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Optimizing Your PLG Motion: Sales SLAs for Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)

February 19, 2023
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023

Are you struggling to get the most out of your Product Led Growth (PLG) motion?

You’re not alone.

Many SaaS companies have begun incorporating Product Led Growth into their overall GTM strategies.

But what about introducing a sales-assist into the mix? How do you create effective Sales Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Product Qualified Leads or Accounts?

At the heart of PLG lies an understanding of Product Qualified Leads (PQLs); these are users who have self-qualified based on their engagement and adoption of the product and its features.

Ensuring these leads convert into paying customers requires setting up a set of SLAs to ensure their success in the product.

This is no small task.

It involves understanding the key metrics surrounding PQLs, collaborating between teams, and continuously refining SLAs over time.

In this blog post, we will explore how to optimize your PLG motion by creating effective SLAs for PQLs.

We will cover the importance of understanding PQLs and their associated product usage data, the right metrics to track during customer acquisition, collaboration between sales, marketing, and customer success groups, and ongoing monitoring of customer expectations.

Finally, we’ll discuss how Parative can help enhance your SLAs for maximum ROI on your efforts.

Let's dive in by looking a bit deeper into the concept of Product Qualified Leads.

Understanding PQLs and their role in PLG

Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) are essential to a successful Product Led Growth (PLG) motion. PQLs are potential customers who have engaged with your product, shown genuine interest, and are ready to learn more about it and its benefits.

These customers are ideal for handoff to your sales team, who can then work on converting them into paying customers.

While, traditionally, Product Led Growth has been considered an entirely hands-off Go-to-Market motion in which free users will self-qualify and convert on their own, this is not entirely true.

Introducing a sales-assist motion into a Product Led Growth model has proven highly successful for companies, especially those with a higher price point product.

Colloquially, this has been referred to as "Product Led Sales," though it is increasingly becoming a standard part of any PLG strategy.

In fact, a survey in 2021 found that nearly 60% of companies that consider themselves PLG stated that they included a sales team as part of their strategy.

On top of that, a further 43% stated they were in the process of adding, or planning to add, a sales motion to their PLG strategy.

Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) become even more critical for the sales-assist to be effective.

Identifying PQLs

To identify PQLs, you must measure the level of engagement each customer has with your product.

This helps you determine which customers have reached a certain level of understanding of your product, making them ideal candidates for handoff to the sales team.

The criteria for identifying PQLs will vary depending on your business model and goals.

An example is a company that sells an enterprise SaaS solution. Their PQL criteria might include customers who have used at least four features or spent more than 30 minutes using the software within one week to indicate high engagement and interest.

In addition, PQLs will take into account firmographic data, such as ICP and persona fit.

As a result of this, some companies now look at Product Qualified Accounts (PQAs) rather than just PQLs.

Closing Deals with PQLs

Once you've identified potential PQLs, it's time to move them down the sales funnel toward conversion.

It's vital to ensure that these leads receive personalized attention from the sales team so they can better understand how the product can benefit them specifically.

This means providing tailored content, such as webinars or case studies that address their individual needs.  

This is also where a Sales SLA comes into play.  

In PLG, a Sales SLA should clearly define expectations between sales reps and customer success teams when working together on closing deals with these qualified leads.

This could include setting goals for response times for follow-up emails or calls and outlining roles and responsibilities regarding customer onboarding processes or support inquiries from potential customers.

Having clear expectations upfront helps ensure that all parties know exactly what is expected from them when closing deals with qualified leads.

By understanding PQLs and their role in PLG motion, customer success leaders can ensure they focus on engaging potential customers who have already demonstrated an interest in learning more about their product or services - helping close deals faster and increasing customer acquisition rates.

Establishing the Right Metrics for Sales SLAs

As leaders of a Customer Success or Revenue organization, creating Sales SLAs that measure meaningful value and ensure quality assurance is essential.

To do this, you must identify key metrics, define SLA targets and objectives, and use analytical methods to determine an initial value.

When it comes to creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for Product Qualified Leads (PQLs), here are some of the metrics you should consider:

Lead Response Time

Research has shown that conversion rates increase by as much as 8x when lead response time is less than five minutes.

So, establishing a lead response time SLA is essential for tracking the success of PQLs.

According to Forbes, the average lead response time for B2B is 47 hours, but depending on your product data and criteria, you may want to set a shorter or longer lead response time goal.

Lead Conversion Rate

Lead conversion rate measures how many leads become customers and is an important metric when creating PQL SLAs.

You can track this by using analytics tools like Google Analytics or Salesforce to measure how many leads reach the customer stage in your sales funnel.

This will help you understand which leads are most likely to convert into customers.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is another key metric for measuring the success of PQLs.

Tracking customer satisfaction involves collecting customer feedback about their experience with your product or service.

You can survey customers or use customer service platforms like Zendesk and Intercom to collect feedback and monitor customer satisfaction levels.

By establishing metrics such as lead response time, lead conversion rate, and customer satisfaction, you can effectively create Sales SLAs for Product Qualified Leads and ensure that your team provides meaningful value to customers.

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The Importance of Cross-Team Collaboration

As an organizational leader, you must understand the importance of team collaboration when creating sales SLAs for PQLs.

As a SaaS company, your marketing, product, sales, and customer success teams should work together to identify and capture qualified leads.

In fact, companies that have strong alignment between their sales and marketing teams are 67% more effective at closing deals than those that don't.

That's why encouraging cross-functional collaboration is so essential to get the most out of your lead generation strategy.

Here are some ways your teams can collaborate effectively:

  • The marketing team can provide insights into what kind of queries customers are searching for when engaging with your product or service.
  • The product team can help ensure the designed features align with customer needs and interests.
  • The sales team can ensure those qualified leads are nurtured and converted into paying customers promptly.
  • Lastly, the customer success team can ensure that those customers receive a high-quality post-conversion experience.

By working together as one unit, teams can leverage each other’s strengths to create an effective system for identifying and converting qualified leads into loyal customers.

Monitoring and Refining Sales SLAs

Sales SLAs are an important part of any customer success strategy, but they must be continuously monitored and refined to be effective.

Regularly monitoring and refining your Sales SLAs can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that your sales team is working efficiently and effectively.

Analyzing product usage data, performance metrics, and customer expectations can provide valuable insights into how your PQLs are being converted into paying customers.

Using analytical methods such as predictive models based on product data, you can create a more accurate picture of which leads will convert into sales.

Here are some tips for monitoring and refining your Sales SLAs:

  • Track metrics regularly: Use real-time metrics to track how well your sales team performs against their goals. This will help identify areas where they need help or additional resources.
  • Analyze product usage data: Analyze product usage data to understand better the behavior of potential customers who qualify as PQLs. This can provide valuable insight into which leads are likely to convert into sales so that you can focus on those leads first.
  • Refine Service Level Management (SLM) processes: Review your existing SLM processes to identify areas for improvement or changes that need to be made for them to be more effective.
  • Get feedback from customers: Ask customers for feedback about their experience with your Sales SLAs so that you can make any necessary adjustments or improvements.

By monitoring and refining your Sales SLAs regularly, you can ensure that your sales team is working efficiently and effectively and that your PQLs are being converted into paying customers.

Outreach Strategies and Communication Protocols for Sales Reps

Consistent messaging for Sales reps to communicate with Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) is key to maximizing customer acquisition and revenue.

Here's what you should know about outreach strategies and communication protocols for Sales reps:

Channels for Reaching PQLs

Sales reps should use multiple channels to contact PQLs, including email, phone, or video conferencing.

This will help ensure that they can reach the right audience in a timely manner.

Interpreting Customer Signals

The Sales SLA should include rules for interpreting customer signals so that Sales reps can take timely action.

This will help ensure that the messaging is consistent across the board and that they take the right steps to close deals.

Collaboration Across Teams

Collaboration between teams such as Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success is essential in creating a unified outreach strategy.

These teams should work together to create an approach that best suits the company's needs and goals.  

Best Practices for Responding to PQLs

Sales reps should follow best practices when responding to PQLs to maintain a positive customer experience throughout the sales cycle.

This includes being mindful of their tone and language, being responsive, and providing helpful resources throughout the process.

By following these guidelines, companies can optimize their motion within the sales SLA framework and ensure that their Sales reps are successfully effectively communicating with PQLs.

Using Parative to Enhance Sales SLAs

Parative is a Revenue Scoring Engine designed to help businesses understand and predict customer likelihood to buy more or churn.

With Parative, businesses can connect customer data sources and unify records, delivering scores directly to their CRM. This allows them to segment customers, identify signals that predict revenue opportunities, automate an action, and alert teams when needed.

It’s quick and easy to set up – with expert support, businesses can implement Parative in just 15-30 days. After that, they can leverage its insights for product-led growth (PLG), SaaS products, revenue case studies, intent buying intent, product experiences, PQL strategies, paying customers, and more.

Here’s how you can use Parative to enhance your sales service level agreement (SLA):

  • Unify Customer Data Sources: Parative allows you to connect all of your customer data sources – from CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot Sales Hub to analytics tools like Pendo – into one unified platform. This makes it easier for your product team to get the insights they need quickly and accurately.
  • Identify Revenue Opportunities: With Parative’s powerful algorithms, you can easily segment customers by their likelihood of buying more or churn. This helps you identify revenue opportunities and increase profitability over time.
  • Automate Action & Alert Teams: When an opportunity arises, or an issue appears on the horizon, Parative will automatically alert your team so they can take action. This helps ensure that your SLA is met consistently without any manual effort from you or your team.

With Parative’s help, businesses can optimize their sales SLAs for maximum efficiency.

By connecting customer data sources into one unified platform and leveraging its powerful algorithms for segmentation and automation, businesses can increase profits while ensuring that their SLA is met consistently over time.


Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) are crucial to any product-led growth (PLG) strategy.

By creating and maintaining effective Sales Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for PQLs, businesses can optimize their sales process, increase revenue growth, and improve customer success.

Parative is a powerful tool that can help you enhance your Sales SLAs for PQLs by providing performance metrics, customer expectations, and product usage data.

With Parative, you can prioritize leads based on readiness to buy and gain insight into the effectiveness of your SLAs.

To achieve the best results from your Sales SLAs for PQLs, it’s important to establish the right metrics, foster collaboration between teams, monitor and refine SLAs continuously, and utilize tools like Parative to maximize performance.

These steps will help ensure that your PLG motion is optimized for success.

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Mark Lerner

Head of Marketing @ Parative, the Customer Behavior Platform. SaaS enthusiast, B2B Marketing Specialist, Startup Survivalist. Dad x2.

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