How to Think About & Implement the PQL

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Written by: Jen Igartua

I’ve been working in RevOps for more than 10 years now. I started my career as a marketing automation consultant, and my opinion is this: the work hasn’t really changed. Sure, we have new frameworks and more capabilities. But the theory is still the same, and so are our goals. 

PLG (product-led growth) is currently the new hot acronym, but we’ve been doing this work for a long time. I remember implementing PQL logic with our customer, Twilio, back in 2016. Here is what we were thinking about back then:

  • How do we identify individuals who are ready to engage in a human-led sales conversation?
  • How do we do this without annoying paying self-serve customers and ruining the experience?
  • How do we get the right data to the sales team so they can have intelligent value-add conversations?
  • How do we structure the data model so other teams can also use this information (i.e. marketing campaigns, CS alerts)?

The biggest learn I have from implementing PQL funnels at different sized organizations is that it is a source of a qualified lead–not much different than a contact us form, an engaged lead, or a named account. 

These things are also not mutually exclusive. 

An individual can be using your product, and then submit a contact us form or ask for a demo of a new feature. In fact, we may even push them to do so in-product. 

So, some things to consider:

  1. Think of MQLs/PQLs and any other QLs as individuals who are ready for a human conversation. This definition is only broadening (some CS teams are already being routed folks who need a conversation in the same way!)
  2. Use existing lead handoff processes to add PQL flows. Don’t over-engineer this; keep it simple for the sales team. 
  3. Give access to product information (this may require an implementation) and be very deliberate about data points. If you go too broad, it becomes noisy. 
  4. PQLs (and MQLs) are not a simple, one-time definition. You will have several. You can have definitions based on engagement in product broken out by their role, company size, etc. You can have definitions for the account in general (PQAs) which look at how many departments, or users there are. You can have definitions for expansions and even early renewals or renewal risk. And this should keep changing. 

As you think about implementing a PQL model, don’t be afraid to make hypotheses and start testing them. It may feel like a huge change, but ultimately, it’s another kind of GTM motion that can work with your existing motions to generate more qualified leads and drive more revenue.