How to build product-qualified leads?
Software companies usually have large amounts of product usage data on their users. Behavioral data includes insights into actions that users take when converting to a paid customer. This data will ultimately help you to build a product-qualified lead persona. The following steps will guide you into defining and engaging with PQLs.
Define what qualifies as a PQL in your business
Depending on your product or company, you may have to define what qualifies as a PQL in your business. A good way to start is by identifying the most critical metrics that define one, such as conversion rate. Tracking your metrics is free with software like ProfitWell Metrics.
Once you have this information, evaluate the action or series of actions taken by freemium users that lead to conversion. You can develop ways of engaging leads from this resulting data.
For example, Slack considers accounts that have sent 2000 messages to be engaged enough with the software to potentially buy. Sending 2,000 messages takes about one week for a team of 10 people. These users have experienced the product's core features and have a 93% conversion chance as a result.
You also must consider that varying accounts and users will have different qualifying actions that lead to the sale. For instance, wherein a smaller team might need to repeat an action 30 times to qualify as a PQL, an enterprise account may need to repeat the same actions 100 times to achieve the same likelihood of purchasing.
Build a system for qualifying leads
You need to build a system that will automate the lead qualifying process for you. Once you have defined your PQL, you need to apply a scoring model to each action. The process of scoring and qualifying leads can be almost impossible to do manually. But several lead qualification software options exist in the market to make your work easier.
These tools combine action triggers and historical data to determine a user's status with pinpoint accuracy. When integrated with your CRM, the lead scoring process can be automated. Tools like Salesforce and other marketing automation platforms do this well. The CRM will trigger notifications or email alerts for highly qualified leads, and sales teams can view a user's current qualification status whenever they need to.
Having an analytics tool is also crucial to the lead qualification process as it helps you feed correct data into the lead qualification software. You should also use it to identify opportunities to improve the customer's journey.
Create a program to engage with leads
Having the correct data and not taking action is pointless. When the sales teams receive the user qualification statuses, you must have a strategy prepared to engage with each group of PQLs. The amount of engagement you pursue depends on where each lead is on the spectrum of the buyer's journey. The following are the four main categories that leads fall into:
- Free users
- Users requesting sales assistance
- Users that have maxed out their free plans
- Users that convert without assistance
Free users require the most sales rep involvement when converting to paid plans. The second group defined by many SaaS companies as the hand-raisers need a bit of convincing, but not as much time and energy on the part of the sales team as the free users. These are the leads that willingly fill out forms requesting assistance from a sales rep.
The third group requires smaller pushes to become paying customers. Product adoption by this group is so successful that they have actually exhausted their free plan subscription. The final category consists of leads who don't need any assistance to become paying customers. They are sold purely based on the product's value.
Depending on where a lead falls, you can use several data points to engage with them meaningfully. For instance, look for the most used product feature and show them how much more they can get with a paid plan. Also, by taking a look at the kinds of limitations they have faced on your free plan, you can help customers better choose a tailor-made solution that fits their needs.