Product-Led Growth Overview

As product transitions from a supporting role to lead actor, companies are transforming the way they communicate with users, nurture relationships, and understand user behavior. 

To stay ahead of the curve, innovative companies in every vertical have been transitioning away from traditional business methodologies and embracing the opportunities and challenges of product-led growth.

Part of this transition involves rethinking the user journey and the strategies teams use to affect it at every stage. To this end, leading companies have been embracing the shift from funnel to flywheel in order to fully realize the potential of product-led growth. 

We interviewed the fastest-growing B2B and B2C companies to learn and codify the commonalities in their approach. Our efforts culminated in the development of the Product-Led Growth Flywheel.



The Product-Led Growth Flywheel is a framework for growing your business by investing in a product-led user experience. In this framework, the experience is designed to generate higher user satisfaction and increased advocacy, which in turn drives compounding growth of new user acquisition.

It depicts 4 sequential user segments that correlate with stages in the user journey from awareness to evangelism—evaluator, beginner, regular, and champion—and the key actions that users need to take to graduate to the next stage—activate, adopt, adore, and advocate. 

The goal is to focus company- and team-level strategies on optimizing the user experience to move users from one stage to the next. As the rate of users completing each action increases, your flywheel will spin faster, increasing the rate that users move from one segment to the next. This creates a positive feedback loop: as more users become advocates, they drive more acquisition and growth increases exponentially.

In this playbook, we’ll walk you through how you can use the Appcues Product-Led Growth Platform to create delightful in-product experiences at every stage of the user journey to help your flywheel spin faster and generate compounding growth.

Each segment is discussed in more detail below.


Evaluators

Evaluators are new or free users with no prior experience with your product. These users are cautiously excited about your product as a solution to their problems. They’re probably evaluating a variety of solutions—including your competitors. 

Evaluators are typically:

  • In a trial or demo phase—they’ve just started playing around with your product
  • Haven’t connected their tech stack with your product
  • Not using your product in their current workflows
  • Still searching for a solution to a problem they are trying to solve

Your Goal

To guide users to their aha moment in a personalized way as quickly as possible. Let evaluators experience your product in action or show them around to help them get a basic understanding of its core functionality. 

When evaluators complete an activation event in your product and have realized your product’s initially promised value on their own, they seamlessly graduate to the next segment in the flywheel and become beginners. 

How to measure success

  • Activation rate
  • Time to value
  • Product-qualified leads
  • Free trial conversion (if applicable)

View the Playbook


Beginners

Beginners are activated users who understand how your product can meet their needs and deliver value—and they’re excited about it! They’re eager to learn more and are starting to explore your product’s features and functionality more deeply. 

Beginners are typically:

  • Starting to use real data and receiving tangible value
  • Not using advanced functionality or implementing sophisticated use cases
  • Feeling confident that your product is the best solution to solve their problem

Your Goal

To facilitate product adoption by helping users form habits and getting them to think of your product as the go-to solution for a certain problem or task. 

Product adoption means full buy-in—it’s when a user really understands the power of your product and depends on it regularly. Once they adopt your product, users become regulars.

How to measure success

  • Feature adoption
  • Time to value
  • Free trial conversion (if applicable)
  • Usage and retention (daily, weekly, monthly)

View the Playbook


Regulars

Regulars are the bread and butter of your user base. They log in frequently and rely on your product for multiple use cases. Regulars may not always get excited about using your product, but it has become key to achieving their goals. Switching to another solution would be costly because they have already invested time, effort, and data in your product.

Regular users are typically:

  • Incorporating your product into their workflows
  • Spending more time in your app
  • Using your product to complete core parts of their job
  • Defaulting to your product as a possible solution when new problems arise
  • Exploring deeper layers of your product to see what else your product help them do

Your Goal

To turn customer satisfaction into delight. You want to keep these users healthy and engaged by encouraging them to adopt new features, expand to new use cases, and provide feedback.

The goal here is more than just habitual usage or product adoption—it’s emotional. To move users through the flywheel, you need them to adore your product.

How to measure success 

  • Monthly active users
  • Monthly retention rate
  • Feature adoption and usage
  • Feedback frequency
  • NPS score 

View the Playbook


Champions

Champions are the users who recommend your product to their colleagues, friends, and social media followers. They have formed an emotional connection with your brand and your product—at this point in the relationship, you are providing value outside of the job to be done. 

These users want more capabilities and more power from your product—not because they necessarily require them, but because they love your product and are actively invested in your success. If you were to shut the doors tomorrow, they would be devastated. 

Champions are typically:

  • Actively participating in the future of your product by providing thorough feedback
  • Pushing the limits of your product with new use cases
  • NPS promoters 
  • Wearing your brand’s t-shirt

Your Goal

To close the loop by turning positive customer sentiment into tangible social proof, making it easier to acquire new users and keep the flywheel spinning.  The goal is to get your champions to advocate for your product.

How to measure success

  • NPS score: percentage of promoters
  • Product feedback
  • Number of online reviews
  • Referrals
  • New user acquisition
  • Case study opportunities

View the Playbook