Effective B2B Growth Strategies for 2023
In today’s fiercely competitive B2B landscape, you should implement effective growth strategies to achieve sustainable competitive advantages, deepen customer relationships, and unlock new opportunities for your business.
With the right B2B growth strategies, you’ll be able to capitalize on opportunities to:
Eager to achieve more for your business in 2023? Read on to uncover key pillars of B2B growth.
What Will Your Business Achieve this Year?
If you want to see growth in 2023, establish clear goals. Without clearly articulated and documented goals, it’s difficult to build a growth engine with the entire team steering in the same direction. And of course it’s impossible to accurately assess progress.
Set end goals (or “lag goals”) you want to achieve. What do you want to achieve in 2023? Increase revenue by 20%? Grow your customer base by 50%? Improve customer retention by 30%?
It’s important to be explicitly clear with your end goals in order to align your entire organization. And it’s also just as important to demonstrate persistence with your end goals. Don’t change course every three or six months. As Robert Sher writes in the book Mighty Midsized Companies: How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers, “tinkering at the top” by constantly changing the goalposts is a common cause of businesses that lose steam and get stuck in a plateau.
Once you’ve determined what you want to achieve in the coming year, it’s time to set SMART progress goals. These goals provide concrete milestones to help you make tangible, well-defined progress and to achieve your end goals. Make sure these are realistic goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, if one of your end goals is to increase your revenue by 35% for a specific product or solution, your progress goals might include:
Progress goals are critical to growth, as they are ACTIONABLE. They provide a clear path for you to reach your end goals. They are the actual engine that drives your growth.
B2B Growth Strategies
If you want to grow your B2B business, focus on specific pillars of growth. Narrow your focus, and go all in.
Don’t try to boil the ocean. Instead, focus on the few areas where you can win, and where you can win big. Being selective helps you to galvanize your resources all in the same direction, making your growth initiatives more powerful.
So, the question then becomes, where to focus?
Below are 15 effective B2B growth strategies. Determine which ones you’ll focus on, and then execute, execute, execute.
Strengthen Your Brand
Strengthening your brand is like raising the tide. And a rising tide lifts all boats. A strong brand helps any marketing initiative you undertake to achieve more for your business. Invest in strengthening your brand, and it will help you to:
Customers are at the heart of B2B growth. If you want to drive growth in the coming year, it’s essential that you be customer-obsessed. Not just customer-centric, but customer-obsessed.
How much time do you spend focused on your customers? How often are you talking and engaging with them? Do you use audience insights to help you improve your products, services, customer experience, etc.?
According to Forrester, “Business, marketing, and IT decision-makers…surveyed at customer-obsessed B2B organizations estimate a 10% or higher growth in revenue, profits, and customer retention at a rate three times that of their non-customer-obsessed counterparts.”
With the uncertain economic landscape in 2023, it’s even more important to focus on your existing customers. In fact, many marketing executives are prioritizing customer success over new customer acquisition this year.
For example, Bernard Huang, Co-Founder at Clearscope, states, “I believe that B2B businesses need to be viewing Customer Success as a growth strategy moving forward, especially in 2023’s uncertain market conditions. Retaining and expanding your existing customer base is significantly cheaper than looking at growth channels.”
I believe that B2B businesses need to be viewing Customer Success as a growth strategy moving forward, especially in 2023’s uncertain market conditions.
On the topic of customer-focus, Tim Howlett, Vice President of Marketing at Omega Engineering, takes a similar stance. “With an increasingly noisy digital environment and difficulty accessing folks in-person due to the proliferation of remote work, cost of new customer acquisition is sky high. Our current customer base is much more accessible and where we expect to find the most growth in the near term. We are finding that our customers are amenable to growing their share of wallet with us, as managing their supply chains throughout COVID have become more resource intensive. Companies see the benefits of increasing their leverage with a narrower set of suppliers to improve internal productivity and get preferential treatment in terms of capacity allocation. From a marketing standpoint, this is a major shift from our natural state of espousing the benefits of our products to untapped prospects.”
With an increasingly noisy digital environment and difficulty accessing folks in-person due to the proliferation of remote work, cost of new customer acquisition is sky high. Our current customer base is much more accessible and where we expect to find the most growth in the near term.
According to Michelle Stern, Head of Digital Marketing at Ginkgo Bioworks, “B2B marketers should be laser-focused on continuing to satisfy their current clients because happy customers can provide referrals as well as testimonials and case studies, which is valuable lead generation content. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, B2B marketers can also gain critical insight into how their customers are thinking and feeling during these uncertain times, enabling them to market more effectively to prospects.”
By prioritizing customer satisfaction, B2B marketers can…gain critical insight into how their customers are thinking and feeling during these uncertain times, enabling them to market more effectively to prospects.
Samuel Schmitt, Founder at thruuu, is another executive taking a customer-centric approach this year. “My growth strategy this year is to focus on existing customers / account management / upselling / cross selling (and reactivating subscribers if you are a SaaS).
“Why? In this period of economic uncertainty, people are looking for trust and stability. Your existing accounts should trust you. On top of this, we know that acquisition of new customers is more expensive and takes more time.
“For these reasons, sales efforts this year should focus on deepening your existing customer partnerships.”
In this period of economic uncertainty, people are looking for trust and stability. Your existing accounts already trust you. On top of this, we know that acquisition of new customers is more expensive and takes more time. For these reasons, sales efforts this year should focus on deepening your existing customer partnerships.
Dig Deep to Capture Voice of the Customer (VoC)
To deepen your customer focus, ensure you’re spending sufficient time on capturing the voice of the customer (VoC). This is a systematic approach to understanding how customers feel about your products and services, their experiences with your organization, and how well you are meeting their needs. This data can help you and your marketing team understand where there might be gaps in the customer experience that need to be addressed.
Ask yourself these questions:
Your goal is to see things through the eyes of your customers. What do they want? What frustrations and pain points are they experiencing? How can you improve their experience and provide more value?
Map the Customer Journey per Persona
The customer journey represents every step a customer takes, from their first realization of a new problem, challenge, or goal, all the way through their many interaction with you on their path to a solution.
If you want to see things through the eyes of your customers, map the customer journey for each of your audience personas. This will help you identify any gaps in the customer experience, and how best to target and strengthen your marketing efforts at each stage of the journey. You can also use this data to better understand where customers are dropping off, and why they may not be making it through the entire journey.
By understanding these points of friction or confusion in the customer journey, you can make improvements to the customer experience and increase your conversion rates.
And keep in mind that the customer journey is not linear. It’s more of a zig-zag. In fact, sometimes you’ll find your prospects circling back to prior points in the journey, revisiting certain questions, and then leaping ahead on other occasions. The more that your marketing addresses the journey holistically, the more effectively you’ll be able to engage with them through the constant zig-zag nature of their exploration.
Lateral Thinking for Growth
Outmaneuvering your competition and driving growth requires lateral thinking. To resolve problems, step away from the traditional thought patterns and try something new. This strategy encourages you to explore unconventional perspectives which may initially appear counterintuitive. But by doing so, you may discover innovative solutions that wouldn’t have been discovered otherwise.
For example, when I was at a prior agency, a colleague and I introduced a new form of marketing that wound up becoming the #1 leads driver for the entire company. The agency had historically invested in large industry conferences at $30,000 to $50,000 in costs per event. This put us in front of thousands of audience members.
However, the problem was that all of our competitors were exhibiting at these events as well. We had a booth, but so did 30-40 other companies.
Instead, my colleague and I launched a roadshow, where we invited those local audience members we valued most. We didn’t care how many attended, as long as they were the right individuals. The initial local event brought in 7-figure and a 6-figure contracts. The second event as well delivered a million-dollar deal. These events directly contributed to the agency growing from 85 to 700+ employees within five years.
B2B growth often requires more than just thinking outside the box. It requires a different box altogether.
Uncover 16 strategies to drive greater business growthLearn to increase your marketing output. Read the Post
Acquisitions are one way of jumpstarting B2B growth, and there are several types of acquisitions that deserve consideration.
First, you can acquire companies that offer products or services that complement what you offer. This can help you expand into new markets and grow your customer base. You can also look to acquire technology that can automate certain processes or give you an edge in the marketplace.
Or, you can buy out a competitor, giving you an immediate foothold in an existing market. This approach is particularly useful if the competitors offers similar products or services to you, as it can result in cost savings through economies of scale.
Another effective acquisition strategy is a roll-up. This involves acquiring and consolidating many smaller players in a fragmented market, creating a much larger business entity with economies of scale.
A final acquisition option is to purchase digital assets (websites, blogs, online services, etc.) that are well-established in the Google search results. This allows you to quickly rank for a significant number of non-branded keywords and dominate the SERPs.
Common among B2B growth strategies is market penetration, which involves growing your foothold in your existing markets. You may have 5% market penetration today. What’s your plan for hitting 10, 20, or even 30% market penetration moving forward?
One way to do this is by looking for ways to add value for existing customers. You might offer them additional products and services that are related to what they’re already buying from you. Or you could offer discounts on their current purchases.
You can also look for ways to optimize your pricing models, or develop more attractive payment plans and packages. This can make it easier for customers to purchase from you, allowing you to increase market penetration.
Finally, consider running targeted campaigns in existing channels. Put some extra effort into increasing the visibility of your existing products and services in order to capitalize on markets that are already familiar with your brand.
Market development is another effective way to drive growth. To do this, you must first identify target markets that have the potential to benefit from your product or service. Then you can develop strategies and tactics specifically designed to appeal to those target audiences.
This could include creating content that speaks to their needs, launching campaigns tailored to their interests, and developing offers that are attractive to them. You may also need to invest in new channels or partner with brands who can help you reach those markets.
These strategies may require a significant amount of time and effort, but they can be well worth it if they enable you to access new markets and generate more sales.
Sometimes markets are ripe for disruption. They are dominated by a few big players who essentially do everything the same way or the market has been lacking innovation.
If this is the case, you may be able to gain a foothold in that market by shaking things up. Think about what makes your product or service unique, and how it can challenge existing norms. This is where lateral thinking can really help you.
Disruption can also come in the form of offering a new pricing model or a more convenient way of doing business. Or it can look like partnering with a company to offer something that neither of you could offer on your own.
Whatever the case, market disruption can help you achieve surprising growth.
I think no one ever saved their way to the number. That’s a recipe for disaster. I think technology and disruptive innovation will always save the day.
Strategic partnerships make it possible for you to reach audiences you never would otherwise. Whether it’s partnering with a complementary brand or business, or working with key influencers, strategic partnerships are a great way to create win-win scenarios for everyone involved.
Partnering with the right people or companies can help you grow your customer base, increase brand awareness, and generate more sales. But it’s important to make sure that each partner is bringing something unique to the table and that there is alignment between your values and theirs.
Take the time to do your research and find strategic partners who can help you reach new heights.
Digital transformation (DX) is the process of transforming your business, shifting from slow, manual, outdated processes to faster, smarter, automated, digital ones. And it’s a strong B2B growth strategy. DX involves the adoption of new technology, along with new ways of operating and delivering value to customers.
As you transition to digital processes, you’ll be able to achieve efficiency gains, save time, and reduce operating costs. You’ll transform manual tasks into automated processes, better enabling you to scale.
Digital transformation helps you on the revenue side of the balance sheet, as well. You’ll reach more customers, provide better customer service, and deliver a better customer experience. All of this enables you to deepen your market penetration.
Glassbeam is a machine data intelligence and analytics company delivering digital transformation to healthcare organizations. Dave Ysseldyke, VP of Marketing and Product Management, points out that enabling your target audience to capitalize on digitalization provides you with a strong competitive edge. In Glassbeam’s case, that means enabling healthcare providers to “use data to make informed decisions, be more agile and patient-focused”.
Given the uncertainty Healthcare Providers are facing this year, a critical growth imperative for Glassbeam is delivering tangible customer value through our vendor neutral analytics. Reimbursement cuts, workforce churn and managing the unexpected require health systems to transform – using data to make informed decisions, be more agile and patient-focused.
Organic growth allows you to grow in a sustainable, cost-effective way. It’s all about leveraging your existing assets and resources to drive growth. You are earning your growth without paid advertising, sponsorships, acquisitions, mergers, or “renting an audience”.
Some ways to drive organic growth include:
SEO is one of the most effective ways to drive organic growth. It’s the only B2B growth strategy with compounding growth over time.
By optimizing your website, pages, and content, you increase visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), attract traffic to your website, and grow your audience organically. SEO is the key to greater organic lead generation.
Additionally, you can strengthen your brand’s awareness, recognition, and perception. The more you show up in the top search results for target keywords, the more likely your audience members are to respect and trust your brand.
Producing in-depth, high-quality content that speaks to the needs, desires, and goals of your audience is another effective way to drive organic growth. For the best results, create content that serves your audience throughout their journey.
By creating helpful content that solves real-world problems your audience is grappling with, you attract users, establish your brand as an expert in the field, and gain their trust. Your content also earns more social shares and attracts more backlinks from other websites. The more this happens, the higher you will show up in Google search results, which will also drive more organic traffic.
To maximize growth, treat your content like an investment portfolio, with different content serving different business purposes. For example, create content for:
Your website is one of your most valuable corporate assets, particularly when it comes to organic growth. Every time someone lands on your website, they represent a potential lead and future customer.
Your chances of capturing that lead greatly increase if you use IP detection, which allows you to identify the organizations visiting your site, track these visitors, and follow up with them, even if they don’t submit their contact information while on your site. IP detection exponentially increases your ability to generate leads organically from your site.
Your website supports and drives your growth in many other ways, as well. It acts as a 24/7 salesperson, with meticulously crafted marketing messaging. It conveys your differentiation and brand personality. And it can deliver superior customer support.
Using behavioral intelligence tools such as heat maps, scroll maps, and click maps can help you identify how users are interacting with your website. These tools use data to uncover insights into user behavior, allowing you to optimize your site for better performance and improved organic growth. They allow you to see users’ digital body language and uncover previously unknown interests and friction points.
Behavior intelligence tools make it possible for you to go deep into your website and ensure that users are having the best possible experience. By understanding where people are clicking, scrolling, and engaging on your website, you can make changes that will lead to more conversions and a higher organic growth rate.
LinkedIn is the best social media platform for B2B organic growth. With over 500 million users, it’s an excellent platform to reach potential customers and engage with your audience.
Focus on posting quality content over quantity. Make sure that your posts are relevant, interesting, and helpful. Share knowledge, insights, advice, and stories to draw in target users. Don’t overdo it with self-promotion.
By leveraging LinkedIn, you can build relationships with prospective customers, establish yourself as an authority in the industry, and ultimately drive more organic growth.
Automating some of your marketing activities streamlines your processes and frees up more time for you to focus on other B2B growth strategies. Automation can help you save time, money, and resources by automating processes such as email marketing campaigns, lead nurturing activities, and content distribution.
Using a marketing automation platform allows you to personalize content based on user behavior and interests. You can also schedule delivery of emails in advance and segment audiences according to their history with your brand.
Communities are a great way to engage with potential customers. By participating in conversations and providing helpful advice, you can establish yourself as an authority and build relationships with prospective leads. You can also use communities to gain valuable insights into your target audience. You can ask questions, learn more about their needs and preferences, and use that information to create content and campaigns that will engage them more effectively.
Building a presence in online communities (your own brand’s community as well as industry-specific communities) is an effective way to drive organic growth and establish relationships with your audience.
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Precision-Engineer Your Pricing and Profit
Pricing models such as cost-plus pricing, value-based pricing, and fixed pricing, are often a matter of “set it and forget it”. However, that’s leaving a great deal of potential revenue and profit untapped. Instead, be proactive. Look to predictive models.
“In uncertain economic markets,” SAP‘s Ginger Shimp points out, “we need to understand how costs affect our pricing and profits. It’s not enough to look backwards to set pricing strategy, we need predictive models and data to capture anticipated purchase behavior, we need to explore price segmentation, and we need to determine the constraints on profit maximization.”
It’s not enough to look backwards to set pricing strategy, we need predictive models and data to capture anticipated purchase behavior, we need to explore price segmentation, and we need to determine the constraints on profit maximization.
Marketing Funnel Optimization
There are always methods to more effectively optimize your marketing funnel.
Map your customer journey to your marketing funnel and identify each customer touchpoint. Once you’ve identified your customer touchpoints, look for areas where you can make improvements. You want to create a seamless experience from the initial contact to when they become a loyal customer.
Look for ways to increase conversions, such as optimizing your website, improving user experience, and personalizing content and messaging according to audience interests. Explore behavioral CTAs and A/B testing. By doing so, you will be able to drive more organic growth and boost your bottom line.
Another highly effective B2B growth strategy is the 80/20 rule. You can use the rule in several ways to drive greater growth. Applying the 80/20 approach to your marketing helps you to be more efficient with your efforts, deepen your competitive edge, and generate greater marketing ROI.
First, identify the 20% of your marketing efforts that produce the lowest results. Cut those activities from your marketing strategies. Be ruthless. Additionally, determine the 20% of your marketing that is producing the best results. These are the activities you should double down on.