Theory is splendid but until put into practice, it is valueless. – James Cash Penney
By Erik Devaney
Google the phrase sales and marketing advice and you’ll be met with more than 90 million results.
With so many different theories, opinions, and strategies on sales and marketing to sort through, it can be hard to separate the good advice from the bad. And when faced with contradictory ideas, who do you believe?
Do you side with the sales and marketing influencer from this company over here who’s telling you to do x, or the consultant from that company over there who’s telling you to do y?
We recently teamed up with Mattermark to take a different approach to understanding sales and marketing best practices. Instead of simply listening to what companies were saying about sales and marketing, we looked into what companies were actually doing.
And more specifically, we looked at the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies in the U.S. to see what we could learn.
Our goal in creating this report was to turn the spotlight on the sales and marketing tactics of high-growth B2B companies.
Using Mattermark data, we identified the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies in the U.S. based on factors including employee headcount, social traction, website traffic, and funding.
Next, we researched and audited the websites of those 50 companies to see what they were up to.
Here are a few of the findings that caught our attention:
44% (22 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies offer downloadable content, like ebooks or whitepapers.
For comparison, 80% (40 out of 50) of the companies maintain a blog or online publication. So it seems like most of the fastest-growing companies are focused more on top-of-the-funnel content vs. lead nurturing content.
Of those 22 companies that offer downloadable content, 14 of them gate it. The other 8 leave their content ungated.
See, we’re not the only ones doing it! With 8 of the fastest-growing B2B companies keeping content ungated, this form-free approach is clearly capable of facilitating growth.
That being said, more of the companies on our list are still relying on the traditional, gated approach to content. So we haven’t reached an inflection point … yet.
22% (11 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies have a live chat widget on their website.
The individual use cases of live chat really stuck out to me here. With most websites, the live chat widget would appear on the homepage in the bottom right corner, and remain there throughout your stay on the site.
But in 3 cases, companies would have the widget appear only after you navigated to a specific page (e.g., a pricing page or contact page).
And in one case, the live chat widget only appeared after you filled out a free quote form.
These types of qualitative findings can help us to better identify and understand the nuances of our own sales and marketing operations.
Ultimately, all of the tactics and approaches we use become woven together to form the overall experience our website visitors and customers have. And that experience is what determines success.
Or as James Cash Penney put it:
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”
Header image courtesy of Drift.