The Ultimate Guide to the Product Led Growth Flywheel

Aug 4, 2022
min read

What do a typewriter and a sales-dominant business strategy have in common? 🤔

They’re outdated and have been replaced by better alternatives. 

The typical sales-led growth strategy is now replaced by product-led growth!

The typical sales-led growth strategy is now replaced by product-led growth!

But the product-led growth flywheel model is very different from a traditional funnel! 

It helps SaaS companies consider user experience in its entirety and fully realize their product-led growth strategy. 🎖️

So what exactly is the product-led growth flywheel all about? 

And more importantly, how can you implement it?

In this article, we’ll explain what a product-led growth flywheel is, along with its key user segments and actions. We’ll also introduce you to a powerful tool that can help you implement it with ease! 

Let’s begin!

What is a Product-Led Growth Flywheel?

What is a Product-Led Growth Flywheel?

In a sales-led strategy, the product marketing and sales team is the driving force behind growth. On the other hand, product led strategy (PLG strategy) is all about the product spearheading customer acquisition, retention, and monetization.

Read our article on Product Led Growth vs Sales Led Growth for more!

The product led growth flywheel is a business framework built around product led growth.

The model has four user segments:

  • Evaluators
  • Beginners
  • Regulars
  • Champions

And four key user actions:

  • Activate
  • Adopt
  • Adore
  • Advocate.

But how are these components related?

Think of the product led growth flywheel as a game with four levels. The ‘evaluators’ is the first, and ‘champions’ is the final level. To go from one level to the next, your product’s users must take an ‘action’. 

So to move from ‘evaluators’ to ‘beginners,’ your users must be ‘activated’. To go from ‘beginners’ to ‘regulars,’ they must ‘adopt’ your product, and so on.

Easy peasy, right?

But what do these user segments mean? And how can you get users to take action?

But what do these user segments mean? And how can you get users to take action?

Let’s dig into the details! 

Four User Segments and Actions in a Product-Led Growth Flywheel

Here’s a complete guide to the four main customer segments and actions:

1. Evaluators

As a PLG company, your goal is to be best friends with your users.

Cue the Friends theme song. 😉

Unfortunately, when users first discover your product, they’re complete strangers! These evaluators are sizing you up. 👀

Unfortunately, when users first discover your product, they’re complete strangers! These evaluators are sizing you up. 👀

What are they like?

Evaluators are:

  • In a trial phase and are using the freemium or free plan.
  • Searching for a SaaS solution to a problem they’re trying to solve.
  • Not using your product in their existing workflows. At least not yet! 😉

What do they expect from your product?

Evaluators want a crystal clear path to solving a specific problem.

They don’t care about your product's nuances. They're laser-focused on whether your product solves their pressing needs.

Ease of use, core functionality, and unique features – they want it all but don’t want to work hard to find it!

Providing Evaluators Value Through Activation

Activation looks different for every PLG company. 

But at its core, activation happens when users see your product’s value and experience a critical ‘aha!’ moment.

Picture trying to solve a math problem for over an hour and suddenly figuring out the solution. 🤩. That’s the moment you want to create for users!

Post this user experience, activated users willingly invest time and energy into your product. 

But how do you identify your product’s aha! moment?

You can:

  • Ensure your PLG strategy focuses on product usage data like usage frequency and bug reports.
  • Train customer support or customer success teams to interview users 
  • Conduct user testing for product growth and more.

Frictionless user onboarding is also a key component contributing to successful activation for new users. If friction is added to any step in the onboarding process, new users can move out of your product’s onboarding flow immediately. 

This can lead to a bad product experience, lost revenue growth and will be the end of your product led flywheel.   

Read our Product-Led Onboarding article for more!

2. Beginners

Once activated, your evaluators move to the next phase of the flywheel (or should we say friendship chronicles? 🤭). 

Beginners think you have a great product and want to be friends. 

But they’re still constantly comparing you to competitors, who may be using product led and marketing led growth strategies to woo them!

These folks are in-demand, alright!


What are they like?

Beginners are:

  • Integrating your product into key workflows.
  • Using real data and receiving tangible value.
  • Only experimenting with basic use cases.
  • Almost certain that your product is the best solution.

What do they expect from your product?

Beginners aren't in love yet but show signs of commitment to your product! 💘

They’re keen on learning the additional benefits of your product beyond their initial use case. But it won’t be long before they're thinking about investment returns.

These folks are likely to be most interested in your best practices recommendations.

Driving Beginners Towards Adoption

Product adoption means a full buy-in! 💸

This is when a user truly understands your product’s power and depends on it regularly.

Just like how you can't get enough of a new coffee brew anymore

Because you’ve adapted and habitualized it!

This adoption happens when you get users to believe you have a great product and use it for specific tasks without a second thought.

But how do you get them to adopt?

Product development, customer success, and customer acquisition teams are responsible for this phase in the user journey. They can drive product adoption by making the customer journey frictionless and answering product-related questions swiftly.

The goal is to get the user to see that the product caters to their use case. 

3. Regulars

Back to the friendship journal. Once your user is a regular, they’re your homies, mates, comrades, partners-in-crime! You get the idea?


What are they like?

Regulars are:

  • Existing customers who are logging in regularly.
  • Using your product to work on core activities.
  • Defaulting to your product when new problems arise.
  • Exploring layers of your product to see what else it can do.

What do they want from your product?

As existing customers, these folks are your product’s bread and butter. 🧈

They're easily frustrated by friction and are most likely to be disturbed by a redesign. 

So are these folks just irritable? 🤔

Nope! They’re easily bothered because your product is likely integrated into their workflows. As a result, new product development, product-related issues and bugs will hurt their productivity and bottom line.

But regulars can also be a valuable source of feedback! They’re likely to have opinions about new directions for your product team—building integrations, use cases, features, etc.

Getting Regulars to Adore Your Product

Users who adore your product truly enjoy using it! You find them pushing your product's limits throughout their customer journey and further integrating it into their workflows.

You want to consult this customer segment about the short and long-term product roadmaps for your product led company.

But how are you going to get regulars to adore your product?

Unfortunately, it isn’t an overnight PLG motion. 😥

Adoration comes from a consistently delightful customer experience–a result of positive product experience and interactions with your customer success teams.

4. Champions

Once your user transitions from a regular to a champion, you’re the Rachel to their Monica (aka the unanimously agreed upon highest order of friendship!).


What are they like?

Champions are:

  • Actively participating in your product growth roadmaps.
  • Constantly experimenting with new use cases and may need some customer support.
  • Contributing towards a higher net promoter score (NPS).
  • Happy customers endorsing your product like it’s their baby! 🍼

What do they expect from your product?

Champions enjoy feeling like a partner to your product led company. They’re excited and often expect to be the first group to try new features and provide feedback.

This group is invaluable because they want to:

  • Participate in case studies
  • Leave glowing product reviews
  • Be a reference for prospective customers, and more.

Driving Users to Become Advocates

Here’s the thing: a little nudge can get your champions to become your product's advocates.

Depending on your product, advocacy can be:

  • A private dialogue between the user and your product team.
  • Giving champions access to never-seen-before product features.
  • Encouraging them to participate in case studies, customer experience surveys, user acquisition campaigns, etc.

But how can you keep up with these complex phases in the flywheel?

Next, we’re looking at a tool to help you seamlessly grow using the product led growth flywheel framework.

Make the Most of The Product Led Growth Flywheel with Toplyne

Now you’re probably wondering what role Toplyne plays in this ‘best buddies situation,’ right?

Well, Toplyne is the awesome matchmaker between your users and your product.

Make the Most of The Product Led Growth Flywheel with Toplyne

We promise you won’t be called an idiot sandwich. 🥲

But how can Toplyne help?

Moving to a product led flywheel model is all about shifting your focus from a sales qualified lead to a product qualified lead. A product qualified lead is someone that’s already proven their interest in using your product.

But a successful PLG motion leads to thousands and millions of active users! 

How are you going to find your bestie? 💔

Meet Toplyne!

Toplyne helps product led businesses automate the process of identifying happy customers and determining what go-to-market (GTM) strategies will work best for each lead.

The tool serves as a layer between your siloed data sources and your GTM systems. Toplyne converts your existing product usage data into highly functional customer segments, and sends them to your existing GTM apps for experimentation! 

Toplyne: Your GTM orchestration layer
Toplyne: Your GTM orchestration layer

With Toplyne, you can:

  • Integrate with your CRMs (Salesforce, Hubspot), customer engagement platforms (Braze), and product analytics infrastructures (Amplitude, Segment, etc).
Integrate to your product analytics in seconds
Integrate to your product analytics in seconds
  • Perform lead scoring to segment users/teams/accounts into Promising Users, New Users, Hibernating Users, Champion Users, Needs Attention, and About to Sleep.
Target cohorts built based on user behavior
Target cohorts built based on user behavior
  • Rapidly experiment and deploy various GTM motions at scale, including sales, outbound and inbound marketing strategy like a sale call, webinar, a sales demo, automated messaging, in-product nudges, etc.
Pick your GTM poison
Pick your GTM poison

The best part? 

Leading SaaS companies like Canva, InVideo, and OpenPhone are already using Toplyne to ace product-led growth!

Toplyne: Your PLG Flywheel Matchmaker 👭

Gone are the days of sales-dominant growth strategies. Almost every SaaS company is now focusing on recurring revenue by moving from a traditional marketing funnel to a PLG flywheel. 

Don’t get us wrong, sales and product marketing are still key growth components. 

But companies have realized that adopting a product led growth strategy with a sales team as a supporting element skyrockets revenue growth!

So if you’re looking to transition to a flywheel model, use Toplyne to filter out high intent users that are most likely to befriend and champion your product.

And if you’re still not convinced, sign up for Toplyne for free today to experience the friendship of a lifetime!

Toplyne: Your PLG Flywheel Matchmaker
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