The concept of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is crucial when it comes to sales strategies for product-led businesses.
“Account-based marketing allows you to weed out less-valuable companies early on and ensure Marketing and Sales are in complete alignment - in return, your team can leap into the critical processes of engaging and delighting those accounts much faster.”
For PLG, this means that you want to focus on users that are most likely to be paying customers.
- Salespeople are expensive.
- You don’t want to waste product marketing and outbound/inbound marketing efforts on leads who won’t generate a high enough LTV for you to involve a human in the process.
Proof: The best PLG companies attribute sales resources to less than 50% of their users!
And that's where PQLs come in.
PQL stands for Product Qualified Lead. It’s a way for product-led companies to evaluate if users have received meaningful value in the product and if they are qualified for sales or expansion.
Although it can range depending on the nature of your product, it usually involves a mix of (1) actions performed in the app and (2) account qualifications.
How to calculate PQL
The whole idea here is to work with your product team to understand which actions result in high user retention.
Also, you’d want to know where users hit a ceiling in your free plan and might want to unlock some additional features from your product.
Once those data points are defined, you’ll want to make sure to track them.
Tag customers who meet those criteria and reach out to them right away.
This way, you’ll be top-of-mind when your users are more likely to convert to paid customers.
For example, let’s say you’re building a meeting scheduling tool like Calendly or SavvyCal:
You know from your product’s analytics data that user retention skyrockets once people:
- Book 3 meetings.
- Invite at least one colleague.
- Integrate your tool with their CRM.
That’s your sticky point or “aha moment”.
- Make sure that your product’s onboarding gets users to those 3 actions ASAP!
- Have those attributes clearly defined in your product analytics tool (Amplitude, Mixpanel, Intercom).
- Connect your product analytics tools to Segment and attribute a custom variable to your users who meet these criteria.
- Send those users’ data to your Sales and Marketing tools (CRM, Mailchimp, Marketo, etc).
- Set automated in-app messages via Intercom, Drift, Crips or others.
- Trigger engagement sequences in your email marketing tools.
- Set some automation rules in your CRM to notify sales.
It can be hard and painful to set up. But you can probably figure it out with a sales ops person and a developer!
Somewhere in your free trial or freemium, you’ll want to ask the user some qualification questions in order to understand if the customer fits the buying criteria for your product.
If your product’s onboarding flow doesn’t have a lot of friction, you may want to ask qualification questions right away at signup.
If your product requires more involvement from the user before value is generated, you can also ask qualification questions in the user’s 2nd or 3rd use of the product, or with conversational bots and onboarding emails.
If your criteria are fairly simple, you can use an enrichment tool like Clearbit to qualify customers quickly based on headcount, location, etc.
For example, here’s how Guru decides to engage its users (from this article by OpenView):
- Bigger companies had a high-touch model-dedicated account manager and CSM access to tech support.
- Smaller companies were low-touch - product specialist teams.
PLACE IN THE FUNNEL
- Pre-conversion for larger accounts. The team is all about helping customers use the product so they activate and adopt long-term.
- Post-conversion for smaller accounts that raise their hands and need an extra touchpoint can do so at this stage.
It doesn't need to be complicated! Proof 👇
We spoke to Userpilot’s Head of Customer Success and Head of Marketing to understand how they calculate PQL:
• Free users that installed the Userpilot js code on their product.
• And create at least one experience.
View this article by Wes Bush and this article by Openview to help with your PQL setup!
How Bliinx helps you engage PQLs and convert them faster
Our founders were tired of having users sign up for our product and not know when to reach out to them to convert more free users to paid or retain more paid customers.
We had product analytics dashboards that gave us insights into the product itself, but nothing actionable to engage our users.
It created A LOT of missed opportunities.
So we've built a better way.
With Bliinx's product blindspots, your customer-facing reps receive product usage insights they can act on to engage PQLs.
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Have a wonderful day ✌️