Growth Hacking B2B: What Early-Stage Startups Should Know
Run a B2B startup? Want to grow faster? We’re discussing the ins and outs of growth hacking for B2B businesses. Learn more about the growth hacking B2B methods that could help your startup thrive.
What is Growth Hacking?
As the name suggests, growth hacking is all about achieving growth for your business. In fact, that's its sole purpose.
Growth hacking is a process that involves using digital marketing, data analysis and product development methods to quickly grow a company's customer base.
The process aims to use a limited upfront investment and few resources. That's why it's called 'hacking:' the goal is to achieve the desired results for as little investment as possible.
To achieve growth, growth hackers tend to focus on a five-point framework known as pirate metrics.
AARRR stands for:
Acquisition - Can customers easily find you?
Activation - Do they have a great first experience?
Retention - Do they remain a loyal customer? For how long?
Referral - Are they happy to recommend your product or service?
Revenue - Do they like what you're offering enough to pay for it?
Growth hacking seeks out ways to enhance these five metrics by rapidly testing ideas, taking feedback and learning from failures.
The method is often used by early-stage startups, who have a limited budget to play with, and therefore need to grow quickly to fund their concept.
That said, growth hacking can also support established businesses as they pivot their focus or launch a new product.
What is Growth Hacking for B2B Business?
Growth hacking is a versatile process that can be used by both B2B and B2C businesses.
When using growth hacking for a B2B business, there are a few extra factors to consider.
Often, B2B companies' products and services are designed for smaller niches. While having a deep understanding of one's customers is important for every kind of business, for growth hacking B2B companies, it's an absolute priority.
Sales cycles tend to be longer for B2B businesses. As growth hacking is all about achieving growth quickly, B2B companies should seek out methods of speeding up their sales cycles.
For B2B businesses, growth hacking often goes hand in hand with an inbound marketing strategy: a content-led approach that seeks to acquire qualified leads. You can learn more about content-led growth hacking methods in the next section.
As with B2C growth hacking, B2B growth hacking uses a rapid fail approach, where new ideas are tested quickly to identify and eliminate the least effective ones. That allows businesses to focus on only the most effective ways of achieving AARRR metrics.
Growth hackers see failures as an opportunity to learn, and a reluctance to learn as a complete failure.
It takes nerve, ambition and drive to use growth hacking successfully. For that reason, your whole team must buy into the growth hacking mindset, particularly those in leadership roles.
Growth hacking B2B: Two main approaches
There are a number of approaches to growth hacking. We’ll discuss the two most popular: content-led and product-led growth hacking.
Content-led growth hacking uses content marketing methods to attract and retain customers. While there are many types of content to choose from, the most popular methods tend to include:
-Writing guest articles
-Social media content (LinkedIn, Twitter etc.)
You can identify the methods and channels to use by trialling content and gauging how your target audience responds (using pirate metrics as a guide).
All content should be of value to your target audience. Usually, B2B audiences seek out industry-related insights from reliable sources.
Content should also encourage readers, listeners or users to take action, whether that's requesting a product demo, a callback, or simply noting interest.
Used as part of an inbound marketing strategy, content can be used to generate qualified leads, which can be followed up and converted into sales.
A product-led approach to growth hacking focuses on product innovation, using the product as a vehicle to achieve growth.
The better the product addresses a customer's challenge, the easier it is to convince them of its value.
B2B product-led growth hacking starts by identifying a common problem faced by prospective customers before drilling down deeper to identify a viable solution.
After answering questions about the problem in detail, growth hackers work with their team to develop a product that tackles it in the best way possible.
The product gets tested quickly to gain user feedback. This process gets repeated to continually refine the product.
Product-led growth hacking usually seeks to address the needs of a very specific kind of customer before trying to appeal to a wider market.
Growth hacking: B2B SaaS
Often, B2B SaaS (software as a service) startups use a product-led approach. Product management tools, file-hosting services like Dropbox and accounting software are all examples of B2B SaaS.
When it comes to B2B SaaS customers, ease of use is all-important; businesses are reluctant to commit to products and services without proof that they offer value.
As growth hacking aims to keep expenditure low, product-led innovations must be easy for customers to adopt independently. At this stage, resources are too limited to be spent helping individual customers set up the SaaS product.
Rather, growth-hackers tend to remove barriers to entry by offering detailed information about their product. A basic version of the service is usually free, with options to upgrade or add more users available at an additional cost.
Growth hacking can be content-led, product-led, or can use a different approach entirely. While most strategies focus on one approach over the other, in reality, every business will use a combination to achieve growth.
How can Stratagem help?
Using a growth hacking process designed at Google Ventures, Stratagem works with startups at an early stage of funding. We combine data, tools and techniques to create a bespoke growth strategy to help your startup achieve hyper-growth.
Need help to grow? Learn more about our solutions.