To people outside the digital world, the term “hack” implies either a security breach or sleight of hand. However, those immersed in social media, sales, and marketing recognize that growth hacking is a powerful modality that combines a nimble mindset and rapid-fire experimentation methods aimed at revealing the most expedient, cost-effective ways to grow your business.   

By Jenna Dobkin

Based on the collective wisdom of four social sales luminaries, as well as my personal experience growing the Nimble brand, I believe the most pivotal growth hack is the ability to cultivate meaningful relationships at scale. Striving to be an influential thought leader with the best interest of others in mind is a surefire way to become a more nimble salesperson and close more deals, faster.   

Here are four tried and true growth hacks to grow your business today:

Build Your Personal Brand  

“Add value in excess of what you’re asking for in return,” advises Koka Sexton, Senior Manager of Content at Slack. “The best way to do so is to educate and inform people on best practices and solve bigger problems.”                      –

Koka believes that in order to fill the pipeline, customer-facing sales and marketers must first create a personal brand in the context of your brand promise to drive results. In the process of teaching someone to fish, they will also learn that you sell fishing poles.

Building your perceived value and amplifying your voice by inspiring and educating others on what you’re passionate about is the simplest way to do this. Schedule relevant, compelling content using a social media tool like Hootsuite to spur thoughtful conversations, and engage the people who engage you. As a next step, use a sales intelligence tool like DiscoverOrg, InsideView, or Nimble to figure out who among the respondents are people you want to build win-win relationships with.

Engage in Twitter Prospecting

CPP Digital co-founder and CMO Travis Wright knows the value of mining social media to find prospective buyers to grow your business. A great way to find these opportunities is by following relevant hashtags to see who is posting about topics that pertain to your business or industry. There are many different tools to help identify engagement opportunities within the ever-changing social media landscape.

“One of my favorite tools out there is content analytics platform BuzzSumo,” he said.  “You can get a lot of great data from the tool, including who shares certain articles. I take a look at those sharers and sort them by who is most relevant.”

Travis then creates custom lists of the sharers that he uncovers through BuzzSumo in his Twitter, whom he eventually serves relevant ads to as a means to generate leads. He also uploads those same lists into Nimble in order to discover social business insights about his potential leads such as company background, areas of influence, and contact information.

Using enriched data to qualify leads, Travis focuses on building relationships with his most promising contacts. He effectively turns a cold call into a warm handshake.

Build Authentic Relationships with A-List Prospects, at Scale

Prioritizing contacts and having incremental conversations while maintaining a natural cadence with prospects is Shane Gibson’s go-to growth hack.

“…Most salespeople are indiscriminate in their follow-up.” The keynote sales speaker, author, and sales trainer prioritizes follow-ups and ensures he follows-through with critical clients by categorizing people into three buckets: contacts who make up 80% of his business (“A’s”), beneficial contacts who are great to call on but not as revenue-driving as his top tier (“B’s”), and prospects who can be followed up with at the next networking convention (“C’s”).

Shane schedules reminders to send consistent outreach to his “A’s” once every three weeks. He’ll share an interesting article, invite them to a webinar, or even send a lead their way. By scheduling tasks weeks and months ahead of time, this strategy draws its strength from building relationships incrementally and increases conversions.

Connect Meaningfully to Create Value

Service is the new sales, according to People First Productivity Solutions President Deb Calvert. “You can’t help but be successful if you create more value for buyers by achieving mutually beneficial, measurable goals.” She contends that your prospective clients want sellers to be leaders; if you exhibit the behaviors of a leader with authority over your areas of expertise, buyers are more liable to book more meetings to further their relationship with you, enabling you to close more deals. A personal CRM enables you to not only maintain your relationships, but also to conduct targeted outreach to key people within your industry who can benefit from your areas of expertise.

Some would argue that growth hacks are only effective when few people know about them, and that they lose power once they’re adopted by the mainstream. I would argue that while technologies and specific social media networks continue to evolve at a dizzying pace, the fundamental focus on humanity, authenticity, and relationships are here for the long haul.

Jenna Dobkin is an experienced influencer marketing professional with a passion for helping businesses acquire customers, build brands and enhance community relationships, both online and in the real world. Hallmarks of her work include conscientious relationship building; strategic content marketing; and the delivery of multi-platform social media and public relations campaigns from inception through execution.

Currently, she heads up influencer marketing and guerilla PR for Nimble, the simple social CRM for Office 365 and G Suite. Jenna is also a nerd. She graduated top of her class from the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the early nineties.

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