The PLG Trifecta: Part 2

PLG Trifecta Score: SaaS Heaven or SaaS Hell?

Pietro Bezza
3 min readNov 20, 2023

Published in Connect Ventures Opinions

In Part 1 we introduced the framework of PLG Trifecta a simple way for product-led founders to boost their PLG superpower.

In this Part 2, we’ll share practical tips to score PLG potential and to let founders figure out if they are in SaaS Heaven or SaaS Hell. We also provide several examples from well-known product companies across B2B and Consumer

SaaS Heaven and SaaS Hell

Using the three strategic pillars (PLD, PLA and PLE), we developed a simple scoring formula that enables us to assign an overall PLG score, so we know how we are doing when it comes to PLG.

It’s a fairly straightforward formula:

PLD + PLA + PLE = PLG Score

Product-led Distribution, Product-led Adoption and Product-led Expansion are all additive: the higher these numbers, the greater the potential for the product to scale.

Here’s how to ascribe each score, by scoring each pillar out of 3:

PLD (out of 3pts):

  • By using the product, does it make new users aware of the product? (1pt)
  • Does it force new users to use the product, in a way that makes them feel and value the experience? (1pt)
  • Do those users typically share affinity or are they in the target market? (1pt)

PLA (out of 3pts)

  • Does the product sell itself? Can new users sign up and use the product without needing to speak to a CS agent or sales rep to explain how it all works (e.g. Superhuman needs human onboarding)? (1pt)
  • Is time to value and repeatable engagement quick enough? (1pt)
  • Is there a great single-player mode (e.g. you can get at least some value from using it by yourself)? (1pt)

PLE (out of 3pts)

  • Does this product solve a problem that my colleagues or my peers have too? (1pt)
  • Do I get huge value from the product when my colleagues or my peers can use it too and we collaborate on it or play with it together? (1pt)
  • Does this product have some sort of built-in retention mechanism? (1pt)

Let’s work through some examples of products that have great product-led growth.

Firstly, Slack.
PLD: using Slack internally (i.e. the intra-company use case) doesn’t make anyone external aware of it, so they get 0 points here. If you use Slack for community (inter-company use case), then there is huge PLD — you achieve 3 points there.
PLA: Users can sign up on their own, and it’s very easy to understand (intuitive plus great onboarding). However there’s no single player mode, so they have to invite others to get any value. 2pts.
PLE: Users get huge value from inviting their colleagues, whom it solves a problem for, and are then incentivised to invite others too. Full 3pts here.

Then, Typeform.
PLD: The more forms people create and share, the more it spreads the word. Form respondents are forced to use the product and see why it’s great. They’re not always the target market though. 2pts.
PLA: Typeform is easy to sign up to, create forms, and get full value. It’s very intuitive. 3pts.
PLE: I get good value when my colleagues can collaborate on forms with, but it’s not huge. It solves a problem that lots of people in my team will have. However, they’re not incentivised to invite their colleagues to collaborate either. 1pt.

Finally, Monzo.
PLD: The “request” and “send” money features were powerful early levers to get users’ friends aware of Monzo. The bright orange (“burnt coral”) cards were also visually arresting, which made people notice every time the cards were used in person. 3pts.
PLA: Easy onboarding, slick experience for opening a bank. Can all be done remotely which at the time was a game-changer. 3pts.
PLE: The Monzo product was game-changing at the time, and quickly became habitual. You use your card for purchases almost every day, and Monzo had a better experience. But over time as they got more visibility into your spending habits, they’ve been able to smoothly upsell lending facilities and other monetised products. 2pts.

This is how we calculate the score to understand the potential that a product can have for product-led growth.



Pietro Bezza

Believe in the power of software products to improve people’s lives on a massive scale. Co-founder and Managing Partner at Connect: (