B2B Growth Hacking Guide for Marketers

The beginning stages of B2B growth are critical. You have to find a way to get off the ground quickly without sacrificing too much of your budget marketing an unproven product.

There are growing pains to any growth story, but there are also some incredible techniques that marketers have come up with to solve short-term growth needs in creative ways.

We refer to these types of short-term growth techniques as B2B growth hacking.

Though they are unconventional by definition, there’s a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity behind each of the examples we’ll present today that should inspire your own growth hacking techniques.

Understanding the goals behind growth hacking and how others have approached it should also demystify the process and give you a roadmap to your own successful growth hacking.

What is Growth Hacking in Business?

B2B growth hacking is closely embedded in the concept of B2B growth marketing strategy.

At the beginning of your business journey, growth will be more difficult. Getting off the ground requires overcoming a great deal of inertia, uncertainty, and roadblocks.

“Hacking” this stage of growth is focused on short-term, unconventional strategies designed to kick-start your growth and ease your transition into more traditional long-term growth strategies.

What is an Example of Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is naturally unconventional. This means there are strategies you can easily implement on your own product without much change.

Then there are the rare moments of brilliance that aren’t exactly repeatable but can point you toward the spirit of inspiration.

Here are some examples of each of these:

Airbnb’s Craigslist Hack

Airbnb’s marketers realized that customers looking for short-term accommodation often searched Craigslist in addition to regular search engines. In a stroke of genius, Airbnb figured out how to provide an option for Airbnb owners to copy their ads directly to Craigslist when making a new posting.

This simple extra step put their product in front of countless more consumers, immediately increasing demand and driving growth.

Hacking the Fundamentals Like Knudge and Instagram

Knudge and Instagram are two examples of products that developers poured their heart and soul into before launch.

According to Knudge’s blog on the subject, the company spent $0 on marketing but still managed to drive over 1 million installs in six months. Instagram found a similar level of success, seeing 10,000 users just hours after launch and rapidly growing ever since.

Each company focused on doing the little things right: optimizing their app store presence with great titles, banners, and marketing copy. In addition to this, they painstakingly designed products with consumer feedback that ensured using their app was easy and fun.

Gmail and Facebook Used Exclusivity to Trigger FOMO

Two great examples of tech companies that launched their products behind a wall of exclusivity are Gmail and Facebook.

In both instances, the company put a wall between users of its website and those on the outside.

In Gmail’s case, users initially needed an invite to use the platform, and could only be invited by someone who already had an account. This not only encouraged networking but made Gmail a key piece of that networking connection.

Facebook gated their product behind a wall that required exclusive membership from the get-go, namely a college email.

As cheap as it might seem, tapping into this feeling of exclusivity accomplishes many things that can quickly hack growth. Namely, it taps into a primal fear of missing out, which means even people who aren’t that interested in your product will want a piece of it, just so they can say they did.

What is a Growth-Hacking Technique?

A growth-hacking technique is a short-term solution to growth that is generally used by companies that are still trying to get their business off the ground.

When formulating your own growth hacking strategy, focus on ways you can get customers interested in your product without having to spend money on advertising.

These techniques are fantastic for initial growth, but you’ll eventually need to settle into more stable, long-term growth strategies once you’ve got some momentum.

What Skills Do Growth Hackers Need?

B2B growth hacking efforts need to be creative, diligent, resourceful, and capable of determining which risks are worth the effort.

That last one is particularly difficult, but when your company is at the beginning stages of growth, it can sometimes take that extra level of brashness to get it kick-started.

A few skills every growth hacker needs are:

  • Research: Growth hackers need to know their customers inside and out, so they can design hacks that will work on the psychology of their customer base for minimal cost.
  • Problem Solving: There is no problem more important to solve for early businesses than “How can we get people interested in our product?” Generating this interest will look different depending on everything from your product, business history, experience, funding, and customer base.
  • Data Analysis: You’ll need to get constant feedback from your customers and business metrics to keep track of your performance. If something isn’t working, growth hackers must be able to identify this quickly and shift gears before any damage is done.

3 Ways to Make Your Own Growth Hacks for B2B SaaS

Here are three things you can do to begin your own growth hacking journey.

1. Learn About Your Customer

To drive fast short-term growth, you need to solve a simple psychological problem: How can we convince our target customers they need to try our product? The only way to know this for sure is to know your customer inside and out.

2. Study Your Competition

Your competitors, especially those who are already well established, will have encountered the same kinds of roadblocks you’re experiencing. Find out how they dealt with those problems to avoid them entirely.

3. Brainstorm with a Team

Brainstorming a strategy for B2B growth hacking is not easy.

If it were, it wouldn’t be a hack anymore.

Marketers looking to develop B2B growth hacks should involve as many unique voices and feedback as possible to ensure their hack will be effective and, more importantly, set them up for a transition to stable long-term growth.

Why Growth Hacking is the Best

Slow and steady only wins the race if the race is long enough.

In business, you don’t always have the luxury of making up for a bad start. Not when competition is fierce and customers are more demanding than ever before.

The new B2B growth equation involves rapid short-term growth hacking, followed by a transition to more reliable long-term growth strategies.

Hushly Can Help You Grow in the Short and Long Term

Whether you’re focused on developing short-term growth hacks or are ready to transition into long-term growth strategies, a content platform like Hushly can help.

The principle behind content marketing is that customers will see the value you can provide for free and become more interested in the value they’ll have to pay for.

We focus on driving growth by optimizing your content marketing from top to bottom. We believe that providing value upfront to customers is the best way to build relationships and drive growth. We also believe in tracking data and optimizing your content marketing constantly – it’s the only way to ensure you’ll stay ahead of the curve for long.

Hack your short-term growth and transition into long-term growth by checking out our “What is B2B Growth Marketing? And How Can It Help You?” eBook.

What’s New (and Outdated) in Demand Gen Marketing?

Demand gen marketing is a fascinating field to work in. As a naturally innovative space, there are always new techniques, technologies, and strategies to implement that promise to yield unprecedented growth and generate massive demand.

Alongside this are old strategies that no longer fit with the expectations of modern consumers.

The demand generation marketing job description is constantly changing. The amount of information available online makes it difficult for marketing leaders to stay up to date.

To help, we here at Hushly have collected a few examples of exciting new demand-generation processes that you should be focused on, and we also suggest some old ways of doing things that might need to be retired.

What is Demand Generation Strategy?

Demand generation is a marketing practice focused on building demand. Demand is defined as high brand awareness and interest that turns prospects into high-quality leads.

It’s important not to confuse demand gen marketing with lead gen marketing.

Demand Gen vs. Lead Gen

Leads are prospects that your sales team will attempt to convert into sales, while demand is the level of interest those prospects have in your product.

What’s New in Demand Gen Marketing?

We at Hushly are on top of the changes in the marketing world so you don’t have to be. Here are three ways we’ve found demand gen marketing is evolving for the better.

Playing the Long Game with ABM and Personalization

There’s a seismic shift happening in B2B demand generation towards customer-focused strategies that form valuable relationships that lead to partnerships and mutual growth.

Today’s B2B customers (and even an increasing number of B2C customers) are demanding a higher level of personalization. This includes ads that speak directly to their pain points and propose solutions they can act on immediately.

In 2022 and beyond, the best demand gen strategies will be ones that focus on the long-term goals of relationship and credibility building.

Featuring Target Companies in Ad Materials

One specific way to begin building relationships with companies you want to work with is by featuring them in your marketing and demand gen content.

By this, we don’t mean flattering companies unnecessarily. This will be transparent and could even have negative effects.

Instead, focus on the things you genuinely admire about the company and how you can help them grow. Feature them as an example of a company that’s doing things right and that you’re working to emulate in your own operations.

This type of good-faith callout works on two levels: It shows the target company you know them well. It also shows other companies your good nature and shows a willingness on your part to give credit where it’s due and adopt successful strategies regardless of who is coming up with them.

Better Creativity

Part of the shift towards customer-focused demand gen and marketing means a shift towards human-centered communication.

Too often do marketers forget that the buyers they’re speaking to aren’t just representatives of their companies, but real people with specific desires, needs, and dreams your company can help achieve. Speaking to these buyers on a human level requires a great deal of creativity and expertise.

Creative efforts in 2022 and beyond should be focused on creating content that’s not just informative and attention-grabbing, but genuinely entertaining and engaging.

There’s no doubt this extra layer of creativity is more difficult to achieve, but as buyers grow more and more used to this level of marketing, it will only become more prevalent.

What Needs to Go: Outdated Demand Gen Marketing Tactics

Here are a few tactics that don’t fit with the modern demand gen landscape.

Assuming Everyone is Ready to Buy

It’s a mistake to assume that every buyer you engage with is at the same stage of their buying process. Sales teams know that not all MQLs are created equal, and that means you shouldn’t treat them like they are.

If your marketing content doesn’t have pieces that fit into every stage of the sales cycle, you’re missing out on conversions from buyers who may be qualified but just not ready to buy yet.

The best practice is to nurture leads continuously. Start by engaging them right away – ideally within one hour of receiving their information – and continue to nurture them by providing a steady stream of relevant and contextual content that will convince them to buy your solution.

Demo Request CTAs

CTAs that direct users to demo your solution may be unnecessary.

There are two main reasons for this:

  • Customers who are signing up for demos have already done extensive research in most cases. In other words, your first impression has already been made.
  • Customers who are signing up for demos already know how to find them. Your CTA could be more efficiently used to promote other content.

Demos are still great ways to introduce your product to customers and get them comfortable with it before they buy. However, your CTAs should be used to promote content or links that will drive conversions.

Ads for Gated Content

Fitting with the shift towards customer-focused demand gen marketing, ads that lead to gated content should be a thing of the past.

There’s a simple reason for this: There’s so much information available online for any subject you can imagine that buyers simply don’t need to have the patience required to get through your gate. They’re far more likely to just close the page and find another free resource that won’t demand anything from them upfront.

Instead, you should be focused on demonstrating value upfront without asking anything back. This will build trust, loyalty, and the benefit of keeping prospects on your web assets for longer.

Top Demand Gen Stats for B2B Marketers to Know in 2022

Demand Gen Report recently produced its 2022 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey. Here are some key statistics from the survey that highlight the direction that most demand gen marketers are taking.

Use these stats to inform your own strategy and compare yourself against your competitors.

  • Content marketing is king: 58% of respondents plan to increase content creation budgets.
  • 49% of respondents say email is still the top lead generation channel.
  • 39% of respondents plan to deploy marketing automation tools.
  • 32% plan to deploy ABM.
  • 29% plan to execute multichannel lead nurturing.
  • 31% of marketers plan to increase revenue by more than 20%.

A Demand Generation Marketing Manager Like Hushly Can Keep You Ahead of the Curve

As demand generation tools continue to evolve, there will always be new strategies and directions for your company to consider.

That’s why it may be best to work with a content experience platform like Hushly to manage your demand gen needs.

Hushly specializes in customer-focused demand generation through ABM and personalization. Our automated platform uses sophisticated data analytics to ensure your leads are always converting at a high rate.

Our drag-and-drop platform also requires no technical expertise to use, so adjusting your strategy on the fly is as easy as clicking a few buttons.

We’ve been advocating for more personal, long-term, relationship-building approach to demand gen for years, so we’re well positioned to provide support for your demand gen efforts.

See how Hushly can help build demand gen using innovative techniques that will boost your marketing ROI and build long-term customer relationships.

Go-to-Market Strategy 101: Your Complete Guide

Growth is the dream of every business owner. The prospect of growth is never more exciting or uncertain than when your company is executing a go-to-market strategy.

So many moving parts demand a comprehensive strategy flexible enough to respond to challenges but strong enough to keep its shape in the face of innumerable pressures.

Our guide today will give you the 101 on go-to-market strategies and some actionable tips to create your own GTM plan.

What is a Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy?

At its core, a go-to-market strategy is the methods and practices your company employs to introduce a new revenue stream. This could mean a product launch, a new feature, or an expansion into a new market.

Go-to-Market Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy

Your GTM strategy is not the same as your marketing strategy.

You can think of a GTM plan as the transition phase between creating a new revenue source and the act of turning that source on. Perhaps more accurately, it’s the plan to turn that source of revenue on.

This is in contrast to a marketing plan that is more narrowly focused on promoting the product and generating demand for it.

What’s in a GTM Strategy?

Any good GTM strategy should have these three aspects.

1. Flexibility

Your GTM process needs to remain efficient and flexible in the face of any challenge. Your leaders should be competent and in synch with the grand strategy to execute the vision without the need for inefficient chains of command. Lower-level workers need to understand the vision just as well, so they can adapt to challenges and call for necessary support before problems become unmanageable.

2. Repeatability and Scalability

Go-to-market is a process that directly feeds the growth of your business. In essence, it is growth because it involves expanding revenue channels and generating demand for brand-new products or features.

This is a process your company has to optimize over time because there are far too many moving parts and unique variables for any one strategy to ever be considered perfect.

A GTM strategy, therefore, needs to be repeatable and iterative. Each new version of go-to-market should build on the ones that came before it, incorporating new perspectives and data on performance.

Since GTM is fundamentally a growth strategy, it needs to be scalable. If your GTM isn’t scaling, then you aren’t growing.

3. A Unifying Perspective

Your first GTM strategy meeting is the time to lay out goals and expectations. More than this, it’s a time to get everyone on board with the vision your leaders have crafted.

All stakeholders need to understand their roles and how they stand to gain from the success of the plan and the company. This kind of unifying vision is what brings people together and forms a cohesive team. It builds motivation and understanding, and leads to a productive strategy.

Examples of Go-to-Market Strategy for Startups and Large Businesses

Go-to-market channels, or strategies, are best understood as sets of goals and how you plan to achieve them. For simplicity, we’ve organized this list into three types of GTM, defined by their primary mode of demand generation.

However, you could also look at these from the perspective of execution and build a plan with those ideas as the foundation.

Inbound Led

An inbound-led campaign is the bread and butter of many B2B GTM operations.

It involves generating and capturing demand via content marketing. Content should be marketed through multiple channels to ensure maximum lead capture. Data should be enriched on the back end before being qualified and fed to sales, which focuses on high-quality leads and conversions.

In an inbound-led campaign, your growth is tied to the ability of marketing and sales to work together to drive conversions. The more efficiently they can carry out this task, the more you’ll grow.

Product Led

Sometimes a product can speak for itself.

A product-led GTM strategy is right for SaaS companies that can roll out features and expansions at a minimal initial cost. The strength of the product means that users will uncover new features and adopt new products organically. Upselling, deals, checkout, and scaling can all be managed from within the product.

In a product-led GTM, growth is tied to the ability of the product to deliver value and promise even more through added features.

Category Led

An idea can transform a marketplace.

If your company has a revolutionary idea or technology, you can focus on becoming a category leader. This will be based on your ability to assume an authoritative position in your marketplace, either through thought leadership or culmination around a revolutionary product.

For category-led GTM, your growth is tied to your ability to build a movement and spearhead a new marketplace for your developing product or idea.

How Do You Create a Go-to-Market Plan?

Any go-to-market example will involve many moving parts and must be uniquely designed for your company and revenue stream.

Here are three principles you should follow when forming a new GTM plan.

1. Put Together a Strong Team

A go-to-market team needs representatives from marketing, sales, product, technology, customer service, and senior leadership. This is a complex team with many moving parts, so pick leadership candidates based on their ability to understand and articulate a strong vision while allowing for employee flexibility and enabling problem-solving.

2. Identify Your Motion

You’ll need to determine what motion your company will be executing. A motion is defined by the steps your company takes to add and nurture the new revenue stream that’s going to market.

The actions needed for each of these motions are unique, so each one will need a different team with distinct responsibilities.

The three motions identified by GTM partners are:

  • A new buyer persona: A new idealized buyer that your company needs to cater to. You’ll likely need new marketing materials, sales strategies, onboarding, and content.
  • A new product or service: You may now have new competitors, a new marketplace, and new requirements on educational content and industry knowledge.
  • A new geographic location: You may need new sales, marketing, onboarding, and resource strategies to equal or surpass growth in other locations.

3. Follow the M.O.V.E Framework

GTM partners developed the M.O.V.E. framework as a strategic process designed to simplify planning and streamline thought processes. If you’re unsure how to begin planning, these steps are a great place to start.

M.O.V.E. stands for:

  • Market: Who to market to?
  • Operations: What do we need to perform efficiently?
  • Velocity: When and how can we scale?
  • Expansion: Where will we grow the most?

M.O.V.E. stands for four questions that your leadership and key team members will all need to agree on answers to before implementing your plan.

Go-to-Market Must Be Constantly Reiterated

It’s crucial to understand that go-to-market is not a singular strategy or action. It can’t be encompassed by a single department or goal other than “for the success of the company.”

The point of acknowledging this is to understand that every GTM plan or strategy needs to be created with the goal of efficiency, flexibility, and a unified vision.

Read more about go-to-market strategies and how to optimize your newest revenue stream as quickly and efficiently as possible in “The Comprehensive Guide to Go-to-Market” ebook.