To ace a product-led growth strategy, it is necessary to focus on growing PQLs.

  • Using the product to improve sales
  • Ensuring customer success
  • Listening to customers
  • Improving product specifications

Making product-led strategy your core will ensure customer retention and conversion ensuring success.

5 Steps to Identify and Act on PQLs

To build your product led growth strategy, you need to build a PQL process.

Track product engagement

If someone likes your product, you need to know how involved they are. This is the starting point of identifying product qualified leads. When you get these leads, you must be able to score and rank them based on usage, area, and more.

Account level scoring of product engagement

Businesses sell to organizations whom they call accounts. To understand how your product fares, it is necessary to check product engagement. At the account level, aggregating your product engagement scores can improve the prospects of identifying product-led leads.

Identify engaged users as per account basis

The next step is to identify how often and how much users are engaged with the product. To identify engaged users, patterns of usage need to be tracked. Per account, you need to track how involved freemium or new users are in your product.

Track rates of activation during the free trial period

The primary goal of every company is to improve activation. It is important to have all account information like:

  • Account created
  • Signup information
  • Sharing information
  • Usage ways
  • Comments, if any

Access to data by related teams

When you get the data of your product engagement, it is necessary to pass it on to relevant teams. If your sales and marketing teams do not have access to this data, they will not be able to use it. Having data in a manner that is easily understood by teams is important. Tools like CRM and more will help teams understand and use this data for improving sales.

PQL- led growth for SaaS Businesses

Better understanding of Buyer Personas

Having a product-led strategy will help companies understand who the product is better suited for. PQLs may open the horizons for new buyer personas. This will help improve decision making in bigger tasks like product messaging, development, design, and marketing.

Better Conversions

Since your PQLs already know your product’s value, they are likely to convert. The engagement matters heavily as the more engaged ones will transition into paid users. Web sessions, feature usage tracking, time spent are great ways to track and convert PQLs.

Increased upselling and cross selling

Focusing on product qualified lead growth will allow paying customers to step up with their account sizes and product signups. You can upsell and cross-sell across a number of options such as-

  • Improved features
  • Higher level of service
  • Offering them complimentary products

Once this funnel is created, it is possible to generate revenue without spending money on sales and marketing again.

Improved Product Development

With PQLs, it is possible to get information in detail about the product. What works and what doesn’t in the best manner. You can upsell your product, understand what users like and create features based on that feedback.

Bottom Line: Sustainable Way to Grow SaaS Revenue

Having a PQL- led growth strategy is a sustainable, long-term way to drive conversions, improve growth, and get revenue. PQL is what aligns with teams to become successful in the product. Product led growth is a great way to get recurring revenue, convert and engage customers in the long run. At the end of the day, these customers are in because they like the product. This is what makes them stick with the brand. Trial accounts, free passes are great ways for customers to know what is in store for them. New features and upgrades will also enable them to stay with the brand improving customer retention.

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Originally Published December 22nd, 2020, Updated December 22nd, 2020

Niyathi Rao

Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.

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