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Virtual Lunch: B2B2C Sales Strategy for Startup Growth

During this month’s Virtual Lunch, VAULT was joined by Matthew Knippen, Founder and CEO of Charge Running, to discuss his experience with recently transitioning Charge Running’s business model from B2C to B2B2C. Charge Running ditches the idea of boring solo runs for an app that allows you to run together with others from all over the world in real-time, just by stepping outside your front door or hopping on your gym treadmill.

See below an overview of the topics discussed and questions asked during the event. To download and listen to the entire event click here.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted Charge Running?

A: It’s changed a lot for us. We were able to hit our goal of going from 100 paid users to 1000 paid users and although this has been a terrible time for so many people around the country and world, it’s been a season of growth in the world of virtual fitness.

Our business is unique because, unlike other virtual fitness companies, the barrier of entry for Charge Running users is extremely low. You don’t have to have a specific treadmill in order to use us. If you like to run and have an outdoor space or treadmill, you can sign up and use the app for as little as $10/month.

Since COVID-19 began, our team has been working hard to tackle all the things that have happened to us both personally and in our business and one of those things is the new potential of B2B2C sales.

Q: Charge Running has traditionally been a B2C company but has recently flipped to a B2B2C strategy. How does a business sell to one to get access to the many?

A: Our plan had always been to get subscribers one by one. But we found out there is an alternate way to get a huge influx of users, that in our case, we’re getting paid to get.

There are race directors around the country whose job is to host a race in a physical location, getting as many people as possible to sign up. But when COVID-19 hit, they weren’t able to have those physical races March through November and were forced to make a decision.

Either cancel the race and refund participants or offer some type of virtual option, which traditionally relied on the honor system where participants run during their own time then record and post their stats. The second option, although better than canceling completely, removed the excitement of competing.

Charge Running is able to bring back into play the competitiveness of a live race while still remaining virtual. It wasn’t long before Matthew and his team started receiving calls from race directors across the country asking if they could host their races on Charge Running’s platform.

This created a rare negative acquisition cost for Charge Running because they were now getting paid to have new users brought to their platform. Charge gets the download for free, and now the runner is getting to experience the app and is more likely to convert to a monthly subscription after their race is over.  

Q: When was the realization made to make the switch from B2C to B2B2C?

A: In our case, it was a matter of necessity. For other startups, you’ll know when to make the shift when you’re able to start filling up any consistent basis of users. That number is a metric that has most likely been predetermined with your team.

Q: What were some challenges faced when making the switch to a B2B2C sales strategy?

A: It’s been interesting because none of our team has ever done anything B2B so we’re all starting from scratch. Right now, we’re working through how to grow this newly discovered strategy. How do we get lists of race directors? How do we market specifically to those race directors? How do we build a B2B sales team internally? How do we capitalize on this small pandemic window while we still can?

Thankfully we’ve been fortunate to have some great mentors like the VAULT team to help guide us through these questions and help us build our team quickly so we can execute.

Are you looking to make the dive into a B2B2C sales strategy or maybe you have questions to know if you’ve gotten to that point in your business? Send us a note to see if our team our experts can help you explore your potential.