Customer Success Qualified Lead: What Is a CSQL & How To Use It To Drive Revenue Growth?

Customer Success Qualified Lead: What Is a CSQL & How To Use It To Drive Revenue Growth? cover

Have you ever used Customer Success Qualified Lead (CSQL) to drive product growth and increase your revenue? If not, then you’re missing out!

In this article, we’ll go over what a know what customer-qualified lead is, why it’s important to track them and how can this help increase revenue.

Let’s get started!


  • Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs) are leads sourced from existing customers with the potential to become long-term, profitable customers.
  • CSQLs differ from Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) in a few ways like CSQLs have higher lifetime value (LTV) and require less oversight than the other two do.
  • CSQLs are essential for SaaS companies as they are cheap but high-converting and generate lean revenue.
  • You can identify CSQLs by using a welcome screen to collect customer data and segment them later to personalize their experience.
  • Other methods include tracking product usage to understand customer behavior, and sending NPS surveys to measure loyalty and satisfaction.
  • You can drive revenue growth with CSQLs by using modals to prompt account upgrades, offering premium feature trials, rewarding loyal customers, and offering limited deals to create the FOMO effect.

What is Customer Success Qualified Lead (CSQL)?

A Customer success qualified lead (CSQL) is a lead sourced from the existing customer base with a solid potential to become a profitable and long-term customer.

Customer Success Qualified Lead (CSQL)
Customer Success Qualified Lead (CSQL).

Customer success qualified lead (CSQL) vs Marketing qualified lead (MQL) vs Product qualified lead (PQL)

It is critical to properly segment leads to offer each the right reason to choose you over your competitors. Let’s see what CSQL, MQL, and PQL are.

A Customer success qualified lead (CSQL) has a high potential to be a successful long-term customer and it’s sourced from the existing customer base.

A MQL is a lead that the marketing team has qualified as having demonstrated intent/interest in your product, and is ready for sales to follow up on.

A product-qualified lead (PQL) is someone who has first-hand experience with a product as a result of a free trial, a limited feature model, or any other type of initial use.

The key differences among them are:

  • CSQLs are sourced from customer success, while MQLs and PQLs are the results of proper product marketing and in-app engagement.
  • MQLs are at or near the top of the sales funnel, PQLs are one step beyond, and CSQLs are generally further along in the sales process.
  • MQLs and PQLs require more support and oversight from the sales and marketing team, while CSQLs are the low-hanging fruits and the best opportunities for upsells so they require special attention.
  • CSQLs have a higher lifetime value (LTV) since they actively use the product and are likely to continue doing so.

How is a customer success-qualified lead generated?

Every customer success team (aka CS team) typically identifies CSQLs by using different strategies. They are generated from a few different sources, such as:

  • Upselling: You can upsell existing customers by offering new pricing tiers or add-ons to their current product or service.
  • Cross-selling: You can cross-sell existing customers additional products or services complementing their current ones.
  • Selling to different divisions: You can sell a product to several divisions within the same parent account.
  • Referrals: You can get CSQLs through referrals from existing satisfied customers who recommend the product to others.

Why are customer success-qualified leads essential for SaaS companies?

Customer success qualified leads (CSQLs) are crucial for SaaS businesses because they help retain customers and generate lean revenue from the existing customer base. Let’s see how CSQLs can contribute to your SaaS company’s growth.

CSQLs are cheap but high converting

CSQLs are low-cost, high-converting leads because they are from an existing customer or a referral. They are either aware of or have some connection with your product and are more likely to upsell, cross-sell, or refer others. Generating CSQLs can help you increase your paid conversion rate.

The average conversion rate for CSQLs is often higher because your existing customers generate them. Customer-centric organizations need to leverage an effective lead-generation process like CSQL to drive business growth.

If your company is producing lots of CSQLs, you can be sure that your company is in a strong position.

CSQLs make customer success, marketing, and sales team aligned

CSQLs can align your teams to offer valuable insights into your customers’ preferences and wants. As customer success managers (CSMs) work to understand the customer journey with the product, they can look out for new opportunities to offer customers.

CSMs can share their insights about customer pain points and advise salespeople on the right solution for a customer’s needs.

While trying to produce and secure CSQLs, you can see your customer success, marketing, and sales teams aligned to improve customer relationships.

CSQLs are an excellent source for upsell and cross-sell opportunities

Upselling and cross-selling can be helpful ways to increase revenue while improving customer relationships. They also drive account expansion.

Since CSQLs are already engaged with your product, they know its offerings and value. That’s why they are your biggest opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, as they are more likely to make upgrades, get additional standalone products, etc.

How can customer success teams identify CSQLs?

Let’s go through some actions your CS team members can take to generate CSQLs.

Here we go!

Use welcome screens to capture important customer data

You can use welcome screens to greet customers and collect essential data about their use cases. This data can help you better understand your customers and create personalized interactive walkthroughs to improve the onboarding process.

By personalizing the in-app flows, you can boost customer engagement and make customers happy by providing them with relevant in-app content. These satisfied customers are your CSQLs, who are likely to spend more on the product.

Kontentino Welcome Screen
Kontentino welcome screen.

Track product usage and understand the behavior of existing customers

You can track product usage and understand the behavior of existing customers to find opportunities to generate more CSQLs. While doing so, you can see what customers are doing in the app and which features they interact with most. It can help you find ways to upsell and cross-sell your product.

Also try to track clicks, hovers, and text inputs to gain powerful insights into customer behavior. Understand what the customer journey looks like and uncover friction points that are blocking customers from going further.

Tagging feature by Userpilot.

Send NPS surveys to measure customer loyalty and collect feedback

You can send Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to identify detractors, passives, and promoters among your customer base. So you can understand whether your product meets customer needs by reviewing customers’ scores. Moreover, it provides a clear idea of the level of customer satisfaction and what needs improvement.

Adding an NPS follow-up question is an excellent strategy to get more insights into the customer experience and the pain points or challenges of customers.

But more importantly, try to identify loyal customers or promoters, as they are more likely to upgrade their existing products. You can offer them contextual upsells and cross-sells to generate and secure more CSQLs.

NPS analytics dashboard in Userpilot
NPS analytics dashboard in Userpilot

Segment customers based on in-app behavior and engagement

When you have done all the above steps, you must have enough customer data to generate CSQLs. Using the data, you can segment customers based on their in-app behavior and engagement and offer more personalized and contextual offerings to the CSQLs.

Userpilot’s advanced segmentation functionality helps you accurately do behavioral segmentation. It puts customers into groups based on their common characteristics, such as feature usage, feedback, engagement levels, satisfaction levels, etc., to help you build long-term relationships with customers and generate more revenue.

Smarter Segmentation - Userpilot
Smarter segmentation – Userpilot.

How to drive revenue growth with CSQLs?

Now let’s look at how you can generate revenue and drive your company’s growth with CSQLs.

Let’s dive deep!

Use modals to prompt account upgrades contextually

You can use modals as an effective tool to prompt account upgrades contextually and drive revenue through customer expansion strategies. It lets you target customers with relevant offers when they have reached a particular milestone with the product.

Besides that, you can track specific events within the app and use tooltips or UI modals to present upgrade offers to the customer.

Setting limitations and triggering upgrade prompts when customers reach those limits can help you drive monthly recurring expansion through customer expansion strategies.

If a customer is using a basic version of the product with some features unavailable, try triggering an upgrade prompt when the customer attempts to access an unavailable feature.

Contextual Upsell Opportunity - Loom
Contextual upsell opportunity – Loom.

Offer premium feature trials to drive expansion

In some situations, you can showcase an upgrade’s value to the customer most straightforwardly by offering a free trial. It allows users to test the upgraded features before they pay to unlock them.

It encourages more customers to upgrade from freemium to premium by realizing the upgrade’s offerings.

As an example, we can look at Asana. It never hides the features reserved for premium accounts and uses them as a hook to get more freemium users on premium trials. This strategy has resulted in high upgrade rates and increased the trial-to-paid conversion rate.

Feature Trial - Asana
Feature trial – Asana.

Reward loyal customers and encourage referrals

You can start a loyalty program as a great way to show customers you appreciate their support and patronage. It can help create a long-term relationship between the company and its customers by building customer confidence and encouraging them to become repeat customers.

Your programs can include discounts, special offers, and other incentives to make customers feel appreciated. You can also reward loyal customers with referrals so they will recommend your product to their friends and colleagues.

Referrals can bring new customers and potential CSQLs, as CSQLs aren’t limited to upsells and cross-sales.

Customer Loyalty Program - Dropbox
Customer loyalty program – Dropbox.

Offer limited deals to create the FOMO effect

Another excellent strategy is to offer limited deals to create a FOMO (fear of missing out) effect among customers and drive the conversion rate. If you can present an offer as a good deal or a steal that won’t be available at any other time, you can create a sense of urgency and persuade more customers to take your desired action.

Additionally, limited deals can save customers the mental effort of trying to justify their decision. Many customers will jump at the opportunity to take advantage of a limited deal, particularly if you can trigger it at the right point in their customer journey.

Limited Time Deals Upsell Opportunity
Limited-time deals are an upsell opportunity.


By identifying and securing CSQLs, you can retain customers for the long haul and drive lean revenue growth from your existing customer base.

The more you prioritize CSQLs, the more you will have long-term, profitable customers.

Want to track in-app user behavior, segment customers, and identify CSQLs code-free? Book a demo call with our team and get started!

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