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What We Can Learn About B2B Sales and Marketing from the Fastest Growing B2B Companies

Why do some B2B companies shoot to the top of their game? Why do some seem to grow exponentially faster than their competitors?

Is there some kind of magic recipe? Actually, there’s not. As James Cash Penney, founder of J.C. Penney says, “growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

So, while it might look like there are certain companies seeing overnight success over and over again, what goes on behind the scenes is a completely different story. In fact, the companies that grow the quickest often have structured strategies in place and laser-focused plans for the future.

Let’s dig into some of the strategy elements that have helped the US’ 50 fastest growing companies rise to the top.

1. Heavy focus on top-funnel elements

The thing to note with the vast majority of fast-growing B2B companies is that they focus heavily on attracting new clients. That is, they position themselves well in the market, and carry out relevant activities that attract and retain new leads every single day.

What might that look like?

According to this report, 44% of the top 50 fastest growing B2B companies in the US are offering free downloads when visitors arrive on their site, while 80% maintain a blog or an online publication.

These are all ways that companies can reel in relevant customers and showcase their expertise.

Let’s face it, as humans we love a good deal or, even better, something that’s offered to us for free. We’ll often snap it up with open arms, and this is how these top companies start creating connections and relationships with future customers.

Why it works so well:

Content educates your readers about your product and your market but, more importantly, if your free downloadable is highly relevant to your paid product or service, you know that the prospect who has downloaded it is interested in what you have to offer.

Brian Clark, found of CopyBlogger reminds us that, “these days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”

In an age where consumers are much less passive than they used to be, providing knowledge and information to prospects is the first step in gaining their trust and respect – something that fast-growing B2B companies are readily tapping into.

2. They are consistently available

The internet age has brought about this idea that everything should be available immediately. People aren’t willing to wait around and, if you can’t provide the information they need right away, chances are they’ll move on to someone else who can.

The fastest growing B2B companies are playing into this idea, with 22 of the top 50 US brands promoting a live chat widget on their site – you’ve probably seen this tactic popping up a lot in the past few months.

Having this fast-track customer service aspect means prospects can air their questions as soon as they crop up and get an answer right away. Again, this builds an instant connection between you and your prospect.

“Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them do so.” This quote by Brian Eisenberg, founder and CMO of IdealSpot, shows the importance of the customer journey for any B2B business.

Why it works:

1:1 messages, like the live chat widgets, are becoming increasingly common in the top quota of high-growth companies. This is largely because it gives prospects the chance to interact with real people, like support reps and sales reps in real time which, in turn, creates a seamless customer journey. Essentially, it provides the right information and the right time, which is invaluable in this fast-paced internet age.

3. They focus on user journeys

Following on from the customer experience, the majority of high-growth B2B businesses also place a heavy emphasis on the customer journey. These brands know that, in order to create a large and devoted customer base, they need to make the customer the centre of everything.

Most high-growth companies lead consumers down two paths. The first path takes them towards the product, while the other path takes them towards the sales team. The end goal is the same in every situation – to make a sale.

Within the top 50 high-growth B2B businesses in the US, 62% direct customers to the product or service, while 38% direct them to the sales team.

In many instances, however, the sites use BOTH of these tactics in order to give the consumer a choice (remember, the consumer is the most important person in the equation, and their journey should be innate but also a personal choice).

A large portion of the top 50 companies gives users the chance to demo the product as well as give them the opportunity to talk with a sales rep.

4. They offer free trials

Remember earlier when I said that as humans we like free things? This idea taps into that in-built drive.

The vast majority of high-growth B2B companies offer their users a free trial of their product. Or, if they don’t do that, they at the very least offer in-depth case studies, demos, and tutorials that dig deep into the product and give prospects the chance to see it in action.

These companies know that consumers are becoming more and more sceptical as they gain knowledge and power in the online landscape, and they won’t simply buy into something because they have been told to.

Instead, they want to know how your product or service will benefit them and their business – and to do that? They need to see it in action. They need to metaphorically feel it beneath their fingers.

“Instead of hiring a huge sales force and sending these people out to convince potential customers to buy your product – the way Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and even Salesforce.com built empires – a freemium model is a perpetual motion machine through which your product sells itself.” – Roger Lee of Battery Ventures.

This idea of the freemium model is apparent almost across the board in the top quota of high-growth B2B businesses. This is because it not only gives users first-hand experience of the product, but it also acts as an automated sales funnel that essentially sells all by itself.

Why the “freemium” model works:

Add a free demo of your product or service removes a layer from the sales funnel. A live demo is worth a thousand emails stating the benefits of a product, and shortens the gap between a user being a cold lead and them being a loyal customer.

5. They make it easy to buy

Earlier, I mentioned that the active consumer will have no qualms about finding their information elsewhere if they can’t find it on your site.

This is something that high-growth companies tackle by making it incredibly easy for users to buy. As Mark Cuban says, “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.”

As well as making the path to purchase one that’s easy to navigate, the top tier high-growth companies largely publish their prices online, giving their products authenticity and giving prospects the information they need up front.

Taking this further, around 40% of the fastest growing B2B companies in the US use tiered pricing to give easy access to all sorts of potential clients. As well as ensuring they don’t miss out on any relevant buyers, this also creates an illusion of appeal on many different levels.

With tiered pricing, prospects are again given the power and the ability to choose – something that is seen over and over again in the fastest growing companies.

We can determine from this that the fastest-growing B2B companies don’t see overnight success. Instead, they work away at strategies that tap into the needs of their prospective buyers and create an overall experience rather than a one-off interaction with their consumers.

In order to attract the right people and start creating connections (which is the initial stages in any sales process), these high-growth companies are focusing on a few key areas. Let’s recap:

  • They place a heavy emphasis on top-funnel stuff by presenting prospects with free content to gain their attention
  • They make sure they are consistently available to answer any questions their prospects might have
  • They focus on user journeys and place the consumer at the forefront of everything
  • They offer free trials and demos so prospects can get a feel for how the product or service will work specifically for them – this creates a kind of personalized service
  • They make it incredibly easy to buy so their prospects don’t have to go to their competitors’ sites

So in answer to the question, “why do some B2B companies shoot to the top of their game?” They do so because their prospects are their number one focus, which their marketing and sales strategies centre around. Everything from their website to their demos and content are created to entice consumers, create leads, and guide these prospects into the sale.

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