What is a Product Qualified Lead?
A product qualified lead (PQL) is someone who has had experience using your product – likely through a free version or trial period – and has the potential to become a paying customer (especially if their experience was positive).
Product Qualified Lead vs. Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads
PQLs should be identified separately from marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL).
MQLs are leads that have shown interest in a company and their product by interacting with marketing materials, and a SQL is a lead that has not only shown interest in a product, but also meets the criteria of the sales team’s ideal customer profile. MQLs and SQLs will have some knowledge of a product beforehand, but a PQL is different because they have experience using the product.
When it comes to PQLs, a sales rep’s job is often easier because the PQL has already seen and used the product and is aware of how it works and what benefits and features it offers.
How to Generate Product Qualified Leads
Generating PQLs can’t be done by one team. It will take a joint effort between sales, marketing, engineering, and customer support. Communication is key: messaging should be the same across the board, and everyone should understand the common goal they’re working towards.
Offer Free Trials
To generate PQLs, many companies will offer their base-level product for free for a limited time. This allows people to do a trial run and see how the product operates, what its features are like, and how it integrates with their work. They’re able to get familiar with the product and decide for themselves if it’s worth a future investment.
It’s important for sales reps to follow up with PQLs after they’ve finished their trial run. The PQL may have questions about specific features, or want to know more about different tier-options. Follow up in a timely manner so you can lean on their positive experience and remind them how wonderful the product is.
Offer Free Versions of Your Product
Instead of free trials, many companies offer free versions of their product instead. Free versions have less features and are limited in what a user can do compared to paid versions. This allows people to get familiar with the product, but if they want to use it at scale they need to pay for full use.
Vidyard, for example, offers a free version of its sales video software, which is useful but limits what a user can do compared to their various paid options.
Analyzing data and metrics is key when it comes to converting PQLs. Sales reps should always be mindful of the following:
- Usage Limits. If a free version or trial only allows so many actions, and that limit has been hit, reach out and start a conversation. Ask them if they’ve enjoyed the product and tell them how they can continue using it at scale (by buying it).
- Time spent using the product. If you’re able to track time spent (or actions taken) while using a free version of your product, do so, and set a marker to determine when the user should be contacted. If they’re using your product a lot, it may be time to purchase the full version.
- Location. Is your product specifically for users in certain locations? Filter for PQLs based on where they’re located.
A sales team should have a list of qualifications and metrics to measure their PQLs with, and use them to follow up on potential sales.