9-Step B2B Growth Marketing Strategy to Get Your First High-Ticket Clients

Steal the 9 B2B growth marketing strategies we used to scale our SaaS startup from 0 to the first high-ticket customers.
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9-Step B2B Growth Marketing Strategy to Get Your First High-Ticket Clients

Steal the 9 B2B growth marketing strategies we used to scale our SaaS startup from 0 to the first high-ticket customers.

We built Adriel, a B2B SaaS marketing dashboard software in 2017, with the mission to eliminate boring, repetitive tasks for digital marketers, so they can focus on what they’re best at: growth.

In less than 6 years, we landed 300 high-ticket customers such as ARKET, LG, Decathlon, and Harley Davidson and we’re proudly serving 6300+ agencies and brands around the world. So far, we've helped them:

  • Save 75,000+ hours on reporting
  • Cut out 90% of time spent manually compiling data
  • Ensure 99.9% data accuracy
  • Get data from 650+ marketing, analytics, and advertising platforms

So, how did we do it?

In this article, we unveil our 9-step growth framework on exactly how we grew our B2B SaaS company. Whether you’re in marketing or legal services, these strategies can help you land your first high-ticket customers:

  • Step 1: Master Product-Market Fit
  • Step 2: Find your early adopters 
  • Step 3: Offer great customer support
  • Step 4: Build a community
  • Step 5: Collect customer success stories
  • Step 6: Track metrics that matter
  • Step 7: Invest in SEO
  • Step 8: Master Google Search Ads
  • Step 9: Spend some time (not money) on LinkedIn

Let’s dig in.

Step 1: Master product-market fit

Adriel's marketing dashboard white-labeled to sup
Adriel’s marketing data aggregator and dashboard

It’s tempting to release your product into the wild as soon as it’s ready. But take a step back and ask yourself:

  • What do your customers want?
  • What problems are they facing and where are they venting about them?
  • Does your product actually solve those problems? How?

When we built Adriel, we first made sure our product is what our target customers want. Here’s how.

1. Validate your Minimum Viable Product 

Get on as many prospecting calls/demos as possible to validate your MVP – the prototype with just enough features for early customers to use and provide feedback for future product development. 

Listen to the feedback and pain points of potential customers.

For Adriel, we went on about 10 prospecting calls before moving ahead with our MVP. This way, we were able to fine-tune the product to better meet the demands of potential users. 

2. Show your MVP

Present your MVP as much as possible before investing too much time and resources into building out your product. 

You don’t even need a fully functioning prototype — just a simulated or "fake" video would work. The video just needs to show how the product would work, focusing on the frontend user interface (UI). You can fine tune the backend technology once you’ve had some validation. 

Snapshot of Dropbox's MVP video - Adriel
Snapshot of Dropbox's MVP video

That’s exactly what we did for Adriel. We created a “dummy” video of how we want the frontend to look like, and we were able to gauge interest and gather insights from digital marketers. 

3. Study what competitors are doing…and see how you can get an edge

Scour the competition to see where you stand out. 

But don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in a crowded marketplace. Competitors are not a sign of saturation; they’re a sign of opportunity. If some competitors have been in business for years, it means there is a strong market.

A rule of thumb - don’t try to do everything – just pick one feature and provide a 10X better experience. Then, build on top of that edge.

For our marketing automation tool, we doubled down on our real-time data aggregator and our seamless and easy-to-implement dashboard because these were the factors that we could do better than anybody else. 

Our developers have been working so many years on the marketing APIs and they possess a deep understanding of marketing data, which enables us to provide easier “API connectors” that marketers can easily use to connect to their marketing channels and aggregate their data in one place – with no coding involved. 

An Adriel dashboard showing an overview of marketing KPIs including ROAS, CPA, CPC, CPM, impressions, ad spend, clicks, etc. - Adriel
How Adriel's main workspace looks like

But, it was not always where Adriel was focused on. Many companies in the AdOps space existed before 2020 when we planned to expand to the US —  AdEspresso, Smartly.io, and even Facebook itself had launched an automated ad builder. Even then, while the tools sounded superficially similar, we believed there was nothing quite like Adriel at the time. 

The multiplatform support for managing Facebook, Google and Instagram ad campaigns in one place, and its focus on the true “long tail” of advertisers was unique. 

Also, it was not yet another self-serve tool. It was AI, combined with a dedicated online marketing team that helped the users in getting their ads placed, making their campaigns more successful.

So, how you stand out from the competition will change as your industry, competitors, expertise, and customers’ expectations evolve.

Step 2: Find Your Early Adopters

Attracting early customers and keeping them happy is the foundation for sustainable growth.

Identify and target early adopters to validate your SaaS product. Use platforms like Product Hunt and Appsumo where your target audience hangs out to connect with potential users. Through these platforms, you can get in front of a significant number of users who are willing to try out your product and provide feedback.

A screenshot showing Adriel’s page on AppSumo - Adriel
Adriel’s AppSumo launch

Our Appsumo launch led to 500+ new active users and generated $20K in revenue

But be prepared for the increased customer support needed with a surge in users. Do not neglect customer support at this critical time — or it will undermine the success of your product, hinder user satisfaction, and kill momentum. This brings us to the next step. 

Step 3: Offer great customer support

Happy customers are the key to business growth and unlocking recurring revenue. They also generate word-of-mouth, the most valuable form of marketing that exists. 

Brands investing in customer experience have 60% higher profit than those that don’t. 

Unfortunately, you will NOT grow your business with a high churn rate. Invest early in customer support so you can retain as many users as possible and keep stacking ARR. 

Build these processes internally: 

  • Great QA: Maintain a robust Quality Assurance (QA) process to identify and fix bugs before customers encounter them – a.k.a. Don’t let your customers find the bugs!
  • Customer Support Software: Have reliable Customer Support Software for customers to easily find answers to their questions or communicate with the support team. 
  • Talented Customer Success Managers: Have talented Customer Success Managers (CSMs) who can effectively engage with both customers and developers.

Under the subset of customer support, it’s also important to have a killer onboarding pipeline. At Adriel, our onboarding ranges from 30-90 days depending on the number of accounts a client has and how complex the connections or data visualizations are.

This is how it can look like:

Adriel’s onboarding flow, showing plans of action per week corresponding to different customer challenges - Adriel
Adriel's onboarding pipeline

Step 4: Build a community, build a brand

Community building initiatives of HubSpot, Notion, Gong and Figma - Adriel
Community-driven brand building by popular brands

From Figma and Salesforce to HubSpot and Zapier, more than half of top SaaS companies have brand communities. And for good reason. 

According to Forbes, 66% of brand community members say they stay loyal to the brand, and a similar percentage of companies claim their community has an impact on customer retention. 

This is our formula for community building:

A mermaid diagram of how B2B companies should build communities - Adriel
How B2B companies should build communities

Here’s how we built a community around Adriel: 

  1. We did not think about profitability of the customer and technical support for initial users. We over-serviced the early adopters and they became our fans.
  2. Our brand moat is our product and people behind it–the customer success managers and dedicated developers who always want to understand the recent trends and challenges of modern marketers. This is why we often host marketing events online and offline to connect with marketers who are not currently our customers.  For instance, we recently hosted an Austin Marketing Summit and got to network with 120 marketers around the Austin, Texas area.  
  1. We use Whatsapp, Kakaotalk, Linkedin, and Blog to further engage and grow this community that we’ve built. 

Step 5: Be obsessed with collecting customer success stories

Your existing customers are your best salespeople as they can help you with referrals. 9 out of 10 people trust what a customer says about a brand — more than what the business says about itself. 

Storytelling is the bridge between you and your customers but don’t try to build that bridge yourself. Let your customers do it, and do whatever it takes to motivate them. 

Here are four types of stories that you can collect, from one of our favorite books, Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall:

  • The Value Story: to convince customers they need what you provide;
  • The Founder Story: to persuade investors and customers your organization is worth the investment;
  • The Purpose Story: to align and inspire your employees and internal customers; and
  • The Customer Story: to allow those who use your product or service to share their authentic experiences with others.

And here’s how we got customer success stories and case studies from big brands like LG and Harley Davidson —

  1. We make sure that they genuinely love our product first. Otherwise, it won’t work. 
  2. Then, we gave them a favorable price and over-service to make them happy with our offers. When customers feel it’s worth the investment, they tend to help us in return. 
  3. We also highlight the mutual benefits of co-marketing. Since the stories showcase the customer’s own achievements, explain that testimonials would not just help you, but would also help them.
Testimonial from LG on how adopting Adriel improved their marketing data analysis - Adriel
Testimonial from LG on how adopting Adriel improved their marketing data analysis - Adriel

Step 6: Track metrics that matter – say NO to vanity metrics

Being data-driven is extremely important; you can’t make good decisions otherwise. But don’t fall into the trap of vanity metrics – they will clutter your mind and make you lose focus. 

Instead, use data that matters, like:

  • Spending on each acquisition channel to evaluate their effectiveness. 
  • Number of deals and the revenue we are generating, including metrics like Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).
  • LTV/CAC ratio, which compares Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), the cost to acquire a new customer, with Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) to determine the profitability of the customer base. 

LTV/CAC is a gold standard for SaaS businesses, as it provides insights into how profitable your customer acquisition efforts are.

Step 7: Invest in SEO 

SEO (search engine optimization) and content marketing is important, but don’t break your back doing everything yourself. There are many great technical/content SEO experts out there — hire them. 

Although SEO can be expensive, the compounding results make SEO a valuable strategy to invest in. The earlier you start, the earlier you can get “free” traffic for your website. 

For Adriel, our dashboard templates and competitor comparison pages have proven to bring high-intent, high-quality traffic. 

You can also minimize the SEO investment with AI. 

A lot of the upper-funnel content that is great for brand awareness can be accelerated by AI, while your SEO content expert team can focus on the overall strategy and creating thought-leadership pieces and quality content that will influence buying decisions further down the marketing funnel. 

Step 8: Master Google Search Ads

If you are a B2B startup with limited budget, Google Search Ads is likely the most consistent source of quality traffic for your SaaS. 

The average CTR for Google Ads across all industries in 2023 is 6.3%, while the average conversion rate is 7.26%. This is significantly higher than other ad platforms out there, like Meta Ads. 

Here are 3 ways to get the most of your Google Search Ads marketing campaigns: 

  1. Use high-intent keywords: Remove the fluff and any top-of-funnel keywords. Narrow down your keyword selection to those with strong purchase intent to attract qualified leads that convert to customers.
  1. Bid on competitor keywords: Conduct competitor research and bid on competitor keywords such as "XXX alternative" or "XXX reviews”.

For Adriel, the keyword “Marketing dashboard” generated 20 Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) costing $400 per lead, while “[Competitor name] alternative” generated 80 SQLs at just $100 per lead.

Performance data of generic vs competitor bid on Adriel’s Google Search campaigns - Adriel
Performance comparison
  1. Bid aggressively on top keywords: Once you find your top keywords, don’t hesitate to bid very aggressively on CPC.

Step 9: Spend some time (not money) on LinkedIn

96% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for organic social media marketing—because it works. 

However, don’t treat LinkedIn like Facebook ads.  We’ve spent a lot on LinkedIn Ads thinking we could simply replicate our Meta ads strategy on it and get results. Conclusion: it doesn’t work.

But…we did get a huge client - Nike - through LinkedIn. (We’re still trying to figure out how. 😂)

Inbound LinkedIn message from Nike’s Brand Media Manager to Adriel CEO Sophie Soowon Eom - Adriel‍
Inbound lead from Nike on LinkedIn

LinkedIn ads require extensive segmentation, targeting, and messaging customization to be effective. It demands careful planning and execution. If you don’t have the in-house expertise though, it’s best to stay away.

Driving B2B SaaS Success

Adriel's growth has exceeded all of our expectations. To recap, here are the growth hacking strategies that contributed to our success:

✔ Mastering product-market fit

✔ Finding our early adopters and building a community

✔ Offering great customer support

✔ Collecting customer success stories

✔ Tracking metrics that matter, instead of vanity metrics

✔ Investing in SEO and mastering Google Search Ads

✔ Spending some time on LinkedIn

It's truly remarkable how far Adriel has come, and we’re so excited to stay what lies ahead.

We’re currently working on further improving our product with the help of AI so marketers can save even more time and effort.

Good luck with building out your SaaS product and we wish you all the best. Connect with us on LinkedIn

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