Growth Hacking For B2B: How to Get Started

Mandy Movahhed
April 23, 2015

“Growth hacking” has been a common buzzword in the startup world for some time now, but that is hardly the only area that it applies to. Pretty much any kind of sales rep or marketing team can use the mindset behind growth hacking to their advantage, including those in the wholesale industry. Let’s start at the beginning. Growth hacking can be defined as a way to use the knowledge and learnings that you’ve gained from social media commentary, client requests, web analytics, customer interactions, and other metrics to better understand both your retail buyers and end customers and ultimately grow your business. Growth hacking techniques include viral marketing, blogging, and other innovative ways to build a customer base. It’s a cheaper, more creative approach than traditional sales and marketing, and  it has quickly become one of the key ways businesses drive growth in our hyper-connected environment. That’s why wholesalers need to understand its value now more than ever. Ultimately,  growth hacking isn’t really a trend; it is a philosophy centered around driving growth organically using the insights gained from your customers’ current behaviors––with a little bit of consumer psychology thrown in, of course. Here are some ways wholesalers can familiarize themselves with and begin leveraging growth hacking techniques to build their businesses.

Growth Hacking for B2B Businesses

1. Do Your Research And Learn From The Experts

You can start your growth hacking journey by reading blogs, books, and other advice from the best thought leaders on the topic. Ryan Holiday’s book, Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising,

is a great place to start. There are also many online communities that can be a wellspring of ideas and advice. Quora is a great place to get answers on practically anything, including how to effectively use growth hacking to your advantage. Also take the time to check out blogs by leading growth hackers and entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau, Andrew Chen, Neil Patel, and others. These blogs, books, and online forums won’t necessarily provide hard and fast guidelines, but they are definitely a great source of inspiration, which makes them more than worthwhile to check out.

2. Look To Leading Social Networks for Ideas

Social networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and of course Facebook, are perhaps the best examples of how growth hacking can make your business explode. Facebook, for instance, made the service seem like an exclusive club of sorts, making it available only to people with a .edu email address. Similarly, by getting celebrities, bloggers, thought leaders, and other compelling, high-volume content creators on board, Twitter has grown into the giant that it is today. For wholesalers, it can be extremely useful to learn how these social networks were able to use word-of-mouth and influencer marketing to grow. Whether you find popular lifestyle bloggers to review your products and stir up brand awareness or invite new prospects to an exclusive “VIP” cocktail hour at your next trade show in order to drum up new business, growth hacking is all about finding creative ways to find new customers and achieve growth.

3. Start Experimenting To Learn More About Your Audience

In order to really understand the growth hacking philosophy, you need to start experimenting with various techniques and tactics, testing different methods of communication (e.g. social media, email, direct mail) and messaging angles (in your ad copy, sales collateral, etc.). Ultimately, certain methods will be more effective than others. The language and tone you use in your messaging might be even more important than when or where your audience receives your communications, which is why having access to and taking advantage of analytics can be so valuable. You need to know how each communication method is performing, and what kinds of messaging you should replicate in the future. Test your ideas about your marketing and sales tactics (e.g. which platforms you use to communicate, the kind of language and tone you employ, and the frequency and timing of messages) quickly, and test them often. Be ready, able, and willing to adapt your strategies as needed. A/B testing and split testing are great ways to get a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t––you can try different strategies or messages on different groups, and see which ones perform best.

4. Take That Knowledge And Make It Work For You

Don’t forget to take the learnings that you gain from your growth hacking experiments and put them to work. For instance, what keywords are people using to reach your company’s site? Echo their language in order to better source new prospective customers. Growth hacking isn’t really all about technology. It is about gaining a better understanding of how your retailers and end customers interact with your brand, and using that information to build a long-term relationship. At the end of the day, growth hacking is a relatively complicated way to describe something fairly simple––the ability to understand your customer’s needs and talk to them like people (not a marketing or sales robot) and therefore make it easy for them to buy from you. It’s all about simplifying the overall process from initial communication to the purchase decision.