Need More Leads? Get the Blueprint

Need More Leads? Get the Blueprint

Case Studies

Explore our past work and see how we help accelerate long-term, sustainable growth.
Read Case Studies »


Don't take our word for it, see what our clients have to say about their experiences working with Digitopia.
Read Testimonials »

HubSpot Diamond Partner Banner


I have worked with Frank and the Digitopia team for many years and have seen firsthand the great work they do for their clients.

Dan Tyre, Director at HubSpot

Events & Workshops

Need More Leads? Get the Blueprint

The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #38

What is the Difference between RevOps and Growth Hacking

Listen to the episode


About the podcast

The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.

Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.

The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.

Episode transcription


Joseph Freeman: [00:00:00]
When you talk about volume, when you talk about e-commerce and that's really all a B2C play to me, I feel like RevOps is the B2B play, even though RevOps can be applied to B2C very easily. I don't think growth hacking can be applied to B2B very easily. 

Your listening to The Digital Utopia Podcast, a resource dedicated to helping B2B leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace. 

Frank Cowell: [00:00:27]
Hey gang. Welcome to The Digital Utopia Podcast, episode 38. I'm your host Frank Cowell. I'm joined by my cohost Joseph Freeman. Let's jump into the big question of the hour, which is... "What is the difference between RevOps and growth hacking?"

Yes, growth hacking. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:00:47] 
Yeah. This is actually a question we've gotten a couple or few times at this point. You know, in different, different speaking scenarios and from different, actually different roles at, at companies. So this is a question I think a lot of people are asking right now. 

Frank Cowell: [00:01:00] 
Yeah. So if you look at where, like the growth hacker crowd comes from, it comes from, you know, funnel, marketers, digital funnel marketers who have something to sell that's transactional typically, and those transactions can happen fairly quick. And so what growth hacking is, is when you look at that entire funnel and you really break it down to the major milestones in that funnel, and then all the inflection points it's in rapid succession in quickly making adjustments to those inflection points.

Seeing what the results are and, you know, same day sometimes like hours later, you make another adjustment. And so it's a, it's a hyper obsession with making adjustments to all of those inflection points to ultimately create more output on the other. And this, it does require that there's volume in this flow, to see those  changes, you know, the effects of your changes.

So that's kind of where that growth hacking mentality, like phrase and. Approach came from, it's just hyper-focused for rapid adjustment to all the inflection points in your funnel. And again, this was really done with a crowd that had something transactional to sell, from an e-commerce standpoint.

And so this actually sounds very similar to what we've talked about in previous episodes that, you know, what is the role of the RevOps champion, and it's almost the exact same thing. The difference being is that. In a, let's say in a B2B business, for example, you don't necessarily have that same flow from someone visiting and just learning about your brand to transaction and becoming a client, like in an e-commerce example, whether you're selling something physical or something informational, you could probably see that entire flow happen in an hour, two hours a day.

Like you could see that happen very quickly. So in B2B scenarios or in many business scenarios, You know, you might have like a 30, 60, 90, a year-long process in that journey. So you won't necessarily see the same effects with more of the more volume of have, of course the quicker you'll see effects. You just have more to play with but generally speaking, it's the same kind of mentality. And so we talked about this on last episode that, you know, my fear was, I don't want us as people in the RevOps community start getting fancy and think it's a bunch of other stuff. It really is about the optimization of all of your gaps and opportunities in your macro funnel.

Again, very, very similar to what growth hackers are doing from, you know, an e-com standpoint. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:03:37] 
Yeah. Similar, but certainly not as fast. 

Frank Cowell: [00:03:40] 
I mean, nowhere near as fast. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:03:42] 
When you talk about volume, when you talk about e-commerce ink, that's really all a B2C play to me. I feel like RevOps is the B2B play, even though RevOps can be applied to B2C very easily.

I don't think growth hacking can be applied to B2B very easily. 

Frank Cowell: [00:03:57] 
It just depends on the product and the flow. You know, let's say for example, here's where I'm going to contradict you. Okay. Let's say we have a software that when you install it, it will tell you something about your finance reporting that you're not getting now.

And all you have to do is buy it, click and it connects to your existing software package. Done. That purchase decision could be made the same day that you learn of the offering. And so in that scenario, I think, and that's a B2B offering there. So in that scenario, I think you absolutely can take a growth hacking approach.

Again, to me, it's no different than what you're doing in RevOps. You're looking at the macro funnel. You're looking at the major milestones and what are the inflection points under each of those milestones? The major difference with growth hacking is that you're doing it in rapid succession. You're doing it quickly.

 Again, sometimes what like these growth hackers will do is they'll make multiple changes per day because they have the flow. So I would say it's not exclusive to B to C The can have B2B again, if your business model is this high volume flow coming through. But if you're a, a business where you know, all you need to land is 10 or 20 clients per month.

And, you know, that's what hits your revenue goals. You probably don't have enough follow from like a growth hacking mindset to be able to meet making money well changes. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:05:21] 
No, actually I agree with you. I do agree. And I think when we talk about B2B, maybe we could break it up into two different categories or maybe three.

In B2B, you're either selling products to other businesses or you're selling services to other businesses or a mix of both. Right. But where I think growth hacking really can shine is with products because with products, one, you can move them faster.  In most cases. Two, I think in this day and age, most people's association with products is through the lens.

And this is now B2C through the lens of like an Amazon experience. And there's an expectation that okay, if I buy this product and I actually don't like it, I'm going to package it up and return it. No, by the way, it doesn't cost me anything because I can drop it off at Kohls. Right. So a very B2C example there, but even in the B2B side where you are buying software, that's like a SAS product.

Like what you just used as an example. That often comes with a 30-day free trial, or that often comes with a, you know, month-to-month commitment only. So there's not this big hurdle to get over in terms of a guarantee. 

Frank Cowell: [00:06:23] 
I would say the biggest difference for me that would make a B2B product more applicable to this like hyper testing, rapid testing would be if the product is transactional or part of a solution sell. 

So for example, let's say we had B2B products and what we sold were let's say their VoIP phone accessories, right? You could probably growth hack that approach, like you're making multiple changes per day. You're driving volume.

You're seeing results quickly.  That's not a solution sell, whereas, you know, if you recall, we dealt with a company a number of years ago where they were a machine to machine product company. So they were selling products. Today, they call them machine to machine IOT. So they were an IOT products company, but no one would ever go on their website and just buy, you know, 152 of these components that go inside.

It was always part of a solution sell. They needed to talk to a data engineer or excuse me, an engineer to figure out like, okay, if I get this component, And here's what I'm connecting it to. What are the specs on that? And can you, can you guarantee like this is going to inter operate? So that's a solution sell in my opinion.

So the solution sell that's a slower process. And once you get like sales involved that like growth hacking rapid thing as like. You're not going to be making those the same volume of changes, but the sentiment you're still going to do the same thing. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:07:46] 
Okay. So we've talked about the differences between growth hacking and RevOps and really when it comes down to it, it feels to me like it's almost just semantics.

It really is it just determines, like, do you have the flow to be able to make rapid changes very quick, rapid changes and see the results. If you do like. You're just like doing RevOps faster, you can call it growth hacking. So that's kind of what we talked about. You know, last week I did an AMA with a partner organization and this question came up and really, you know, my, my response was like, Hey, they're, they're kind of, if sentimentally, they're the same thing.

You're you're you attempt to do the exact same thing. You're attempting to. Optimize the output of a given system and all growth hacking does is, you know, it's typically aligned with, again, this volume where you can do it rapidly. Yeah. 

So now let's talk about what is similar about them. I mean, they kind of both set out to accomplish the same thing.

Frank Cowell: [00:08:44] 
Yeah. My favorite is one of the philosophies that we've talked many times about, which is top-down optimization, which means we always start at the end and we work backwards. The reason I call it top down is because I take an Ascension path view in my buyer's journeys that I help clients with instead of a downward funnel view, I look at an Ascension ladder.

So to me, the top is where you're creating fans. So very similarly in growth hacking, you're going to start at the end and say, okay, How many of these customers are taking our upsell. How many of these customers are repeat buying? Right? Like they've already purchased, like, are they purchasing again? Are they taking the upsell?

And so you would start at the end and you would optimize that first because you could get more revenue out of this system with the same amount of input. And as we've talked about before, input is always most expensive. That's the thing to like, spin it up zero to one, get the traffic there. That's most expensive.

So if you start at the end and say, you know, we're going to improve the upsell take rate by 10%, you haven't spent any more money other than your time to analyze and optimize this and you're getting more revenue out. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:09:55] 
Well, what I love about top-down too, is that it actually relies on an existing relationship.

And so you have the most intimate data possible available to you. It's not, You know, it's not looking at anonymous website, traffic data, which is valuable in its own way. But at the end of the day, all you know is whether or not they visited the site and whether or not they visited a couple of times and how long they stayed on the page.

That's good information, but you can't actually get in and understand any of the psychology behind why they made the decisions or didn't make the decisions. When you have the relationship, you can tap into that. You can literally ask them and you can. Put together new programs, new services, new sales pitches for them and see how they react to them and actually ask them why they didn't make the decision.

And I think that's just a, that's something people aren't tapping into top-down that could be so valuable for so many companies. 

Frank Cowell: [00:10:45] 
No, as companies, just as human beings, we're just addicted to the new, and that's a huge problem in business because it, and to your point, Joe. When we do top down and we talk to our existing clients and we get really intimate and we, we really try to understand what they're feeling and what they're saying behind what they're saying, what that ends up doing is it helps us create better products and offerings and improves it.

Because if you can actually increase the upsell rate, if you can actually increase the repeat buyer rate, if you can actually increase the retention rate. That means that's happening because the product is delivering value as expected. But so many times companies have a product value problem and they're not addressing it.

They'd rather go like focus on new leads, new opportunities, new sales, it's like a drug. And so if companies were to obsess about the product value and aim to be world-class, best-in-class, first in class of there, then the top down. KPIs that we're looking at will naturally increase. And that's what I love about top-down is it forces you, you to obsess about the value of your product?

Joseph Freeman: [00:11:57] 
I love that. Okay. So growth hacking, maybe there's a little bit of a difference growth hacking. I don't know if it can focus as much on the top down. Maybe it can, but it seems like growth hacking because of it's iterative process that happens very quickly. It may be actually more suited for. That, entry-level or the, you know, a lot of people call it top of the funnel.

Frank Cowell: [00:12:17] 
Well, you know, I think you can, you know, if you're, if you're measuring upsell take rates, like that's a big thing with the growth hackers. If they're selling like an info based product, you know, you'll make a sale on what you're pitching and then immediately on the confirmation page or right before you click yes.

Confirm my purchase, you're presented with an upsell opportunity. So that would be a point at which a growth hacker would be doing top down. Like how do I improve The. The upsell take rate now that actually, you know, that you can make some immediate tests and some assumptions, and you could just like rapidly iterate through that.

I don't think a growth hacker would then say they don't pause and take time to actually do customer interviews and find out what people want. I'm sure that's in the growth hacker mentality, but the emphasis is on rapid iteration, whereas maybe in a more solution-based selling situation. You're you can't do that.

You can't just make assumptions and see what sticks. You have to go talk to people. You have to really listen. You have to get in their environment shoes, see what they're dealing with. 

Joseph Freeman: [00:13:25] 
Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. So again, I keep coming back to this word, semantics. I mean, at the end of the day, it's kind of the same thing.

I think it just depends on your volume. It just depends on what you're selling, whether that is a solution or whether that is a product, but at the end of the day, it's all the same. It's like the same attempt you're trying to make with just a little bit of a different lens. 

Frank Cowell: [00:13:47] 
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So, Joe, I think you're right.

We're what you said is the difference here really is just the semantics and you know, the growth hacking. You have this speed, you have the volume, so that way you can make the changes and see results quickly and keep making those changes and iterate fast. And in RevOps, it's typically associated with companies that have a solution cell or a longer sales cycle, but I know there are some e-com companies that, you know, employee RevOps, they're just basically employing the grownup version of growth hacking either way let's not get confused and worry about that differences. The sentiment is still the same. You're trying to optimize the revenue potential of your system.

So no matter what you call it, don't get caught up in that again, maximize the revenue potential of your system, and then you can call whoever you want.

 So thanks for joining us. It was fun talking about the difference between these two things. Join us for episode 39, next time.


Subscribe to Updates