Each spring, millions of people tune in to watch the NFL draft. Why? Because everyone knows that to be successful in any endeavor—whether it’s football or marketing—first, you need to build the right team.
Your business is growing, but you know that you can grow faster and more consistently with the right efforts and the right marketing team. But where do you start? You may already have the bones of a growth team in-house… but how do you stitch those professionals together in a way that can maximize your ROI and deliver wow-worthy results?
With over 10 years of experience driving massive results as an outsourced growth team, we know a thing or two about growth. Let’s go over our five-step plan for building a growth team that improves marketing ROI and takes your KPIs to the next level.
Benefits of Building a Growth Team
Before we get into the step-by-step process you should follow to build your growth team, let’s take a moment to establish why you’d want to build one in the first place. What benefits can building a growth team offer your business?
One main benefit is that a growth team is structured to focus on achievable goals. Note, by “achievable,” we don’t mean “small.” Achievable goals can still be incredibly ambitious, but a growth team achieves massive growth for your organization by focusing on incremental, meaningful marketing goals and continuous improvement.
Another benefit of building a growth team is the alignment this type of team offers your business. Growth teams are cross-functional, bringing together members of your sales, marketing, and product teams. If you’re sick of the miscommunications and double-work common in heavily siloed environments, a growth team might just be the medicine you’re looking for.
In short, if you want to build and keep momentum related to organizational growth, your business can benefit from building a growth team.
Lean Labs has helped dozens of organizations 10x their growth. Our goal is to jumpstart client growth, then help them outgrow us and support their efforts in-house with a growth team of their own. In short, we know how to build a killer growth team. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
The first step of building a growth team is to get your baselines. You might be tempted to skip this step and rush to the next one, but this step is vital. After all, if you don’t know your starting point, it will be challenging to measure whether or not your growth team’s efforts are successful. Additionally, some information you’ll gather at this stage will help you determine the timeline and structure for your growth team-building efforts.
First, consider your business’s stage. Are you in the start-up stage, early in the scaling process, or fairly established in your market? Your answer here will affect your overall growth goals and your hiring processes. For example, if you’re running a small operation with a limited team, you’ll need to focus on hiring generalists rather than specialists. As you scale, you can bring in more specific and targeted skillsets, but you’ll need team members capable of wearing multiple hats early on.
Next, consider this question: Are you ready to scale? We don’t mean that in a hyperbolic, wrestling-match-announcer way (are you ready to rumble?!). You need to take a sincere and objective look at your business and determine whether or not you have the processes and distribution channels you need to scale profitably and efficiently. If not, now is the time to take care of those items.
Lastly, you’ll need metrics! Take a look at every stage of the customer acquisition funnel. Establish KPIs for your growth efforts—the benchmarks against which you’ll measure your growth team’s performance—and get your current numbers on those KPIs to use as a baseline.
2. Get Aligned On Goals
Armed with your baseline data, you’re now ready to nail down your goals. What do you hope your growth team can achieve for your organization?
You’ll want to set an overall, ultimate goal. Why are you building a growth team in the first place? Do you want to increase your leads by 10? Maybe you want to quadruple the traffic to your website, or perhaps your goal is to hit an ambitious revenue target. Whatever your ultimate endgame is, take note of it at this point in the process.
Note, however, that this is not the end of the goal-setting process: It’s just the beginning.
As we discussed briefly above, one strength of growth teams is focusing on incremental goals that build toward more ambitious, overall goals. Part of your alignment is establishing your overall goals as a team. The other piece of the puzzle here is shifting your team’s mindset. If your team cannot focus on small, achievable wins earned through working in sprints, you aren’t ready to build your growth team just yet.
You’ll also want to get buy-in from all key stakeholders at this point in the process. These stakeholders may include team leadership, founders, investors, or other players. How do you know who to involve in the process at this point? A good rule of thumb is to establish who has “veto” power over the processes you’re looking to implement. Then, win those players over early and keep them informed of your growth team’s activities and successes.
3. Hire Your Team
Establishing your goals and baselines provides you with the information you need to hire a growth marketing team. Take stock of your current team members. Establish the skillsets and expertise you currently have available in-house.
Match up your existing team’s available skills with the skills needed to achieve the goals you set in step 2. What talent gaps currently exist in your team? Work to hire candidates who will be able to fill those gaps. You’ll also want to consider your business stage at this point in the process.
For example, you may want the targeted skillset of a front-end developer, but if your business is small, you’d be better served to hire a full-stack developer capable of handling projects focused on both the front- and back-end.
Some key players you’ll want to consider when figuring out how to structure your growth team include:
Growth Marketer: Growth marketers are often described as full-funnel marketers. This team member will handle creative marketing elements like copywriting and help to establish marketing strategies, campaigns, and more.
Data Analyst: Data is at the heart of any growth strategy. That means you’re going to need a numbers guy (or gal) to keep track of your progress and help you draw actionable insights from those figures.
Developer: You’ll need a full-stack developer who can move fast and think creatively. Your developer will rapidly implement experiments so your data analyst can compile the results and the rest of the team can iterate and optimize.
Designer: Your customers will need to see your brand packaged effectively for any growth to take root. Designers will steer that ship for your team.
Head of Growth: Your growth team needs a leader. Your head of growth works to make sure the team is progressing toward goals, communicating, and working together. This team member is more than just a manager: They’ll need to wade into the thick of the project when the rest of the team needs a boost.
If you don’t currently have any of these players in-house or are not ready to hire all of these roles full-time, you can also consider hiring an outsourced or hybrid growth team to fill your in-house gaps.
Working with an outsourced or hybrid growth team is like hiring a full growth marketing team part-time. You can work with the outsourced team to get a running start, then hire your own team in-house once you have a solid foundation for organizational growth.
4. Cultivate a Culture of Growth
People hate change. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but on the whole, human nature craves stability and resists change. You’ll need to actively fight against this tendency if you want to create a culture of growth in your organization.
How can you create a culture of growth? Focus on nurturing a growth mindset.
First, you’ll need to encourage creativity, innovation, and experimentation. A part of this may be offering incentives to particularly innovative or effective workers on your team, but the flip side is to make space for failure.
It’s easy to complete the same process over and over again without failing, but it’s difficult to grow that way. To achieve massive growth, you’ll need to try new things. Spoiler alert: Some of those efforts won’t pan out the way you hope. If your team is afraid to take risks and try new things, you’ll never create the culture of growth you need to succeed in the end.
Another excellent way to cultivate a culture of growth is to invest in your employees. Encourage professional development and actively seek out new hires dedicated to self-improvement. The type of worker who wants to engage in professional development opportunities is often the same type of employee who will ceaselessly seek out improvements in their processes and efforts for your business.
Lastly, remember that culture starts at the top of your company. If your leadership team is resistant to change, the rest of the team will follow suit and drag their feet.
5. Prepare To Scale
The last step of building your growth team is to brace yourself for massive success. Seriously: You need to make a game plan to scale your business and your growth team as your efforts succeed and take off.
Maintain open lines of communication with your growth team as your organization grows. This effort will ensure continued alignment and help you avoid slipping back into organizational silos.
You should also take this opportunity to determine your hiring goals. What new key players can your organization benefit from hiring as you grow? If you hired an outsourced team, now is the time to start thinking about how you’ll begin replacing that team with an in-house team for a seamless transition.
Building a Growth Team or Hiring One: What’s Better For Your Business?
Following the five steps outlined above will give you a roadmap to building a growth team ready to crush even your most ambitious growth goals! But one question still remains: Is building a team in-house the right decision for your business?
Hiring a team in-house can be a big investment upfront, both in terms of time and money. If you choose to work with an outsourced team instead, you get a full-service team part-time, saving you money on payroll in the short term. Also, you get to start out with a fully aligned team rather than starting from scratch with a brand-new team of disparate growth marketing professionals. This alignment will help your growth marketing efforts hit the ground running.
How do you know if hiring an outsourced growth team is the right play for your business? Consider a few things when deciding whether or not to hire a growth marketing agency:
How fast do you need growth? If you’re looking to 10x growth in the next 36 months, it might be time to hire an outsourced team.
What is your budget? What about your competition’s budget? If you’re getting outspent and outmanned by the competition, hiring an outsourced team can help you get back in the ring to fight another day.
Do your current marketing goals match your current marketing efforts and spend? If you have champagne goals on a beer can marketing budget, it might be time to switch up your approach.
Lean Labs has helped deserving brands achieve more than 100 million in revenue growth. Check out our Growth Marketing Strategy Kit today to learn how we do it!
Mallory is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.