What B2B Enterprise Tech Marketers Can Learn from Sean Ellis’s “Hacking Growth”

How can B2B enterprise tech marketers benefit from Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown’s latest book, Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success, in order to transform their enterprise tech companies into larger-scale, rapidly expanding businesses?

Early on in the book, Ellis and Morgan specify that growth hacking is not just a tool for entrepreneurs, as “it can be implemented just as effectively at a large established company as at a small fledgling start-up…it is designed to work on the largest scale (company-wide) or the smallest scale (a single campaign or project).”

Before we dive into actionable insight(s), how does Sean Ellis define his self-coined “growth hacking” term, and what does it mean?

Growth Hacking: “the methodical, rapid-fire generation and testing of new ideas for product development and marketing, and the use of data on user behavior to find the winning ideas that drive growth.”

At its core, the growth hacking process consists of a recurring, four-pronged cycle:

b2b enterprise tech marketers

(Image source: growthhacker.com)

As enterprise tech marketers, how can we maximize the power of growth hacking?

Which user behavior data should we look for, and how will it benefit our marketing efforts?

 

 

The Practical Steps of Growth Hacking

LogMeIn’s Conversion Success Story

Initially, Ellis shares that from its offset, LogMeIn was an “ingenious product”, which is what warranted his (implemented) suggestion to “pivot” LogMeIn “from a paid to freemium model in an effort to differentiate the service from its fierce competitor, GoToMyPC.”

But after the freemium model was exposed to potential customers via thorough marketing efforts, such as costly ad spending, (not to mention repeated testing of the ad copy, keywords, and advertising platforms,) the low numbers in customer acquisition, or as Ellis describes it, “woefully low conversion rates”, did not generate a positive ROI.

In order to figure out what was going wrong, how could behavioral data explain why users weren’t converting to a freemium, highly useful product? What’s more, how could the marketers and engineers involved leverage user data to not only raise the conversion rate, but to scale up their user base, too?

Ellis shows us firsthand how each step of the growth hacking method positioned LogMeIn to prove the real potential of its offering;

  • Get feedback from users:

When the decision was eventually made to ask users via email why they initially signed up for the freemium service but then weren’t using the service, the collective response was simple: “people didn’t believe the service was really free.”

  • Implement the feedback:

After many marketing and design iterations, one strategy finally worked: adding a simple link to “buy the paid version”, which resulted in the conversion rate tripling. 

  • Delve (deeper) into user behavior data:

Next, as more users were successfully converting, an even bigger drop-off rate among users was revealing itself; yes, more and more users were downloading, but this only increased the number of users who were downloading the LogMeIn service and then not using it.

  • Implement the findings:

Now that they had the behavioral data in their palm of their hands, the experimenting began:

The marketing and engineering teams kept repeatedly changing the steps of the software’s installation process and sign-up steps, and testing the outcomes.

Finally, when the teams landed upon an installation process that proved to work best, the search ads that were once ineffective had now become cost-effective — scaling the software’s profitably at over 700%.

Not only were the company’s low conversion rates nursed back to health, its growth was scaled beyond expectation.

As Ellis concludes, “the solution had been found in just weeks, using a recipe that included healthy doses of out-of-the-box thinking, cross-company collaboration, and problem solving, real-time market testing and experimentation (conducted at little or no cost), and a commitment to being nimble and responsive in acting on the results.”

No User Left Behind

Once an enterprise tech marketer can gather enough user feedback that will identify why a marketing campaign isn’t performing well enough, he must do all he can to reap every possible fruit of this insight;

He implements the feedback and digs into the behavioral data as deeply and as quickly as possible. He’s made it his duty to notice everything about his users — and act on every finding.

As a growth hacking marketer, his motto has become: ‘No user left behind!’

Fine-tuning Growth Hacking for B2B Marketing

This past May, Observer Innovation’s Ryan Holiday interviewed Sean Ellis in “Dropbox’s Growth Guru Sean Ellis on What Everyone Misses About ‘Growth Hacking”. One of Holiday’s final questions to Ellis was:

“Growth hacking is pretty straightforward for B2C companies. How do you apply the framework to B2B businesses?”

Ellis answered:

Growth hacking is important for both B2B and B2C. In both cases, you have a customer journey that generally crosses multiple teams and a process of experimentation across that journey is important for driving customer and revenue growth.

One important difference is that B2B usually has a lower volume of prospective users in the funnel so you generally can’t run as many lower funnel experiments...

Often B2B experiments will be to drive distribution for content or a free version of a product, and then additional experiments are needed to drive prospects from these funnels into the premium product funnel or to figure out how to turn new customers into long-term users.”

Growth Hacking Long-Term Users

Keep Users. Happy. Repeat.

Ellis also brings the example of Evernote’s Smile Graph, which “shows that the longer people use Evernote, the more likely they are to continue using it.”

Image source: techcrunch.com

Way back in 2012, Nir Eyal described Evernote’s Smile Graph as ‘building behaviors instead of building apps.’

Evernote’s Smile Graph is built on the premise that “your service’s usefulness improves over time” — the longer you use Evernote as your note-keeping product, the more of your information is stored there, and the more inclined you are to re-download it to access your ideas and notes, as well as add to your existing collection.

The Power of Stored Value

Otherwise known as “the opportunity to capitalize on the power of stored value” in order to “increase retention over time”, whether B2B or B2C, companies cannot solely rely on the smile graph’s intrinsic growth pattern to guarantee that “customers will continue to be actively engaged.”

Growth Hacking User Feedback

So how can you get the user insights you need to growth hack your B2B Enterprise Technology offering?

Start by gathering user feedback in the form of case studies, user testimonials, and product reviews, and use it as your basis for digging deeper into your users’ experience.

Beneath the surface lies your users’ behavioral data — indicating patterns and guiding you towards identifying what your offering’s stored value is, and how you can leverage (aka growth hack) these experiences.

Growth hacking tools in hand, the ultimate duty of the B2B enterprise tech marketer is to be constantly giving his users a reason to keep coming back to what he’s offering — and to always be sticking around for more.

Read now:

17 B2B Tech Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2017

Our list of 17 B2B tech marketing influencers handpicks industry pioneers of 2017. These influencers specialize in areas such as revenue-building strategies, community-building, customer advocacy and engagement, content strategy initiatives, and product marketing.

  1. Lynn Vojvodich @lvojvodich ‏ 

b2b tech marketing influencersLynn Vojvodich is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce, where she has developed and led growth and innovation strategies for more than 20 years, primarily in the enterprise software industry.

In her current role as CMO, Lynn leads the global marketing organization and is responsible for driving market leadership, global awareness, demand generation, strategic events and communications for salesforce.com.

  1. Roland Smart @rsmartly

b2b tech marketing influencersRoland Smart is the VP of Social & Community Marketing at Oracle, where he oversees Oracle’s user communities and advocacy program and manages acquired marketing technologies (e.g. Compendium) for the Corporate Marketing group.

Examples of Roland’s work include “The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage”, as well as publications on rolandsmart.com, Forbes.com, iMedia and other publications. Roland speaks at industry events such as the ad:tech, The Social Media Optimization Conference, Modern Marketing Experience, Oracle OpenWorld, and SXSW.

  1. Richard Millington @RichMillington

b2b tech marketing influencersRichard Millington is the Founder & Managing Director of FeverBee Limited. Founded in 2007, FeverBee is a team of “community veterans” consultants who have developed a training course, and published the most popular community-building book, “Buzzing Communities”, which is “widely cited as introducing best practices into developing successful online communities.”

Since 2004, Richard has “helped to develop over 150+ successful communities, including those for Google, The World Bank, Oracle, Amazon, Autodesk, Lego, The United Nations, Novartis, and many more.”

  1. Ardath Albee @ardathalbee

b2b tech marketing influencersArdath Albee is the CEO and B2B marketing strategist for her consulting firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. Ardath’s modus-operandi is to help her clients “create persona-driven, digital content marketing strategy with compelling content platforms that contribute to downstream revenues.”

Examples of her work include “eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale”, and “Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results.”  

  1. Carter Lusher @carterlusher

b2b tech marketing influencersCarter Lusher is an analyst relations (AR) professional at Informatica, where his main focus is driving top-line revenue growth. Carter is also a co-founder, Chief Research Officer, and Master Strategist at SageCircle.

Carter earned the “Analyst of the Year” honors twice during his seven-year tenure with the Gartner Group. At Gartner, Carter developed services for support strategies, where he “concentrated on all aspects of delivering customer service and technical support for both outside customers and internal end users.”

  1. Sam Whitmore @SamWhitmore

b2b tech marketing influencersSam Whitmore is the founder and editor of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey, where he provides tech media analysis and consulting to tech PR pros and media buyers.

Recent examples of Sam’s work include Inc.com’s “Inc. Wants Contributors and Invests in Them”, The Next Web’s “Contributed Content Challenges at the Next Web”, “Contributed Content: Copy Tips”, Media Survey’s “Contributed Content Gatekeepers: The Directory”.

  1. Emily Miller @Emily_S_Miller

b2b tech marketing influencersEmily Miller is Senior Director of Brand & Audience Marketing at NetApp, where she directs integrated marketing campaigns and programs “built upon a centralized content model.”

Examples of Emily’s marketing campaigns and programs include Brand Strategy & Research, Integrated Marketing Programs, Account Based Marketing, Content Development & Distribution, and Creative.

  1. Lawrence Hecht @lawrencehecht

Lawrence Hechtb2b tech marketing influencers is an Analyst, Research Director and Infomediary at Lawrence Hecht Consulting, where he produces research reports about IT markets.

In 1999, Lawrence created the Internet Public Policy Network (IPPN), a network of subject-matter experts that provided customer research, white papers, and advice about technology-related public policy issues.

Lawrence’s most recent work includes “voice of the customer” surveys for the 451 Research and TheInfoPro, which address enterprise IT B2B markets such as Cloud Computing, Data Analytics and Information Security.

  1. Davin Wilfrid @dwilfrid

b2b tech marketing influencersDavid Wilfrid is the Senior Manager of Customer Advocacy at QuickBase, an app development platform whose value proposition is to “unify IT and business to quickly and easily build and maintain scalable productivity apps.”

At QuickBase, Davin drives “strategic initiatives through customer engagement, customer success, sales, marketing, and product development.”

Recent examples of Davin’s publications include “How to Develop The User-Generated Content (UGC) Your Brand Desperately Needs”, and “The Fajita Effect: Customer Advocacy and Social Proof for B2B Marketers.”

  1. Ann Lewnes @alewnes

b2b tech marketing influencersAnn Lewnes is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Adobe.

At Adobe, Ann is described as having led the marketing organization’s pioneering to digital, as she enabled them to deploy a “comprehensive set of digital marketing solutions, establishing an insight-driven culture, and setting a template for marketing’s strategic impact on business.”

Ann currently serves on the boards of Mattel and the Ad Council. In 2015, Ad Age named Ann to The Creativity 50, a list honoring the most creative people of the year.

  1. Bill Lee @bill_lee

b2b tech marketing influencersBill Lee is the Founder of Center for Customer Engagement, a “community of top-tier corporations” built around customer advocacy and engagement. The Center for Customer Engagement’s clients include Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com, CA Technologies, and more.

Bill authored and published the book “The Hidden Wealth of Customers, which Forbes Online’s Dorie Clark described in 2012 as “one of the most insightful business books I’ve read this year.”

  1. Scott Brinker @chiefmartech

b2b tech marketing influencersScott Brinker is the Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer at ion interactive, an interactive content platform that “provides the scalable foundation to grow from one interactive experience to one thousand interactive experiences.”

At ion, Scott oversees product development and technical operations, where he also specializes in helping marketers “implement innovative post-click marketing.”

Scott also runs the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog, which “covers the intersection of marketing and technology” and boasts an audience of 40,000 readers, mostly mid-to-senior level marketers, and marketing technology experts.

Mark is also the program chair of the MarTech conference series, an international conference series for “senior-level, hybrid professionals who are both marketing- and tech-savvy: marketing technologists, creative technologists, growth hackers, data scientists, and digital strategists.”

  1. Wendy Perilli @wendyperilli

b2b tech marketing influencersWendy Perilli is VP Corporate and Digital Marketing at Druva Software, a cloud data protection and information management solution.

Previously, Wendy worked as the Senior Director of Global Campaigns and Americas Marketing at ServiceNow, where she onboarded and led a marketing team who delivered 134% of the pipeline number across nine campaigns worldwide.

Wendy has also served in various executive positions across corporate, channel, product and demand generation marketing at HPE Enterprise, OpTier, VMware, and Mercury.

  1. Jack Marshall @JackMarshall

b2b tech marketing influencersJack Marshall is a Marketing & Media Reporter at The Wall Street Journal. Jack was previously a staff writer for Digiday and a reporter for ClickZ.

Some of Jack’s latest Wall Street Journal stories include: “Ad Blockers Say They Won’t Be Replaced By Google Chrome Ad Filter”, “Google Will Help Publishers Prepare for a Chrome Adblocker Coming Next Year”, and “Facebook Tool Handles Media Companies’ Video Ad Sales.”

  1. Yuval Dvir @DvirYuval

b2b tech marketing influencersYuval Dvir is Head of EMEA Online Partnerships at Google Cloud. Yuval has been at Google since 2014, where he served as Head of Strategy, Change & Product Operations, Ads.

Since January 2016, in his role as Head of EMEA Online Partnerships, Yuval has been helping “organizations change and transform by adopting a lean, agile and modern way of working, powered by Google’s Cloud and App infrastructure.”

Yuval previously worked as Director of Business Transformation at Microsoft, and as Senior Manager of Product Strategy & Operations at Skype.

  1. Robert Rose @Robert_Rose

b2b tech marketing influencersRobert Rose is the Chief Content Adviser for the Content Marketing Institute.

Over the last five years alone, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided marketing advice and counsel for global brands such as Capital One, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, and others.

Robert’s most recent book, co-authored with Joe Pulizzi, “Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing” has been called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.”

  1. Mark Organ @markorgan

b2b tech marketing influencersMark Organ is the CEO at Influitive, where he helps “companies mobilize their advocates to produce massive increases in referral leads, reference calls, social media participation and more.”

Previously the founding CEO of Eloqua the “world leader in marketing automation software which was acquired by Oracle for $871M, Mark has helped over a dozen companies “successfully go to market in asymmetrical or disruptive ways.”

If you’re interested in B2B technology marketing, follow IT Central Station CEO @RussRothsteinIT and IT Central Station’s Twitter feed @ITCenSta for up-to-date news and user reviews.

Looking forward to connecting!

 

Did we leave anybody out?

Tweet us @ITCenSta to let us know if you think we missed somebody.

How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify Your B2B User Reviews

Why is it important to share user reviews on social media? What can existing and potential customers gain from reading peer reviews about your product on channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?

Social Media and User Reviews: A B2B Marketing Power Couple

Forbes CMO Network contributor, Steve Olenski, hits the nail on the head with his answer for this very question: “It’s a fact. Your prospects are making up their minds about what to buy by reading social media content. Make use of this behavior. Integrate real reviews and ratings into your social media feeds to increase customer engagement and get more sales.”

Jeff Bullas adds another layer of brand value that social media can enable when used to distribute your user reviews:

“Sharing real-time experience of your buyers on your website, blogs, social media accounts, etc. will show how you deliver on your brand promise in the real world. Plus, your chance of drawing in more traffic to your site increases when customers write good reviews about your brand on social media platforms.”

Users would rather hear authentic feedback and read reviews written by real users, who have tried and tested the product themselves.

But how can you make sure that your user reviews are seen on social media, and that you’re tapping into your optimal target audience?

In this post, we share:

  1. Examples of vendors who have mastered the technique of sharing their products’ user reviews on social media channels.
  2. A Step-by-Step guide for how B2B tech marketers can expand the reach of their user reviews to a growing audience, all through social media.

Sharing your user reviews over Twitter

As of May 2017, Twitter’s social network boasts 313M active users on a monthly basis. A lucrative social engagement platform, Twitter allows us to generate more traffic to user reviews, so that as many tech professionals as possible can consume our valuable, peer-reviewed content.

user reviews

Viki Paige, a Senior Principal Product Marketing Manager at CA Technologies, tweeted this infographic that shows how CA Technologies Solutions rank as the #1 solution in various IT Central Station categories, such as APM, Network Management Applications, Network Troubleshooting, and others.

Viki’s tweet generated 91 Retweets and 18 Likes, engaging users in their peer-review content.

Sharing your user reviews over Facebook

With 1.13 billion daily active users, Facebook’s social network generates 36% of all social media-referred traffic to B2B websites.  

When Nagios shares review content that emphasizes their software’s ranking as the #1 network monitoring tool on IT Central Station, by means of a ‘thank-you post’ on their company Facebook page — they amplify their role as the industry leader for network monitoring.

nagios reviews

Sharing your user reviews over LinkedIn

When BMC Software’s Senior Technical Marketing Consultant for TrueSight ITOps, Patrick T Campbell, shared an insightful user review written by an IT Central Station user, it generated 13 likes, a significant amount of engagement for an enterprise technology company posting on LinkedIn.

bmc reviews

So how can B2B tech marketers leverage networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to generate traffic to their user reviews?


Step-by-Step Guide: How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify B2B Reviews

1. Share your User Reviews on Twitter

Example:

b2b reviews

  • Tweet valuable, engaging quotes from your user reviews.
  • When you can, add an engaging image to your tweet that’s relevant to the content. Users are much more likely to click when you’ve caught their eye.
  • Always add the relevant hashtags associated with the topic or industry of your product:

Hashtags that are relevant to your target audience will introduce you to online audiences that may never have met you before.

  • Check the rankings for every hashtag you want to use. These scores can be found on sites such as hashtagify.me or semrush.com:

b2b reviews

  • If your user review’s author has a Twitter account, mention their handle in the tweet!
2. Post user reviews on Facebook

Example:

it infrastructure monitoring reviews

 

  • When linking to your review content on Facebook, think of a catchy phrase that will encourage users to click.

Facebook users are more inclined to click on posts that ask questions they want answers for. Some ideas:

Some ideas:

  • “What do users really think?” about your solution?
  • “Who was ranked as a top solution?
  • “This user chose Solution X over Solution Y. Find out why in their review.”

Once you’ve identified the geographical location(s) of your target audience, schedule your posts according to their time zones.

If you can catch commuters on their morning train ride while they’re browsing their news feed, you’re much more likely to find engaged readers.

3. Distribute Review Content on LinkedIn

Example:

b2b reviews

  • Use industry-related terminology in your LinkedIn posts, that show users that your content discusses topics and questions they want to read about.
  • Search for (and join) LinkedIn groups where your target audience is most likely to be found. If you’re publishing user reviews that will interest storage professionals, for example, join active LinkedIn groups that are built for these users, such as:

b2b reviews

Interested in learning more about how IT Central Station can help you collect quality user reviews?Contact us here

 

How CA Technologies Leveraged IT Central Station to Increase Brand Awareness and Generate High Quality Leads

Why Peer Reviews Matter To CA Technologies

CA Technologies, formerly known as Computer Associates International, Inc. and CA, Inc., is an American multinational publicly held corporation headquartered in New York City. It ranks as one of the largest independent software corporations in the world. The company creates systems software (and previously applications software) that runs in mainframe, distributed computing, virtual machine and cloud computing environments.

B2B Reviews in Enterprise Tech Marketing Strategies

CA Technologies sought to solidify the role of B2B reviews into their marketing strategies, recognizing the importance of peer recommendations in driving product awareness, consideration, and user conversion.

They chose to engage with the enterprise technology community of IT Central Station, a crowdsourced social platform where users write in-depth product reviews and discuss technology solutions they use.

Why IT Central Station?

CA Technologies started working with IT Central Station in order to drive their potential buyers to the authentic, valuable feedback given by peers in the tech community.

IT Central Station is the leading review site for enterprise technology buyers. All reviews are in-depth and include both valuable features and room for improvement. All IT Central Station reviews are triple validated to ensure authenticity.

Within days, CA Technologies found that buyers were leveraging IT Central Station in their decision-making.

CA Technologies on IT Central Station

Currently, CA Technologies has 91 solutions listed on IT Central Station, with a total of 1,066 CA Technologies product reviews. These reviews have been viewed over 150,000 times this year, impacting thousands of buyers on their user journey.

In-depth Product Reviews

b2b reviews

CA Technologies product reviews entail user input such as ‘How Has this CA Technologies Solution Improved Your Organization?’ and ‘Where Do you Suggest Room for Improvement in this CA Technologies Solution?

Comprehensive Video Reviews

IT Central Station attended CA World in both 2015 and 2016 to collect quality user reviews in video-interview format:

CA Technologies

CA Product Rankings

In IT Central Station’s category rankings, which are compiled based on number of views, comparisons, number of reviews, and product scores based on user feedback, CA Technologies solutions rank as the #1 solution in the following categories:

API Management

Mainframe Management

Mainframe Security

Mainframe Application Development

Event Monitoring

Test Data Management

Release Automation

Workload Automation

Service Virtualization

Project Portfolio Management

Network Troubleshooting

Network Management Applications

Infrastructure Capacity Planning

License Management

“IT Central Station is an extension of our marketing efforts.”

This statement was made by Cameron Von Orman, SVP Product Marketing at CA Technologies.

Von Orman elaborates on how CA Technologies leveraged IT Central Station to “confirm the capability of our products in the Enterprise IT market” —

“The IT Central Station peer review platform creates a no-pressure environment for our customers to provide honest feedback that their peers in the technology industry are much more inclined to trust. Peer reviews are an increasingly valuable part of a buyer’s journey.

CA is now well represented on a neutral and unbiased channel where the capabilities and quality of our solutions are demonstrated through the reviews of our users, who are solving real, complex business challenges.

The reviews and competitive comparison reports have not only helped us confirm the capability of our products in the Enterprise IT market, but have also helped with our lead generation, making these services an extension of our marketing efforts.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with IT Central Station, and utilizing the range of complementary services that they have to offer.”

Interested in learning more about IT Central Station?

Click here for more information about how we can help your marketing efforts in 2017.

How To Integrate Customer Advocacy Into Your B2B Marketing Strategy

When planning your 2017 marketing strategy and budget, you’ve probably covered activities related to online marketing activities, PR and brand building, along with designated time and budget for social media promotion, but have you included the voice of your user or customer in your marketing activities?

According to Forrester, 74% of B2B buyers are doing more than 50% of their purchasing research online. A recent study done by Gartner also revealed that 68% of a customer’s buying time is spent away from the actual vendor.

What type of content are users consuming online, if they are not doing their research on vendor sites?

As you can see in the infographic below, interested buyers are engaging with peer experiences, and product ratings and reviews. While users are spending less time on vendor sites, they are seeking out the experiences of your current customers to hear what they have to say.

peer reviews

Instead of sitting by passively when your users seek out alternatives, B2B Enterprise marketers in 2017 have a unique opportunity to harness this content. Marketers can integrate feedback from happy customers to produce detailed user reviews, testimonials and case studies.

peer reviews

Interested in finding out more about how to create new innovative marketing strategies built upon customer advocacy?

Find the IT Central Station team at The Summit on Customer Engagement, March 6th-8th 2017, Redwood Shores, CA. We will be in the Grand Ballroom Foyer, Table 6.