“It took me a little while to come around to the concept of community because, as a growth marketer, you directly correlate every action to a revenue number. At the end of the day, that’s your North Star metric.”
Andrew Miller, VP of Marketing at Orbit, candidly confesses his initial skepticism about community building. As a growth marketer, he was accustomed to measuring every action against revenue generation, viewing revenue as the ultimate metric. However, his perspective shifted as he discovered the immense potential of community-driven growth.
Community has taken on new significance in today’s digital landscape, where media platforms and social networks dominate online interactions.
As a result, B2B marketers recognize the importance of building customer relationships.
Community-building is emerging as a powerful strategy for fostering these relationships, as it goes beyond mere transactions and creates a sense of belonging, trust, and loyalty.
By cultivating a community around their products or services, B2B marketers can tap into the power of authentic connections, elevating customer experiences and driving sustainable growth.
In the B2B space, trust is paramount. Establishing trust with customers is crucial for winning their business, securing long-term partnerships, and gaining their loyalty.
Building a community around your B2B brand creates opportunities to engage with customers on a deeper level, providing value beyond sales pitches.
Through community interactions, brands showcase their expertise, provide valuable insights, and foster a supportive environment where customers feel heard and understood. This strengthens relationships and enhances the brand’s reputation and products, leading to increased trust and customer loyalty.
The challenge for B2B marketers is demonstrating the value of their community-building efforts. And that, says Andrew, is where Orbit comes in.
“Mission Control for Community”
Orbit is a community growth platform designed to work as an analytics layer for core community platforms like Discord, Slack, or Discourse. Orbit aims to create a reliable data source around community interactions—to be the “single source of truth” for community metrics across platforms.
Beyond reporting metrics, Orbit empowers marketers to take strategic actions such as sending personalized invitations, organizing events, or engaging with community members directly. It simplifies community management by providing actionable insights and enabling targeted activities based on data analysis.
Orbit functions as mission control for communities, Andrew says. Integrating data from various platforms, including Twitter, Discord, Slack, and Facebook groups, gives B2B marketers a single place to manage various connections and interactions.
“It’s a community growth platform,” Andrew says. “We’re that layer that goes on top of it. So it’s the growth platform because you can take all these metrics and all the data about your community, and then you can layer on actions or activities on there.”
By consolidating this data, Orbit enables marketers to analyze what Andrew calls “digital body language.” In other words, the tool helps community managers and marketers monitor interactions and comprehensively understand community engagement.
“You can kind of follow from a marketing standpoint, you know, that digital body language,” Andrew says. “You can see what they’re doing and how they’re interacting on all these different platforms and centralize it inside one platform.”
Notably, Orbit integrates with tools like HubSpot and Salesforce, offering marketers richer data insights and enabling enhanced lead scoring, making it easy to identify the source of deals from community engagement.
The Metrics of Community
Andrew and the team at Orbit are also working to create language around community-building that helps B2B marketers talk about what they’re doing to build community and attach those efforts to metrics and indicators.
That’s why the company developed the Orbit Model. This model delves into the principles of community growth and its application across different functional areas within an organization. By establishing clear metrics and KPIs tied to sales, success, marketing, and hiring, Orbit empowers businesses to measure the impact of community across diverse departments.
“We think of community as basically a forcing function impacting all the different aspects of an organization,” Andrew says. “We actually break down different metrics and ways that you can link that back to community. So, for example, sales can look at something like community-qualified growth. There are things like deals closed from community.”
Community metrics are often absent in traditional community platforms. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be tracking those numbers.
Andrew emphasizes the importance of metrics, noting that KPIs are essential for businesses to align their community efforts with tangible outcomes.
Orbit’s analytics capabilities enable community managers and marketers to track and measure the impact of community interactions on areas such as marketing, sales, and customer success.
For instance, community-qualified leads become a valuable metric, offering insights into users who engage within the community and exhibit potential interest in product upgrades or conversions.
The “Go-to-Community” Model
Andrew emphasizes the distinction between a go-to-market strategy and a go-to-community strategy.
“Separating that community or the ‘go-to-community’ strategy versus go-to-marketing strategy is also important. Having that separation—it’s really important,” he says.
While marketing strategies primarily focus on immediate conversions and sales, community strategies have a more nuanced, long-term approach.
Andrew cautions against treating community events or meetups solely as revenue-generating opportunities. Instead, community building requires fostering relationships, trust, and engagement over time.
By recognizing these differences, businesses can create effective strategies aligning with community-building goals while ensuring that marketing efforts are separated appropriately.
Get more of Andrew’s insights in this episode of Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today.
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