Accelerate Growth with Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)

By: Travis Kaufman

As a SaaS product leader, you are under increasing pressure to create products that generate and grow revenue for your organization. As if acquiring customers wasn’t challenging enough, you must also continue to deliver value to your customers to increase customer lifetime value and mitigate churn. As you develop new product initiatives to deliver on your revenue growth goals, you really have two options; focus on acquiring new customers or increasing share of wallet from existing customers through up-sell and cross-sell offers.

Chief Product Officer at Box, Jeetu Patel spoke at the Mastering Product Adoption & Growth event in San Francisco and made a comment that caught my attention. He stated that “Building immersive product experiences that people love is the key to customer retention and growth.”

This caught my attention because when he said “product experience” I assumed he meant that growth comes from focusing on increasing share of wallet from existing customers. For a majority of enterprise software companies, the customer doesn’t use the product before purchasing it, so how can any product experience really influence new customer acquisition.

What I quickly realized was that Jeetu was referring to companies that use a product-led G2M strategy in which the product is offered to prospects on some sort of trial basis. Using this model, his statement really means that an immersive product experience can influence both new customer acquisition as well as increasing wallet share.

With a product-led G2M strategy, the product leader has more influence and responsibility as the experience the prospective customer has with the product will determine if they choose to buy or not. See below, the outline of the customer lifecycle with a product-led strategy.

Using the traditional marketing and sales led G2M strategy, marketing is responsible for acquiring leads and nurturing them until they are ready to make a purchase. Marketers use the term MQL/MQA (Marketing Qualified Lead/Account) to refer to a prospect that is ready to buy. Once a prospect becomes an MQL/A they are then introduced to a sales rep to close the deal. Sales are an expensive resource for any organization and so this method of handing off MQL/A’s to sales is an attempt to focus sales on the most valuable prospects.

With a product-led G2M strategy, marketers now work to get people to try your product. Instead of being a lead awaiting to meet a sales person, you now have users in your product experiencing first hand the value of your offering. The users experience with your product is now the determining factor on them making a buying decision.

You don’t want your sales team to spend time speaking with every single user of your product. This would be an inefficient use of their time. In this model, you want to introduce your sales team to the users who have realized the value that your product offers. Enter the PQL, or Product Qualified Lead.

The anatomy of a PQL has similarities to an MQL in that both profile data (who the person is) and company data (who they work for) are used to determine fit. The biggest difference is that instead of looking at behaviors a lead takes with your marketing material, you also must incorporate what features of your product they are using (aka the Customer Behavior Index).

Moving from theory to execution can be a bit overwhelming. And as a result, we at Aptrinsic are here to help product leaders take advantage of this G2M strategy and accelerate your growth.

Aptrinsic co-founder Mickey Alon is hosting a webinar on the how to lead with your product and effectively use PQL’s to accelerate growth. Please register here to attend the webinar. We hope to see you there.

And if webinars aren’t your style, you can also get a free copy of our book Mastering Product Experience.

To learn more, visit: https://intrinsicpoint.com/accelerate-growth-with-product-qualified-leads-pqls-685c7214014d

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