How to Build and Scale a Growth Team

Last week I wrote about how Process, Team and Product are the 3 pillars of Growth and focused on designing a Growth Process that scales.

In this article I’m going to continue by looking at how to build a Growth Team and how to coordinate and scale a Growth Department.

What Role Does ‘Growth’ Play in a Company?

Before going into depth on Growth Teams and Growth Departments, it’s important to look at what sort of role Growth should play in a company.

The idea of ‘Growth’ as a data- and product-driven approach to Marketing is still new to a lot of companies. It’s not unreasonable for people to be confused about what it means to be a ‘Head of Growth’ or a ‘Growth Marketer’; after all, isn’t everyone in the company working towards Growing the business?

Being in the Growth Department doesn’t mean that you are solely in charge of scaling the business. Whether you’re in product, support, sales, operations, finance, legal or success, you are directly contributing to the company’s Growth. In other words, everyone is always contributing to Growth.

Just have a look at how the different departments at Recruitee contribute to every stage of the Customer Journey:

Everyone contributes to Growth. Growth ‘owns’ the metrics.

So if everyone is contributing to Growth, what makes the ‘Growth Department’ different from just a Marketing department? It’s all about the metrics.

With various departments contributing to the same metrics in different ways, it is important to keep an overview and view the customer journey in its entirety.

If, for example, you look at your metrics and you see that traffic and conversions are doing well, but user activation is lagging behind, you need to be able to determine why that is the case. Maybe it’s a UX or product issue, maybe the problem lies in support or maybe customer success needs to step up their game. The only way to know and to respond effectively is to have someone who owns the metrics and has an overview of everything that contributes to them. This person should ideally be the Head of the Growth Department.

This doesn’t mean that Growth decides what other departments do; Growth needs to use this overview to coordinate with other departments to effectively optimize the customer journey.

The overlap between Growth and other departments is incredibly important and it is vital for departments to coordinate on things that affect the customer journey metrics.

The overlapping areas differ from company to company, but in SaaS, you will find the overlap between Growth/Product, Growth/Sales and Growth/Success to be the most important ones.

Everyone is responsible for Growth: How departments overlapat Recruitee

What is a Growth Team?

Generally speaking…

A Growth Team is a multidisciplinary agile team of around 4–7 people who are in charge of formulating strategies, planning projects and designing experiments for Growth.

The Growth Team generally does this by following one or multiple processes, as outlined in my previous article.

At Recruitee, we differentiate between the Growth Team and the Growth Department; more specifically, the Growth Team is a part of the Department.

Why does this distinction matter? In the early days it’s just a formality, but as your company grows, it will become important to have a departmental overview. A Growth Team is usually a smaller team tasked with both strategy and execution, whereas the Growth Department is broader and encompasses all Growth and Marketing related roles, including both strategists and executors.

As your company scales, you’ll ideally have multiple Growth Teams dedicated to and specializing in different parts of the customer journey, making it important to have a Department that ties it all together.

What Skills Does my Growth Team Need?

Let me start by reiterating that every company and industry is different. There is no ‘right way’ to build a Growth Team and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to implementing Growth in a company; what works in some places, often doesn’t work in others.

In other words, how you build your Growth Team depends entirely on your product, the size of your company, the market and industry you are in, the means at your disposal and the current level and range of skills within the company.

The goal should always be to cover the bases when it comes to vital skills. This will differ depending on the type of product you have but often includes content, design, paid acquisition, social media, conversion rate optimization, UX and analytics. Most startups I’ve worked with tend to start out with ‘all rounders’ and bring in more specialized people as the company scales. This is often a good bet in volatile or fast-changing environments.

At Recruitee, we try to cover all the bases. We have our ‘Growth Team’ that covers a large range of skills and a number of ‘executors’, some of which are part of the Growth department and some from other departments that help out with growth execution.

Team and Department we are building at Recruitee

We believe that good marketing is all about creating value for both potential and existing customers. As a result, we are very inbound focused, which is reflected in our Team set up. The heavy overlap between Growth and Product is also visible here with 2–3 members of the Product Team aiding with Growth Execution. Another unique feature is that we have a sales person on our Growth Team to help bridge the gap between Growth and Sales.

As your company grows, you will be able to create a good balance between people with broader profiles and those with deeper skillsets. The ideal endgame for a large company is to have multiple Growth Teams; one dedicated to every stage of the customer journey all part of one Growth department.

Final Thoughts: Skills vs. Tools

Tool-mania is a common thing in the Growth Hacking world with surprisingly many marketers believing that tools can entirely replace the need to learn certain technical skills. If you work with a digital or technical product, chances are you‘ll agree with me when I say that this isn’t the case.

Still, it is important to recognize and embrace the advantages that new technology brings. Tools rarely replace hard skills, but they can definitely improve efficiency and versatility.

Recruitee’s Tool Stack

Just make sure you don’t waste too much time tinkering with tools just for the sake of it.

This is the second of 3 articles on the ‘3 pillars of Growth’. Check out the first article on ‘Process’ and stay tuned for the last article on ‘Product’.

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