Launch of a B2B product within a B2C company presents several challenges when trying to strike a balance between successfully establishing a new product and preserving your original business. No one says it’s easy, but it is is doable once you understand what it takes for a successful B2B expansion.
I’ve put together a list of six key lessons I learned during the Codecademy for Business launch that should be valuable to anyone launching a B2B offering within a B2C company.
Lesson #1: Look at the data to make sure you’re B2B viable
If you’re considering getting into the B2B space, the first thing you need to do is determine if there’s even a potential market for such an offering. How can you make an informed decision? The answer may lie in understanding how your B2C customers interact with your product or service.
For example, was a personal or business email domain submitted during sign-up? Do you notice a spike during work hours when viewing your engagement data? These are strong indicators that your product has value in the B2B space and that it may be time to develop a new solution.
One of the benefits of starting a B2B offering within a B2C company is that you are likely serving a customer that already exists within your company.
We realized that almost 19% of our users probably signed up with a business email address. In our consumer onboarding quiz, we asked if people were using the platform to help them at work, and 30% told us they did. By now, almost 50% of current account managers have previously used Codecademy as a consumer.
Lesson #2: B2B requires a completely new toolset and new employees
Consumer businesses are often led by marketing and often have the budget to spend a lot on Facebook or Google. However, it is incredibly difficult to build a B2B business using only paid marketing campaigns. Your tech stack is also going to fundamentally change.
We’ve implemented a brand new B2B-focused customer relationship management platform, Hubspot. But an even bigger change came in the shape of our people: we hired a brand new sales department.
This required that we had to integrate a completely different culture. We have learned to use sales performance investment funds (SPIF) instead of focusing on customer acquisition costs (CAC) as we had in the past. Hiring salespeople and creating compensation plans to incentivize them felt like building a whole new muscle. Fortunately, the more we exercised our sales function, the stronger it became.