The B2B marketing world has undergone some major changes over the last decade. Growth marketing is the new standard for marketers, combining comprehensive measurement with an iterative approach to tactical execution.
This guide provides the ‘why’ and ‘how’ for growth marketing and explore what leaders must know to make it a core part of their strategy.
B2B growth marketing is an evolution of traditional marketing strategies that embraces data-driven, scientific approaches to revenue generation.
Traditionally, marketing focuses on top-of-funnel activities that attract potential customers and deliver them to sales teams. Growth marketing integrates the entire pipeline. When implemented effectively, this approach leverages every opportunity to acquire, convert, and retain the most customers in the shortest period — ultimately driving rapid growth.
Growth marketing often re-envisions the role of marketing departments to achieve these goals. Rather than generating leads, growth marketers create a qualified pipeline that makes revenue the overarching goal. This approach aligns teams with sales departments philosophically and often contributes to cost reduction across the entire pipeline.
Top-of-funnel marketing may be enough if your marketing and sales teams are already aligned. However, if KPIs don’t translate into sales or decrease churn, growth marketing is an excellent solution.
It’s particularly effective among B2B companies in the tech sector, where a holistic approach to performance drives revenue. Forthcoming research from 6sense shows that the best B2B marketers are:
To learn more, read our introductory article, What is Growth Marketing?
B2B growth marketing strategies look different from business to business, but they all have one thing in common — a qualified, well-optimized pipeline.
Understanding how this pipeline converts your audience into qualified leads and customers is the most vital ingredient of any successful strategy. That’s why growth marketing experts agree the first step is to build a growth marketing strategy.
There’s a lot that goes into it, but one of the highest return activities is a pipeline audit to determine where customers are churning from your pipeline. While some loss is normal, sudden or significant drops can indicate a problem with your messaging or the strategy itself.
This step addresses anyone visiting your website, engaging (but not following) your brand on social media, and other top-of-funnel activities. Analyze their performance by determining how many potential leads are directed further along the pipeline.
These are individuals who engage with your brand — perhaps they click links on your website, follow your social media profiles, or otherwise find value in your content. Pay attention to how many top-of-funnel leads arrive at this stage in the pipeline.
These are customers who fully convert to closed-won. Go beyond tracking revenue and customer numbers by comparing these KPIs with performance earlier in the pipeline. This stage is also a valuable source for retargeting customers for future purchases.
For more details on optimizing your pipeline, read our article, How To Build A Growth Marketing Strategy.
Once you’ve assessed the weak points in your pipeline, it’s time to apply growth marketing techniques that drive conversions.
While marketers may need to adapt details for their specific product, service, or industry, there are certain core techniques all businesses must keep in mind.
One of the most crucial aspects of growth marketing is understanding your customer needs. More specifically, marketers must grasp what messaging will resonate with them.
The most effective way to understand customers is to build personas — profiles that represent your most valuable accounts and their stakeholders. Here are some steps to help you get started:
With personas, brands can develop focused and personalized messaging that addresses a customer’s immediate needs. Meanwhile, a well-optimized pipeline makes it easier to assist each customer in their buyer’s journey.
Together, these tools can help you generate a highly effective growth marketing strategy.
Reducing churn is one of the most useful ways to drive growth; after all, if you can’t retain your customers, no amount of acquisition will bring long-term value.
Retention strategies vary by product and service, but one of the best churn solutions is to optimize your onboarding process. If customers can learn how to use your service quickly or understand it intuitively, they will embrace its value more fully.
As a bonus, onboarding can both retain them and encourage them to recommend your brand to others.
Every product’s onboarding process will be a little different. However, here are some best practices to keep in mind, inspired by the best practices used by file hosting service Dropbox:
Growth marketing demands a constant re-evaluation of brand content to ensure a given strategy reflects its target market. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with A/B testing — running two variants of the same messaging to see which performs better.
Once you have statistically significant results favoring one of the variants, marketers can apply it to a campaign on the whole.
A/B testing is a common technique for ad creative, but its scope applies across the entire growth marketing pipeline. Brands can test any marketing asset, including:
To run an A/B test, create two versions of the same content and distribute them to a selection of customers through the appropriate channels. Be sure to monitor key performance indicators, from ad engagement to conversions.
From these results, marketers may learn that one variant performs strongly or that both perform well for different audiences. These lessons will be vital when optimizing campaigns for your entire market.
The marketing world is paying close attention to automated processes, and with good reason. New research consistently shows that when brands automate repetitive tasks, it frees employees to focus on higher-level activities.
And modern CMOs know of many repetitive tasks that can drag down operational effectiveness.
If you’re a growth marketer, then growth automation is one solution. This technique requires marketers to automate most tasks that drive conversions and enhance the lifetime value of a given customer.
Some examples might include delivering personalized advertisements, segmenting buyer groups, delivering follow-up emails, and more. When marketing leaders effectively coordinate growth automation efforts, it can increase revenue and allow marketing teams to focus on growth initiatives requiring hands-on development.
Perhaps the best candidate for growth automation in marketing is pipeline management. A simple step such as integrating sales and marketing pipelines can increase efficiency as customers move along the funnel — closing more deals in the process.
To see these techniques in practice, take a look at our recent blog, 4 Growth Marketing Examples for Modern CMOs.
As you might imagine, growth marketing takes a little more work to prepare than traditional top-of-funnel campaigns. However, once you’ve built a well-optimized pipeline, you’re more likely to gain qualified accounts with a high propensity to buy.
What’s necessary is a partner with AI-based revenue intelligence who can help you get the most value from your data — which is where 6sense’s account engagement platform comes in. Get in touch today to find out more.