A company's most valuable asset is its community. Whether it's a community of clients, partners, employees.....
Companies (and especially startups) should learn how to gather, animate and engage a community over time. And this, from the beginning of their Go-To-Market strategy. Indeed, creating a digital community before launching a product or service on a market is a wise move. The community is also an excellent lever for the growth and development of marketing strategies. The opportunities are multiple, and many startups can affirm it. The proof in this article 👇
The business community, to get your Go to Market ready
Before getting to the heart of the matter, a reminder is in order. A community is a group of individuals gathered around common characteristics. Within this group, members share common values, interests or goals.
In business, and more specifically in the B2B ecosystem, the forms of communities vary. There are communities of customers, employees, suppliers, partners, prospects, investors, shareholders, etc.
And the common thread in all of these communities is that the earlier the community strategy is defined, the greater the benefits are. That's why at MeltingSpot we recommend that all early-stage companies adopt a Community-Centric approach from the beginning of their business. The ideal would be to develop a Community-Led Growth strategy (so that the company's growth is guided by the community) and a Community-Based Marketing strategy (to include the community in the definition of marketing actions).
In France, this community approach has already helped many startups in accelerating their growth and development. Some have chosen to rely on their community to prepare their Go-To-Market, even before launching a product or service. Other startups launched their community later, but quickly understood the power of an engaged community.
Ready to discover these startups that have made community their priority?
3 inspiring Startups and their Community-centric Strategy
Spendesk, Lemlist and Agicap are three startups that are leaders in their market. But behind their success is not only an extraordinary product or service: there is also a relevant community strategy, based on Community-Led Growth and Community-Based Marketing.
CFO Connect: the independent community built by Spendesk
CFO Connect is a financial decision-makers community, created by the company Spendesk (enterprise expense management platform). The objective of this community is to bring together professionals who face common issues and wish to network.
Today, the CFO Connect community gathers 6,500 B2B professionals in 5 cities. In ten years of existence, the community has organized more than 80 events to support its members. In addition to meetups, members meet mainly on a Slack group to share resources.
Behind the success of CFO Connect, there is a relevant community strategy, deployed by Spendesk. The company has chosen to develop a community independently of the company. CFO Connect has its own brand identity. During an interview with Komuno, Faustine Rohr Lacoste (Head of Community) stated that this strategic choice met several objectives:
✅ Facilitate recruitment to the community: having a different and unique identity reduces barriers to entry for members.
✅ Free up speech: the community's story is written from a blank page. Spendesk's editorial constraints do not interfere!
✅ Create a social link, beyond business: the contents within the community bring a specific added value, which facilitates exchanges and accelerates trust. The company is keen to rehumanize the link with its community.
Here is a quick video clip of Luc Hancock (from Spendesk, CFO Connect) and Andrew Claremont (from Glide) sharing their expertise on the importance of maintaining relationships while scaling your community.
If you missed the live session, no worries! The replay of Andrew Claremont and Luc Hancock's discussion is now available on The Community Lab.
The results obtained with such a strategy quickly convinced Spendesk to continue its momentum. CFO Connect has helped the company in its Community-Led Growth strategy, with growth largely supported by the power of this community.
In fact, retention is reported to be 18% higher for customers who are members of the community. Spendesk customers who are members of CFO Connect also make 3 times more payments by card. In addition, deals are signed 33% faster through the community, compared to other lead sources. Not to mention the value of those signed deals is 35% higher through this channel!
The community helps the company achieve all of its goals, at all levels. An inspiring example of Community-Led Growth!
Lemlist Family, the community of committed Lemlist users
For its part, SaaS startup Lemlist (which specializes in email personalization) developed the Lemlist Family community in 2018. Today, Lemlist Family consists of more than 18,000 members on Facebook. Not only users and customers of the solution but also prospects in the midst of reflection can join this free community.
To reach nearly 20,000 people in just 3 years, the company has deployed an exemplary community strategy. The startup's keys to success are:
✅ Mutual support at the heart of the community: the strength of the Lemlist Family community is this notion of mutual support and sharing. As its name suggests, this group is a true "family", supporting each other on various topics. By bringing together former customers, new users and interested prospects, the support is twice as powerful!
✅ High value-added content: before creating Lemlist Family, Guillaume Moubeche (CEO of Lemlist) tested other channels and formats, to bring value to users. He quickly realized the limits of tools such as FAQs, which are not sufficient to answer all questions in a dynamic way. The Facebook group was therefore the ideal format for non-stop interaction. In it, the team can publish tips, videos... And above all let users create value themselves.
✅ Engaged members who become allies: beyond peer-to-peer support, the engagement of community members goes much further. On the SaaS Connection podcast, Guillaume Moubèche says: some community members become ambassadors, or even "product researchers." They don't hesitate to make relevant recommendations to make the startup's product evolve, by doing a thorough market watch and by giving precise feedback to the team! Perfect for improving the Community-Led Growth strategy over time.
Cash is King, Agicap's self-help community powered by the health crisis
Agicap is a Lyon-based startup that develops cash flow software... But not only that. Since the health crisis, the company has also launched the B2B community "Cash is King", bringing together more than 1000 SME managers.
At the beginning of the first lockdown, Agicap was faced with a problem that many other companies experienced: how to maintain a lasting link with the entire ecosystem (customers, prospects, etc.), despite the distance imposed?
Before this period of confinement, the startup had never organized webinars or virtual events. The crisis was the opportunity to test this format... Which quickly became a success. From its first webinar on "how to manage your cash flow in times of crisis", more than 800 people registered. At the end of the virtual event, the questions continued to pour in. So, in order to continue the exchanges over time, Cash is King was created.
This community gathers more than 1000 members with profiles of SME managers, on the Slack platform. It is a true brand in its own right, where freedom reigns. And sometime after its creation, here are the learnings from this community strategy:
✅ The event is a powerful lever to create and animate a community: the webinar was the starting point for the creation of Cash is King. But since this webinar and the growth of this community, the community is now the starting point for new impactful events. Community-Led Growth and events are two strategies that feed each other, to animate and engage in the long term.
✅ Multilateral communication is the key: the promise of Cash is King is to offer a benevolent space to exchange freely. All members can speak up, offer relevant content, help each other on different issues... Members make the community live, thanks to their involvement.
✅ Community-Led Growth is a virtuous circle: Sébastien Beyet (CEO of Agicap) confided to Air Party's podcast the will "to move forward with people, and to feed off the community's inputs". This strategy allows the company to work on its products, develop its products, spark new ideas... While keeping a logic of co-construction.
Ready to launch your community for a successful Go-To-Market?
Today it's essential to stay away from the "product first" dynamic. Even before launching a product or a service, companies (and more specifically startups) have every interest in building communities.
A "Community Centric" approach brings out plenty of new opportunities: the community guides growth, enriches marketing or product actions, and facilitates the implementation of relevant events... So, why wait to gather, animate and engage members with high-added value?
To build up your own community, don't hesitate to test our MeltingSpot platform.