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.

15 B2B Growth Metrics Marketers Should Track

A growing business is proof that your practices are working. It keeps you healthy and competitive, encourages investors, and gives you time to identify problems and build solutions to create even more value and growth.

Yet it’s not always easy to tell how quickly your company is growing, or even why. How can you separate your company from the ebbs and flows of the market, customer demand, and the performance of your competitors to generate an accurate picture of your growth?

Welcome to the world of B2B growth metrics.

We’ve compiled this list of some of the most important B2B growth metrics you can track and ways to calculate them.

Measuring B2B Marketing Effectiveness

B2B success is not different from success at other companies. It requires growth, which means you’ll always be looking out for new customers who spend more than your old ones.

You’ll need to know how much it costs to acquire new prospects and how long it will take them to become buyers. You’ll also need to know whether it’s time to focus more on market share or if you can safely enjoy a wave of category growth.

The best way to measure growth is with some key metrics that we’ll recommend today. First, you should understand the importance of category growth and why it should affect the way you read your growth metrics.

Category Growth Metrics vs. B2B Growth Metrics

Category growth is the phenomenon of increasing demand in the category of products you sell. For example, a company that makes bowling balls might take a particular interest in increasing the popularity of the game of bowling to unlock new customers and new revenue streams.

This is in contrast to a company that only advertises to current bowlers and doesn’t try to convert new ones. The first company is engaging in category growth tactics, while the second isn’t.

Why Category Growth Matters

In general, pursuing a category growth strategy is a luxury. But knowing how to track category growth is fundamental.

If your company is growing quickly, but more slowly than others in your industry, you may have a problem competing with these companies when your market is mature (i.e., it stops growing so much).

Tracking your category growth can tell you whether you should be focusing on competition or growth.

5 Metrics to Track Category Growth

Here are five metrics to check on B2B growth vs. category growth.

1. Share of Voice

Share of voice is a very popular public relations metric. It essentially tracks how frequently your brand is mentioned in relation to other brands. If your share of voice is falling despite rising revenues, this may mean you’re experiencing a boom in category growth but falling behind in the competition.

2. Web Traffic vs. Competition

Another way to measure yourself against your competitors is to check on web traffic. How often are customers finding and choosing your content over others? Branded web searches is a similar metric that can be used to find the same information.

3. Backlinks

Backlinks are other websites linking to yours. A high number of backlinks can indicate domain authority and mean that your brand is outperforming others when it comes to brand awareness and reputation.

4. Social Media Followers and Engagement vs. Competition

Once again, if you’re experiencing lots of growth in this area, it’s important to see how well your competitors are faring. The speed of your growth vs. theirs is ultimately what will matter most.

5. Category Sales and Revenue

The most direct way to track category growth is by combining the sales and revenue of all companies in your sector. How quickly is your revenue growing in comparison? This insight can be a valuable indicator of how your company is performing relative to competition.

5 Best Forward-Looking Sales Metrics

These five sales growth metrics are the best way to measure the performance of your sales team, which should directly correlate to your growth.

6. Close Rate

The close rate is the percentage of leads converted into sales. It can be contentious because salesmen will naturally believe that if they didn’t close a sale, it wasn’t closeable. Often, they are right! This means that the close rate is not just a measure of sales performance but marketing as well.

7. Total Sales

You won’t find a KPI that more straightforwardly represents sales performance on a year-to-year or month-to-month basis than a B2B sales report.

8. Pipeline Velocity

How quickly are customers being pulled through the B2B marketing funnel? The more efficient the process of contacting, engaging, and converting customers is, the easier it will be for your company to scale.

9. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

CAC is a measure of how much money was spent turning a prospect into a customer. This is the best metric for determining the ROI of your sales team. It may also be an indirect reflection of lead quality.

10. Sales by Product, Region, or Category

It’s important to parse data to make it more useful. Knowing that your total sales are growing is useful, but what if that growth is mainly driven by a rise in demand in a particular region or for a particular product? Knowing sales by product, region, or category allows you to leverage it to drive growth even further.

5 Best B2B Growth Metrics

These are the metrics we recommend checking to see how your company is growing.

11. Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)

Recurring revenue is a prediction based on how much subscription-based revenue you expect to earn. You generally calculate ARR by first finding your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and multiplying it by 12. Your churn rate will affect your ARR and MRR.

12. Churn Rate

Churn is the loss of customers due to failure to renew subscriptions. It’s a direct measure of how useful customers determine your product to be once they’ve used it.

A high churn rate could be cause for concern. You won’t get 2nd chances with most customers, so it’s important to keep churn manageable.

13. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

You measure net promoter score by simply asking customers to rank their likelihood of recommending your product on a scale of 1 to 10.

NPS is simple yet highly valuable. It directly predicts growth, since those who answer with high scores are very likely to recommend you to others. A high NPS score essentially correlates to how much of this free advertising you’re getting.

14. Average Deal Size

This can be measured by individual deals or by specifying a period of time. In the latter case, it’s akin to MRR/ARR. This is a great metric to track when going to market.

15. Average Sales Cycle

You want to know how long it takes to engage with prospects, turn them into buyers, and do it all over again. A long sales cycle is not necessarily a problem as long as it works for your industry. It may also ebb and flow during certain times of the year. You’ll need to pay close attention to this metric over a long period of time.

Product Analytics for B2B Growth is Easy with Hushly

Hushly’s automated customer experience platform collects data from every phase of the customer journey. We use this data to generate important insights that you can use to contribute to the growth of your business.

If you’re interested in a marketing partner ready and able to scale alongside you, contact our team and request a Hushly demo today.