May 28, 2024 | 12 min read

Crafting a winning B2B growth strategy

Like children, businesses need nurturing to grow big, resilient and successful. But while food and education nourish children, companies can only realize their full potential through an effective growth strategy.

Growth strategies are detailed plans for how you aim to expand your business, with growth-oriented operating models generating three times the Total Shareholder Return (TSR). Companies in the business-to-business (B2B) sector require especially meticulous growth planning, as building an initial customer base is a particularly methodical and involved task. Alternatively, business-to-consumer (B2C) companies can afford to stumble out of the gate, as there are far more consumers than businesses to market to.

In this guide, we’ll lay out an effective B2B growth strategy and provide key insights about sales, growth marketing, lead generation, and other operations to optimize your approach to future development so that your business can grow successfully.

Foundations of a strong B2B growth strategy

To build the perfect B2B growth strategy, you should first identify who you’re growing to serve. As a B2B business, your audience may feature a diverse range of companies operating in multiple sectors, across various locations and at different scales.

To get a firmer grasp of these customers’ pain points, motivations, and likelihood to purchase, conduct market research and divide your potential base into segments. Segmenting your market means organizing customers into groups based on:

  • Geography – Where they are.
  • Demographics – Their key consumer characteristics, such as age, income and gender.
  • Psychographics – Factors such as interests, opinions, lifestyle choices and personality types.
  • Behavior – What they’ve bought in the past and the types of products they enjoy.

B2B market segmentationou to target specific groups that are more likely to convert than others. For B2B-oriented companies, some segmentation factors—such as business size, industry sector and location—may be more pertinent than others.

Once you’ve identified and organized your audience, you can plan out how to effectively market to them.

Key elements of growth in B2B

Generally, businesses that strike it big bring something innovative to the table. They hop across markets and find entirely new ones based on their products. Likewise, they work with established brands to build their own reputation and foster mutual development.

Innovation in product/service offering

Offering the next big breakthrough in your industry is a quick ticket to widespread awareness and interest. Not to mention, 84% of executives feel that innovation is critical to their growth strategy.

As a B2B company, you may be:

  • Developing digital tools
  • Offering practical solutions to local businesses
  • Introducing a new product to the commercial market

Whatever your product or service may be, be sure to differentiate it with new features, capabilities, or other factors to appeal to your target market.

Nextdoor Ads Manager is one such market innovator that revolutionizes the way businesses connect with their customers. It can help you expand your company by offering key insights into local businesses and the neighbors they serve. With area-specific information on income and other demographic factors, you can better determine your business’s feasibility in certain locations.

Market expansion

Truly innovative businesses don’t just light up their market—they expand into adjacent ones and even establish markets of their own.

Take cell phones as an example. They entered communication as a market more broadly. Then, they overtook other technologies, such as pagers, and have gone on to compete with computers before innovating so uniquely that they’re now in a market of their own.

To that end, start by establishing a core base of prospects and pitching your product to them. Build off these early adopters, and ask for referrals whenever possible—company decision-makers trust peer recommendations 90% of the time when making purchasing choices, so their word is essentially gold within their industry.

Strategic partnerships

Referrals are essential for sustainable growth, but strategic partnerships can catapult your business into another echelon of awareness and trust. In fact, 82% of businesses plan to build their roster of partners as part of their future growth plans, meaning there will be plenty of prospects to strike deals with as you expand your operations.

When choosing who to partner with, look to established industry mainstays and innovative young startups making waves in their space. Explore businesses that don’t directly mirror your products, but offer a useful complement that will enhance both parties in the partnership.

Take, for instance, how Thumbtack (a property maintenance app that pairs homeowners with contractors) partnered with Nextdoor. The two platforms blended seamlessly—Nextdoor provided the medium for homeowners to search for construction professionals, and Thumbtack supplied the actual contractors and builders themselves.

Digital transformation in B2B

Digital transformation refers to the incorporation of new, computer-based technology into your business’s products, workflows and planning—and it’s essential if you want to stay competitive in the modern B2B market.

In fact, the market for such technologies is growing by a staggering 27.6% year over year and shows no signs of slowing down.

What digital transformation means for your company, however, may not be the same as other businesses. Digital transformation is a broad concept and may include altering your:

  • Organizational structure
  • Staff count
  • Product and service offerings

Consider this case study: for fast food favorite Jack in the Box, one aspect of their digital transformation was more efficiently using online platforms such as social media to advertise their products. To do so, they partnered with Nextdoor to target neighbors who love quick bites and live in their operating region.

Through a slew of sponsored video ads and product slideshows on users’ newsfeeds, Jack dove into the digital era and captured more customers than they thought possible. In just two days, they reeled in nearly 1,000,000 new fans and blew past their established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

When a pet insurance brand enacted similar digital transformation strategies, it likewise garnered excellent results. After leveraging Nextdoor as a primary advertising platform, certain targeted market segments boosted:

  • Brand awareness by 23%
  • Ad recall, a trusted measure of an advertisement’s memorability, by 33%
  • Recommendations by 33%
  • Consideration of their services by 32%
  • Brand Favorability by 15%

Ultimately, embracing digital systems is the modern way of expanding your business and building your brand. So, when plotting out a future growth plan, consider what tools, platforms and technologies you can optimize to extend your reach and improve your services.

B2B sales strategies

Expanding your business also means selling to more customers. To interest, attract and convert them, you’ll need to establish an effective sales strategy.

Many companies utilize a sales funnel to better structure their marketing tactics and selling plans. A sales funnel is a kind of organizational model that helps businesses visualize how close a particular account is to closing. They’re generally comprised of different steps, including:

  • Prospecting – Identifying and contacting potential customers to introduce them to your products and generate new leads.
  • Lead qualification – Assessing the quality of potential customers based on their likelihood to purchase your products.
  • Negotiation – Highlighting your products’ unique features, responding to objections and working with clients to move toward a closed deal.
  • Closing – Ending the sales process, either with a win or a missed opportunity.

Your sales funnel may not follow these exact parameters, but you should establish one nonetheless to help your staff get a sense of your clients’ journeys to purchasing.

To further empower your sales staff, you should also utilize an effective Client Relationship Manager (CRM). CRMs help you easily collect and organize client data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, account information, and other relevant particulars. They let sales representatives learn more about a client at a glance and give them the information they need to negotiate their way to a closed deal.

Looping back to digital transformation, remain open to adopting new sales and marketing automation tools as they arise. Around a third of modern sales tasks can already be automated, giving your employees more time to focus on other elements of the sales process.

B2B marketing strategies

All successful sales strategies work in tandem with the right B2B marketing strategies. When it comes to marketing products and services, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key strategy. A powerful digital marketing strategy, SEO is the process of trying to get your website to appear at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when someone makes a query on Google or a similar platform.

Some tips for pulling this off include:

  • Creating buyer profiles on your ideal B2B buyers to get a better sense of their motivations and habits
  • Conducting keyword research on your potential clients to see the kinds of terms they’re searching for
  • Creating optimized landing pages that quickly inform users about your products’ utility and expedite their journey into the sales funnel
  • Linking your pages on partner websites (called backlinks) and, in turn, linking other pages on your own

Additionally, no B2B marketing strategy would be complete without effectively utilizing content marketing efforts on social media. Consider what platforms your target audience might be on, and then create profiles to connect with them.

With 95% of B2B marketers utilizing social media to create marketing campaigns, connect with future clients, and generate leads, it’s a must-have strategy for any company looking to drive growth.

Finally, consider an email marketing strategy to connect with customers who are already subscribed to your firm's contact list. An effective growth marketing strategy, utilizing emails to deliver relevant, high-quality content to your subscribers can drive revenue growth and promote client retention.

Utilizing B2B market research can help you identify which specific marketing channels will be most effective in reaching your target segments.

Lead generation and customer acquisition

Generating leads and acquiring new customers is the very process by which growth occurs. Finding new businesses to market to, however, takes strategic planning and keen knowledge of your industry.

To generate more high-quality leads, B2B businesses can:

  • Post laudable content83% of marketers agree that it’s more important to share high-quality content less often than to upload forgettable content more frequently. To that end, carefully curate all of the content you post online.
  • Create an impeccable online image – Before even speaking with one of your sales representatives, 96% of potential prospects will have already conducted their own research on your company. They’ll likely do so by scouring your social media, website and online review sites to get a sense of your offerings and reliability. For this reason, it’s important to establish an impressive, trustworthy brand identity across as many platforms as possible.
  • Offer free trials – Giving your potential customers a taste of what they’re missing out on can quickly entice them to pull the trigger. Not to mention, free trials boast a conversion rate of nearly 50%, so they’re a leading way to get more businesses interested in your products or services.

After generating leads, you still have to convince them to actually patronize your business. This process is called lead nurturing, and it looks different for every company. Nonetheless, you can work toward boosting conversions by being responsive to your clientele, acknowledging their objections and concerns and being willing to negotiate when it comes time to close the deal.

Scaling your B2B business

In order to grow your business, you must scale your operations to reach more customers and markets. To build upon your initial base of customers, your B2B business can:

  • Establish a referral program – As mentioned, there are no more trusted opinions amongst B2B industry professionals than those of their peers. So, incentivize customers to share your products and services by offering discounts, free products or other goodies for referring future clients.
  • Train more staff – If your business is expanding and reaching more clients, it's pertinent to take on more staff to help evenly distribute the workload.
  • Create an effective sales process – Like a sales funnel, a sales process indicates how far along your potential customers are in their buying journey. It gives sales representatives actionable steps to take based on an account’s progress and ensures fewer clients fall off due to neglect or mismanagement.

In the past, young B2B companies may have eyed domestic growth as their primary goal. However, more and more firms are now deciding to expand internationally. In fact, 75% of B2B purchases are now entirely online and locationally independent—meaning you can just as easily tap foreign markets for business growth as you can your own.

Optimize Nextdoor Ads Manager to take your B2B business to new heights

A winning B2B growth strategy takes careful planning and organizational commitment. It involves identifying a viable target market, offering innovative solutions that meet their needs and adapting to new technologies and challenges as they arise. But with effective marketing strategies, sales techniques and strategic partnerships, you can elevate your B2B company to new heights.

And, when it comes to partnerships, there’s none more strategic than one with Nextdoor Ads Manager. Nextdoor Ads Manager provides key insights into potential markets to give you a clear idea of whether or not they’re viable for launching your products and services.

With information on local incomes and demographics, you’ll gain instant access to the crucial information you need to power your segmentation and marketing efforts. And, with performance trackers testing your ads against marketing’s most pertinent KPIs, you’ll always be up-to-date on your campaign’s health and profitability.

Establish your Nextdoor Business Page and begin optimizing Nextdoor Ads Manager to grow your business beyond your wildest expectations.



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