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How to Turn More SaaS Leads into Customers with Product Qualified Leads

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Last Updated:  

11 June 2024

9 min read

As someone who went “product qualified what?”, I sincerely doubt I’m qualified to write a blog about product qualified leads. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of smart, insightful people who are experts in this area. So with their help, in this article we will:

What are product-qualified leads?

Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) are a type of lead that is highly valuable to companies because they have already used or shown interest in the product or service. 

They might have already taken some action indicating that they are likely to become a customer – such as signing up for a free trial, requesting a demo, or adding items to their cart without completing the purchase.

So unlike marketing qualified leads (MQLs), PQLs have already interacted with your product – which means they are more likely to convert into paying customers.

When you reach out to a PQL, they should have already experienced meaningful value in your product. This makes the sale easier because there’s no need to sell the user on the value of the product.

Wes Bush, Founder of ProductLed and author of Product-Led Growth

Using product usage data to track product qualified leads

Product qualified leads vs. other leads

There are four types of leads we consider in sales: MQL, SQL, PQL, and AQL.

– Andre Solomon, GTM Enablement, SurveySparrow

What is the difference between PQL vs MQL vs SQL vs AQL?

Automation qualified lead (AQL)Marketing qualified lead (MQL)Sales qualified lead (SQL)Product qualified lead (PQL)
Definition & SourceIdentified and qualified through automated processes such as lead scoring Identified and qualified through marketing efforts such as lead generation campaignsIdentified and qualified by the sales team through direct outreach or other sales effortsDemonstrated an active interest in your product through usage or engagement
Timing Earlier in the funnel and may not be ready to make a purchase immediately.Earlier in the funnel and may not be ready to make a purchase immediately.Further along the funnel and expressed a clear interest in purchasing your product or serviceFurther along the funnel and expressed a clear interest in purchasing your product or service
ReadinessMay require more education or nurturingMay require more education or nurturingOften ready to engage with a sales representativeOften ready to engage with a sales representative
ApproachContent marketing, webinars, or other educational resourcesContent marketing, webinars, or other educational resourcesPricing, demos for specific use cases, case studiesPricing, product tutorials, case studies
Product AwarenessLimited knowledge of your product or serviceGeneral understanding of your product or service Clear interest in your product or service through researchActive interest in your product or service through usage
Tracking criteriaMay be tracked based on their engagement with marketing automation workflowsMay be tracked based on their engagement with specific marketing campaignsMay be tracked based on the number of sales calls or meetingsMay be tracked based on product usage and feature adoption

Identifying Product Qualified Leads

Identifying PQLs involves tracking customer behavior and analyzing data to determine which users are the most engaged and have the highest probability of becoming paying customers. 

Factors such as frequency of product usage, features used, and time spent using the product can all be indicators of a PQL. By identifying these users, your sales team can focus on engaging with those who are most likely to convert.

Without a proper way to score the product usage of your customers and accounts, it’s pretty much impossible to know what the hell is going on with your business. 

Derek Skaletsky, CEO, Sherlock

Now, to identify PQLs, you need to: 

  1. Define the PQL criteria for your business. This can be based on factors like usage frequency, feature utilization, or recency of use – factors that indicate the level of interest in your product.
  2. Analyze user behavior to identify those who meet your criteria. This can involve using analytics tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel, or even your own data to track user behavior. 
  3. Assign a PQL score to each user based on your analysis. These scores help rank them as a PQL, and will help your sales team prioritize which leads to focus on.
  4. Nurture and convert your list of PQLs into paying customers. This can involve sending personalized emails, offering special promotions, or just reaching out to them with targeted marketing messages.

Overall, identifying PQLs requires a good understanding of your product and its users, as well as the ability to track and analyze user behavior. But with the right approach, you can nurture these leads into paying customers.

The biggest benefit of identifying product qualified leads is being able to identify sales opportunities based on demographic, firmographic and product usage data.

Because of its laser-focus on identifying the perfect match of the ideal client profile and engagement, PQL helps inside sales teams to focus on the highest opportunities, rather than wasting time trying to process all leads.

Morris Dausinger, CEO of Refiner

Role of Surveys in Product Qualified Leads: 

Short, focused surveys can help you provide insight into the user’s needs. Such insights can help you be better prepared for demos and sales meetings. 

Additionally, you can bucket users into different groups based on their responses. This is highly useful for prioritizing leads and personalizing your approach.  

Did you know that The PowerMBA got a 15% spike in captured leads using SurveySparrow? Our case study has it all: ​​

How The PowerMBA Saw a Significant Improvement In Capturing Leads With SurveySparrow

Want to try our software – bells and whistles included? Sign up below for a free account.

Nurturing PQLs is all about building a relationship with the potential customer by providing them with the right information and support. 

Nurturing Product Qualified Leads

Nurturing PQLs is all about building a relationship with the potential customer by providing them with the right information and support. 

Here are some tips on how to nurture PQLs into customers:

Personalize your communication: 

  • Tailor your communication with PQLs to their specific interests and needs. 
  • Use their name, refer to their engagement with your product, and offer relevant content that aligns with their interests.
  • Send personalized emails and messages to keep PQLs engaged and informed.

Provide value through content: 

  • Create and share content that speaks to the specific needs and pain points of each PQL.
  • This could include blog posts, case studies, webinars, or ebooks that showcase your product’s features and benefits.
  • Provide resources and educational materials to help PQLs learn more about your product.

Offer targeted promotions: 

  • Use the insights you have gained from tracking their behavior to offer targeted promotions and discounts to PQLs. 
  • This can gently nudge them towards a purchase while also keeping your brand top-of-the-mind.

Set up automated drip campaigns: 

  • Use automated email campaigns to regularly reach out to PQLs with relevant content and offers. 
  • This can keep them engaged with your business and increase the likelihood of conversion.

Provide a seamless buying experience: 

  • When a PQL is ready to make a purchase, it’s important to provide a seamless buying experience. 
  • Ensure that the purchasing process is easy and straightforward, and that there are no barriers to completing the sale.

Provide exceptional customer support: 

  • Offer prompt and helpful support to PQLs. 
  • This can include live chat support, a dedicated customer success team, or resources like a knowledge base or FAQ section.

Overall, the key to nurturing PQLs into customers is to provide value, build trust, and stay top-of-mind. 

By providing personalized and helpful support, you can help turn these leads into loyal customers who will continue to engage with your product over the long-term.

Product Qualified Leads can be nurtured with the right information and support

Converting Product Qualified Leads into Customers: 7 Tactics

Let me tell you about a little fruit stall near my place.

The first time we went there, the owner insisted on giving us a sample of every fruit he had (he still does). 

Did this tactic work? Yes, for a few reasons.

  1. We learned which fruit we liked best.
  2. We just had to buy more because we felt guilty about eating all that fruit for free.
  3. Thanks to these perks, we kept coming back week after week. 

This was what you would call a free trial. In SaaS terms, we were PQLs he had turned into paying customers.

Converting PQLs into paying customers requires a strategic approach. Your sales team should focus on building trust, providing value, and addressing any potential objections or concerns. 

With that in mind, here are seven effective tactics you can use.

Personalized DemosProvide demos that are tailored to the specific needs and interests of each PQL.
ConsultationsOffer consultations to help PQLs better understand how your product can benefit them.
TrialsOffer free trials or extended trials to help PQLs experience your product first-hand.
Money-back guaranteeAllow PQLs to request a refund if they are not satisfied. This reduces the perceived risk of buying your product.
Case studies & testimonialsShare success stories from existing customers in your PQL’s industry to increase their confidence.
Retargeting adsStay top-of-mind with PQLs who have visited your website or engaged with your product.
Follow-upFollow up with PQLs in a timely manner and provide them with the support they need to make a decision.

Measuring the Success of Your Product Qualified Leads Strategy: Key Metrics

To measure the success of your Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) strategy, you need a range of metrics that can help you track the performance of your marketing and sales efforts. It’s also important to get feedback from your sales team to refine your future strategy.  

Here are some metrics to consider:

1 – Number of PQLs: According to Sherlockscore, this is the first (and easiest) metric to measure. There are two types you need to consider: the current number of PQLs, and the PQLs you’re collecting over time. The second is helpful for trendspotting. 

2 – PQL rate: Sherlockscore defines the PQL rate as “the percentage of new signups that reach PQL status in a given time period.” This can help you measure the effectiveness of your account activation and onboarding process. 

3 – Conversion Rate: This metric measures the percentage of PQLs that convert into paying customers. It can help you understand if your product is offering enough value to convince users to pay for it,  and identify areas for improvement.

4 – Time to Conversion: This metric measures the length of time it takes for a PQL to convert into a paying customer. A shorter time to conversion can indicate a more effective sales process and better engagement with PQLs.

SurveySparrow dashboard – sample widget with user numbers

5 – Engagement Metrics: These metrics track how often PQLs are interacting with your product, such as frequency of use, feature utilization, or time spent using the product. High engagement can indicate strong interest and potential for conversion.

6 – Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): This metric measures the total value a customer brings to your business over their lifetime. By understanding the CLV of your PQLs, you can better prioritize your marketing and sales efforts, and focus on the most valuable customers.

7 – Marketing and Sales Costs: These metrics track the costs associated with acquiring and converting PQLs, such as advertising spend, sales team salaries, and other related expenses. By analyzing these costs against revenue generated, you can assess the effectiveness of your PQL strategy and identify areas for optimization.

By analyzing these metrics, you can better understand the effectiveness of your PQL strategy. The key is to track these metrics over time and continually refine your approach.

Periodically measure your Product Qualified Leads strategy because your lead profile is bound to change as your company scales up.

Example of a Product-Qualified Lead (PQL)

Let’s say you are the owner of a software company that provides a project management tool. 

A user named Aysha signs up for a free trial of your software and starts using it to manage her team’s projects. Over the next few weeks, Aysha consistently logs into the platform, invites her team members to join the workspace, assigns tasks to team members, and uses the platform’s collaboration features.

Based on Aysha’s usage of the product, she can be classified as a PQL. 

To further nurture Aysha as a PQL, you could offer her additional resources such as product tutorials, case studies to help her better understand how your product can benefit her team. 

You could also reach out to how directly to schedule a interactive product demo or answer any questions she may have about the platform.

How you define a PQL entirely depends on how your business operates. Here are a few examples of product qualified leads established by well-known SaaS brands.

  • Slack considers the user a PQL until the account reaches the 2,000 message limit.
  • Facebook describes a lead as PQL once the user adds at least seven friends.
  • Drift deems them a PQL when users have over 100 conversions on their website.

Each PQL definition above closely relates to your company’s solution for end customers.

PPCExpo, “How to Create a Product Qualified Leads Strategy?” 

Wrapping Up

Product-Qualified Leads (PQLs) can be a game-changer for businesses looking to improve their lead generation and boost conversions. By analyzing the product usage and engagement of leads, companies can identify prospects who are highly likely to become paying customers. This will help them tailor their marketing and sales efforts.

To make the most out of a PQL strategy, you need to establish clear criteria for what qualifies a lead as a PQL, track and analyze metrics to measure the success of your strategy, and use effective nurturing tactics to guide PQLs down the sales funnel. So if you’re looking to get more customers, it’s worth exploring how a PQL strategy could work for you.

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Growth Marketer at SurveySparrow

Fledgling growth marketer. Cloud watcher. Aunty to a naughty beagle.

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