Launching a B2B product within a B2C company presents distinct challenges as you attempt to strike a balance between successfully establishing a new product and maintaining your original business. No one claims it’s easy, but it is doable once you understand what’s necessary for a successful B2B expansion.
I’ve put together a list of six important lessons I learned while launching Codecademy for Business, which should be valuable to anyone launching a B2B offering within a B2C company.
Lesson #1: To ensure you have B2B viability, look at the data
As you’re considering foraying into the B2B space, first 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 are engaging with your product or service.
For example, was a personal or business email domain submitted during sign-up? When reviewing your engagement data, do you notice a spike during work hours? These are strong indicators your product has value in the B2B space, and it might be time to develop a new solution.
One of the advantages of starting a B2B offering within a B2C company is that you’re likely serving a customer that already exists within your firm.
We realized that nearly 19% of our user base was likely signing up using a work 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 were. Meanwhile, nearly 50% of current account managers previously used Codecademy as a consumer.
Lesson #2: B2B requires a completely new tool set and new hires
Consumer companies are often led by marketing, and they often have the budget to spend a lot on Facebook or Google. However, it’s incredibly hard to build a B2B company with just paid marketing campaigns. Your tech stack is also going to fundamentally change.
We implemented an entirely new B2B-focused customer relationship management platform, Hubspot. But an even bigger change came in the form of our people: We hired an entirely new division of salespeople.
This required us to integrate an entirely different culture. We learned to leverage 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 an entirely new muscle. Fortunately, the more we exercised our sales function, the stronger it got.