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Five Steps to Identify Your PQLs

Now that we’ve covered the product-qualified lead (PQL) essentials, you might be wondering how, exactly, to identify those valuable leads. Since PQLs are pretty new on the scene, they can be harder to figure out than MQLs or SQLs. But I’ve got a five-step guide to identifying the PQLs that will work for your organization to help you get started.

And a shout-out to Alexa Grabell at Pocus for inspiring this series with her original content!

1. Create your Ideal Customer Profile 

This step should be easy, because you should have already created an ICP when you built your product, and continuously tested and refined it as you brought your product to market. Who really loves your product? Those customers should make up the backbone of your ICP so you know exactly who to target when looking for loyal, high-value users.

2. Understand the Value You Provide to Users 

What’s the core value of your product? For us at Reprise, it’s allowing business teams to capture the front end of their products and get full control to customize the product experience, add interactive guides, share or embed the experience, and analyze usage. Once a user has experienced this core of your product, they’re likely to see the value in your product and understand why they need what you provide.

Identifying signals that your users have experienced this value is key to creating a PLG definition. For Asana, it was when users began adding mission-critical data to the site, or had a significant uptick in engagement. That indicated the user saw and appreciated the value of the product.

3. Find Buyer Intent Signals 

But just seeing the value of the product isn’t enough to make a user move from free to premium, though it’s a good first step. Plenty of users will appreciate how well your product fits their needs, but remain content with what your free version offers. When a user becomes a potential PQL is when they also start demonstrating the intent to buy.

Some good indications that a user has reached this stage include if they visit your pricing page, ask questions about pricing, hit a paywall like a usage limit, or contact your support team. These are indicators that your sales team can confidently step in and engage with the user with a good likelihood of success.

4. Plot Your Potential PQL 

Now that you have those essential three categories mapped out, it’s time to start creating your own potential PQL hypothesis. (I say potential because these will, and should, change over time with testing.) What do you think your PQL is?

Next, test this hypothesis with your customer-facing team because they’ll probably have the most accurate view – they do spend all day talking with and understanding your customers. What do they think a highly engaged customer looks like? What trends or signals have they noticed?

And now it’s time to jump into the data – one of the great things about product-led approaches is that you should have plenty! Analyze the customers who you know love your product, and see if those customers have specific behaviors, use specific features, or take specific actions that can help you narrow down your PQL profile.

5. Test and Refine Your PQL Definition 

Time to test those hypotheses! You want to put in the work to be sure that your PQL definition is accurate so your sales team is set up for success.

Begin by creating a quick brief about the objective for this experiment – what exactly are you looking to prove or disprove by testing this PQL? Also, define how you’ll measure your success and pick your experiment parameters. Essentially, lay out what you’re testing and how you’re going to test it before you begin. This ensures your experiment data will be accurate, and not merely shaped to fit your pre-existing assumptions.

Your experiment might include things like:

  • A 50/50 AB testing split with a control group and a testing group
  • A 30 day test run, or a 60 day if that’s not long enough
  • Metrics like conversion rate, Annual Contract Value, etc.

Once the experiment has been decided upon, it’s time to get testing! When your testing period is up, check to see if the results show a significant or meaningful uptick. If it’s too close to call, or the results actually indicate a downturn, that’s not a failure – you learned something important, and you can redesign and retest until you find what you’re looking for.

Key Takeaways

Remember – you may also end up having more than one PQL eventually as your products grow and your tiers expand. Just go through this process again once you need to create a new PQL, and also review your existing PQL definitions regularly to ensure they’re still accurate.

If you have questions about how to create your own PQL definition or just want to talk product-led growth, feel free to ping me on Linkedin or via email at jorge (at)