Lead qualification strategies work to reach the right customers and get them to buy. Product-qualified leads take a product-forward approach to lead qualification, building strategies that help potential customers not only find and engage with your product or service but effectively sell themselves on the benefits. By utilizing a product-qualified lead strategy, businesses can maximize sales through leads with the highest practical potential.

Ranking and Refining Leads

Successful businesses employ a robust assortment of marketing tools to build lead generation and brand awareness. Digital markets provide vast opportunities to reach customers, but the sheer size of the arena requires a more focused approach to locate potential customers and catch their interest. The marketplace generates immeasurable competition for consumer attention, so sales teams must refine their sales process in order to generate stronger, more effective leads.

Lead generation seeks to transition potential customers into prospective customers, converting people who may benefit from your product or service into people who have developed awareness of and interest in the benefits of those offerings. The next step then takes the prospective customer and seeks to transition them into qualified leads, meaning people are more likely to become paying customers.

Qualified leads allow you to focus resources on the most attainable sales efforts. “Qualified” in this sense means measured and evaluated by points of connection and sales probability. Sales teams use qualified leads to limit marketing efforts, saving resources by selecting target audiences with the highest probability of completing a purchase.

Product-qualified leads, therefore, refine the understanding of lead type even further. By using marketing techniques that not only show but share your product with prospective customers, you persuade customers to sell themselves on the product. Opportunities that provide consumers with first-hand experience and help them find the value of your product form the foundation of a product-qualified lead strategy.

Hallmarks of Product-Qualified Leads (PQL)

Every business model operates under different conditions and constraints. This requires the broader definition of “product-qualified lead” to allow flexibility in each situation, so defining the criteria that classify a product-qualified lead from other lead types varies from one business to the next. Inside the specification, however, two main factors carry the bulk of what a true product-qualified lead requires.

Product Engagement

The product-forward method of qualifying a lead depends on metrics that track product usage and product engagement. While the former identifies individual users who tried your product, the list that downloaded a free trial, for example, the latter reports how much they used it, what features they used, and other details of user interaction. This data identifies leads that strongly engage with the product.

Activation Rate

The activation rate shows the level of interaction with a product through specific target completion. When a user performs a certain action from your product’s primary function list, that item shows up as a percentage of activation.

For example, sending an email marks an activation target for an email user. Receiving email, archiving, blocking, and other functions of the email account serve as increased activation, raising the user’s activation rate. When the user works through the list of every key action or service the product provides, their activation rate would reach 100%.

Fully activated users rank high as product-qualified leads but don’t exclude partial activations. Look to the data to determine the “break point” for setting a minimum activation rate that advances a product-qualified lead.

Product-Qualified Lead Generation Strategies

Today’s prospective customers need to see the value in your product before they commit. Cost-conscious and value-seeking customers want assurance from the start, so they won’t purchase your product without knowing what they’ll get for their money and how much it’ll help them. This try-before-buying approach seems limiting, but product-qualified leads let you leverage these open-handed approaches into amplified sales.

Free Limited Service

Providing pared-down versions of the product gives users a teaser of the product’s utility. This lets you hook users through free access while holding back the highest-value features. As users explore and reap the benefits of the free service, they inevitably reach chokepoints to those high-value features, enticing them to purchase the upgrade.

Free Trials

Similarly, free trial downloads offer the full product for a limited time. This allows users full access to the product at no cost and encourages users to fully experience and rely on the value your product offers.

Free services give you access to customer data through account registrations and use trackers. Once filtered and evaluated, this data offers a constant stream of product-qualified leads.

Product-Qualified Leads Become Long-Term Success

Getting your product noticed and into the customer’s hands lets you jump-start your business. Early success breeds long-term success, as customers commit to, rely on, and share your product with their cohorts. Developing product-qualified leads through lead nurturing strategies opens up stronger sales opportunities with highly refined marketing strategies for your ideal customer base.

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