The game of SaaS is afoot! And you’ve been looking for those game-winning Product Qualified Leads. Perhaps you’ve started building a PQL process already. Excellent! But there is still more that you can do. Here’s how to find your Product Qualified Leads with Sherlock.

What’s a PQL again?

A PQL is a lead that is qualified by actually engaging with your product. Because PQLs have used your product (and found it of utmost use), they are more likely to convert than MQLs or SQLs.

So, a PQL is a lead that has been successful with your product during a free trial period. But what does success mean for your SaaS product?

Generally speaking, it’s a combination of two things:

  • Activation: Is the trial account all set up? Have they reached first value?
  • Engagement: How engaged is a lead during the trial? How often are they using the product, especially the core features?

Demand for these insights continues to grow, but the execution is still hampered by:

  • Getting product engagement data in a format that can be easily used and understood by a sales team
  • Getting product engagement data in a place sales can easily take advantage of it

Before you start trying to overcome these challenges, you need a few ingredients to build your PQL process.

The 5 things you need to identify and take action on PQLs

1. Track and score product engagement

You can’t qualify an account based on product usage if you aren’t tracking product usage. So, if you aren’t tracking the most important actions (i.e. events) in your product for all of your users, go get that done. You can’t move forward without doing this.

But this is just a starting point. You should also be able to score and rank your users based on how frequently they use the important parts of your product. By scoring product engagement, you are assigning every user a score that quantifies their usage.

Product engagement data with this context is product engagement data your sales team can understand and take action on. Don’t dump a truckload of event data on your sales team and expect them to make sense of it. Won’t happen.

2. Track and score product engagement at the account-level

This one’s elementary, so much so that it’s very easily overlooked. As a SaaS business, you don’t sell software to individual users — you sell to teams, to organizations. To accounts. You need to be able to aggregate your product engagement data at the account-level. Without account-based scoring, your PQL process will become more frustrating than helpful and your sales team will likely abandon it.

3. Identify the most engaged users on each account

When working a sale, salespeople are always looking for the right “entry points” into an account. They look for people who are going to become their internal champions.

It’s why your sales team needs those insights into the engagement of each user on an account. The users most engaged with the product will become the “case studies” used to convince other decision makers within the business. This is key, key data for your sales team.

4. Track Activation Rates during the trial period

The goal of any trial process is to drive users and accounts toward “Activation.” Every product has a different definition of Activation, but it’s generally the three, four, five specific actions that allow a new account to experience “first value.”

A document sharing application might have an Activation checklist that looks something like:

  • Document created
  • Teammate signed-up
  • Document shared
  • Document edited
  • Comment created

A proper PQL process will include insights into the Activation progress for every trial account. Which accounts are fully Activated? Which ones are almost there? Which ones are way off? Your sales team needs the answers to these questions and your PQL process needs to be what answers them.

5. Easy access to all this essential data

Having product engagement data is one thing, but getting it in the hands of your sales team is another. If your sales team doesn’t have immediate access, they aren’t going to use it. That is why you need to have all this data packaged up in a way that it can be easily understood and easily shared with the tools your sales team is using regularly — this means your CRM or CRM-like tool (i.e. Intercom).

How to use Sherlock to Drive your PQL process

Egad! All this sounds like a lot of work. How will you figure out how to prioritize building this kind of system? Where will it integrate? Should you just build it in Salesforce? Can Segment do this? How will you fit this —

Just take a deep breath.

Sherlock is here to help you understand the engagement level of your users and accounts from first signup to conversion (and after). It does everything you need to shape your ideal PQL process.

  • Score and rank your users and accounts based on actual engagement with your product
  • Access insights into the engagement level of all users on each trial account
  • Track your trial users and accounts and their progress toward “first value” by defining “Activation” criteria
  • Connect these engagement scores and Activation rates to Salesforce, Intercom, Slack, and other platforms to give your sales team easy access to the data

For those looking for a step-by-step guide for setting up this process in Sherlock, here it is.

Step 1: Connect your product data with Sherlock

If you are using for your product data, you can simply flip a switch and have your product data sent to Sherlock immediately. Alternatively, you can start using Sherlock by implementing our custom tracking script.

Step 2: Set up your first scoring profile

This is part of the basic setup for Sherlock. This is where you will score the engagement of your product events and create your first Sherlock scoring model. Once you do this, all your users and accounts will automatically be scored based on how they are engaging with your product.

Step 3: Define Activation criteria for trial accounts

By defining what it means for an account to be “Activated”, you can start tracking the Activation rate of all your trial accounts. Activation rates will be displayed as a percentage (between 1-100%) based on what percentage of the activation criteria a user/account has met at any given time.

Step 4: Connect Sherlock with your other tools

By connecting Sherlock with other tools like Intercom, Salesforce, Hubspot, and others, you can get these insights to your sales team where they can take action.

You will send Engagement scores and Activation rates for all your accounts and users to these other tools. Your users and accounts will also be tagged with any Sherlock segments into which they fall.

Step 5 (Bonus): Set up Sherlock Alerts

When your sales team is working a list of leads, they need to know when there’s an important status change in “real-time.” They need to be able to act quickly on any important activity — like a change in Activation status. Make sure you set up Sherlock Alerts so your team knows when an account reaches a certain level of Activation.

Stop reading and start building — your PQLs are waiting

At this point, you should have everything you need to build a PQL process that will help your sales team find and convert the best leads. You have all the essential data points on account and user engagement, Activation, and adoption. And you have ways to give your sales team easy access to this data.

Now all you have to do is build the internal process around this data. It’s an obvious fact: this will vary based on your existing team and process, but one thing is sure – you can’t wait any longer on this. If, at this point, you don’t have a PQL process in place – or you have a very poor one – you’re already losing the game of SaaS. Your competitors are already implementing PQL processes and making their sales teams more efficient. Join them, won’t you?