Slack, Calendly, and Dropbox are all companies known for their incredibly rapid growth. They didn’t do it by hiring huge sales teams or spending more on paid advertising than their competitors. They leveraged their products to deliver frictionless, highly-relevant experiences that fuel user growth and monetization.
There’s a term for this approach—you’ve probably heard of it by now. I’m talking about product-led growth (PLG). PLG is the idea that your product does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to acquisition, expansion, and overall business growth. It’s efficient, it’s effective, and most importantly, it’s what users want. But for too many business leaders, PLG feels like a pipe dream.
Because the SaaS world has spent the last few years idolizing pure-play PLG startups flaunting freemium motions and viral loops. So much so that many businesses have been discouraged from even trying to adopt product-led principles and tactics, despite the well-documented benefits.
At the same time, PLG is often presented as a quick fix to growth problems. In reality, becoming a world-class product-led company is a transformational journey that could take years! You don’t go from being a sales-led business one day, then suddenly flip the “PLG switch” and BOOM, you’re now a product-led company.
Make no mistake about it: PLG isn’t one-size-fits-all, nor is it an exclusive label reserved for hardcore devotees. Any company can—and should—take incremental steps to become more product-led in their approach. And no, having a free trial or freemium is not a prerequisite.
Of course, this could inspire more questions than answers, such as:
- What incremental steps can I take to rely less on sales and more on our product?
- How can we be more product-led if we don’t offer a free trial?
- We’ve covered the basics… where should we focus next?
The PLG Maturity Assessment can help. Take the 3-minute assessment now.
With the help of PLG experts and operators from around the world, and in partnership with the Product-Led Growth Collective, we produced a flexible, prescriptive model that any business can use to guide their journey to becoming more product-led. To do that, the PLG Maturity Assessment takes the unique approach of evaluating a business’s product-led maturity through the lens of its user journey.
Let’s dig into how it works.
PLG Maturity Stages
Every PLG-curious business fits into one of three distinct maturity stages, each one a step closer to product-led nirvana:
Product-Led Starters are in the very early stages of trying to figure out what PLG is and how it may be able to help them grow their business.
Product-Led Transformers have started applying PLG principles and tactics in one or more stages of their user’s journey. They’re still figuring out the right tools and processes to scale.
Product-Led Elites (like Slack and Dropbox) have the people, processes, and tools in place to deliver a seamless, product-led experience throughout the entire user journey.
You may have an idea of which stage your business fits into already. If you’ve taken steps to becoming more product-led but still have room to grow, your business is likely a Product-Led Transformer.
The PLG Flywheel
Originally published in 2019, the PLG Flywheel is a proven framework for growing your business by delivering a product-led user experience—one designed to generate higher user satisfaction and increased advocacy, which in turn drives compounding growth of new user acquisition.
It chunks the user journey into five stages, and identifies the key actions—Evaluate, Activate, Adopt, Expand, and Advocate—that graduate users to the next stage of that journey. As more users become Champions and begin advocating for your product, they create a loop that drives more top-of-funnel interest and acquisition—and in turn, growth increases exponentially. Learn more about the PLG Flywheel.
By evaluating product-led maturity through the lens of the user journey, the PLG Maturity Assessment is able to deliver more flexible, personalized results and recommendations. For any number of reasons, you may choose to continue acquiring customers using a high-touch, sales-led motion, and instead focus on delivering a more product-led support experience later in the user journey. That’s not just ok—it’s the point.
Remember, being “PLG” doesn’t mean doing everything exactly like Slack or Calendly. It’s about your commitment to delivering a more product-led experience wherever along the journey makes sense for your business and your customers.
When we bring it all together, we get a more nuanced framework through which to evaluate and understand where any business stands in its journey to becoming more product-led. It looks a little something like this:
The PLG Maturity Assessment
The PLG Maturity Assessment guides you through a series of 18 multiple-choice questions (taking about 3 minutes to complete) to understand where your business is in its product-led journey and deliver personalized results.
Those results include an overall maturity score (ie Product-Led Starter), as well as maturity scores and recommendations for each stage of the user journey.
Whether you're in growth, product, sales, marketing, or customer success, any business leaders looking to help take their business to the next level using PLG will find this assessment valuable and useful. Here’s some of the early chatter we’ve been getting about our assessment so far:
“I love how specific the recommendations are, and not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
- Zoltan Szalas, Head of Growth at Appfire
“The PLG Maturity Assessment will help your company be more product-led.”
- Andrew Capland, Founder of Delivering Value
So, what are you waiting for?