The simplest way to define Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) for your SaaS 

by Frederic Melanson in ,

Tracking and engaging product qualified leads (PQLs) has a direct correlation to net revenue growth for bottom-up SaaS startups.

Yet only 25% of companies track PQLs. 

Why? Because there's no simple framework. People don't know where to start. 

So we came up with the easiest way to define Product Qualified Leads for your SaaS. 

Let's dive in 🪂 👇

What are Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)again? 

Product qualified leads (PQLs) are product users who, upon reaching certain thresholds of product usage, become viable candidates for a conversation with sales. They’re more likely to convert or expand than other users. (Openview Product Benchmarks Report 2021). 

Prioritization funnel for PLG sales

How to easily define PQLs for your SaaS

The idea here is to define what criterias a lead must have to qualify, then make sure to track it with data.

Start simple, then iterate and add complexity. Starting is the hardest step 😉. 

Step 1 - What's your value metric milestone? 

The biggest mistake when defining your PQLs is complicating things. Trying to track every action that users take in your product. 

You should start by tracking ONE product action. The guys at ProductLed call it the [value metric](https://productled.com/blog/value-metrics/).

In a nutshell: What core component of your product leads someone to experience a meaningful outcome?

A few real-life examples of value metrics 👇

value metric examples

Once you've found it, add a number threshold to your value metric.  

The threshold is the level at which your value metric needs to be in order for users to understand the value of your product. 

Not sure what that is yet 😅 ? 

  • Ask yourself: If I had to track ONE SINGLE product usage data point to give bonuses to my developers, product team, sales team and marketing team, what would it be?
  • Look at your product usage dashboards (Mixpanel, Amplitude, etc.). Look at the product actions taken by users who did not convert and users who are now happy customers? What's the main difference?
  • What actions have all of my best customers taken in my product? How many times did they take the action before they "got it"?
  • Look at your pricing if you charge based on usage. That ceiling is usually your value metric milestone.

Here are the same value metric examples but with their quantitative threshold 👇

product milestones examples

Remember ✊ 

"Most product teams measure too many metrics, not too few. You can have a much bigger impact by focusing on the activation of a few core events - those aha moments when users realize the value of your product. Studying and optimizing for those, is how you achieve success in product." 

Todd Olson, CEO and founder at Pendo

Todd Olson headshot

Step 2 - What's your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)? 

If you're struggling to define your ideal customer profile, ask yourself: If I had to close sales RIGHT NOW, who would I go to? 

How many employees? 👩‍💻

What industry? 👩‍💼

Where are they located? 🌎

Those are the most commonly used firmographics, but let's just start with company size to make it simple. 

(Optional) Step 3 - One a user-level, is there a specific title you want to talk to?

VP of Sales, Head of Marketing?

You might not care about this step if the end-user of your solution is also a buyer. So feel free to skip step 2. 

However, if you often find yourself talking with managers when converting a bigger account, or expanding an existing account, make sure to track titles. 

Both step 2 and step 3 can be tracked easily with enrichment. 

You might have enrichment already built-in to tools that you're using like Hubspot and Intercom.

For example, Hubspot and Intercom will often auto-enrich records. 👇

If you don't have sales tools that already enrich, the easiest way to enrich your product leads is: 

  • Connect Segment to your product
  • Add Clearbit as a destination

Other option (without Segment): 

  • Ask your developers to connect your product to enrichment APIs like Clearbit, Wappalyzer, Slintel, etc.
  • Ask your developers to call the enrichment API with the user's email, every time a new user signs up. You should be able to get the info you need from that request.

That's it ✅ 

Unlike most of the resources out there, I wouldn't over-complicate things. 

Recap

Start with finding your value metric and adding a quantitative threshold, that's the simplest product tracking to set up for a PQL, then add basic firmographics by enriching records. 

That should uncover pretty good leads for your revenue team to chase 🚀 💰. 

Next steps

If your basic PQL tracking generates to many leads, create sub-sets of your PQLs. You can: 

  • Track multiple product actions. Ex: PQLs versus PQLs over the feature limit.
  • Duplicate PQLs but with different firmographic criteria. Ex: PQLs versus PQLs in finance in North America.
  • Track intent behaviour to find the hottest leads, like leads engaging with your content or clicking on premium features. Ex: PQLs versus PQLs with buying intent. 
Product qualified leads stages

Enough for today! Go define your PQLs 😉🤘

If you've defined your PQLs and are ready to track and engage them, get started with Bliinx for free.  

✌️ out, Fred

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